Text of a video interview for Chechen Television. The material was prepared by the Department of Information and Analysis under President of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria
Question: Aslan, with the beginning of summer, our fighters have intensified their activities against the invaders' troops. Does it have anything to do with your most recent order?
President Maskhadov: In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate!
Praise be upon God, the Lord of the worlds, may peace and mercy of God be upon His Messenger, and then - may peace and mercy of God be upon you, the fighting Mujahideen and my people! We will tell you about the current situation, about the preparations for tomorrow and about the ways of pushing the enemies out of the country and of defeating them.
Yes, it was my order. And the reason why I issued this order is that the war has been continuing for five years. Peaceful civilians are tired of this war. And we decided to push the enemies out by attacking them, and if they do not intend to leave, we are planning to transfer the war onto their territories.
Second, our strikes should make their officers and their rulers understand that their dreams will not come to be. God gives the victory to the believers. The infidels will be crushed. The enemy has nothing to confront us with, -- military-wise. In a similar situation during the previous war, General Lebed admitted: «To continue the war in this way is a disgrace to Russia».
By our offensive we are showing them that they have no army and that every day of the war is a disgrace to them.
Today Putin admits it too. He was the one who said that he did not know what the actual situation in Ichkeria and Ingushetia was, which means that the secret services and national traitors are lying to their bosses.
I issued this order to show to the pro-Russian Chechen formations of collaborators that their threats, their raids and their atrocities against the families of the Mujahideen [Fighters] can never make us think that they were a force to be reckoned with. The other reason was to show the Russian invaders that those hypocrites would never help them, just as they never helped us.
According to this order, the decision was made to change the tactics, which for three years have mainly consisted of guerrilla warfare and sabotage operations. The Mujahideen excelled in this and have inflicted huge damages on the enemy.
Remember how [Russian general] Troshev got offended when he was dismissed and said that more than 50,000 soldiers had been killed in Chechnya. Actually, even more were killed.
Now our tactics is changing: raids will increase, the makeup of groups will change and the targets of raids will change. For a guerrilla war you do not need strength, 2,500-3,000 fighters is enough. Now there is no need to build up our forces, we have reserves.
The commanders were given the appropriate instructions. And we can see the results, as well as how the orders are carried out: over the past 1.5 to 2 months three big convoys of the enemy were attacked in Itum-Kala in April; and battles never ceased for a single day in Vedeno, Tovzeni and Dargo. These are permanent centers of Resistance. Two or three major attacks on the Russian invaders and their Chechen henchmen were carried out in Avtury, and they suffered serious casualties. The invaders suffered similar casualties in Shali and Serzhen-Yurt as well. Major combat clashes took place in the areas that are normally quiet. Major battles took place in Urus-Martan, Alkhan-Yurt, and Ishkhoi-Yurt. Our fighters have also carried out a major operation in Alleroi.
Ingushetia is a separate subject of discussion: until now, there were only diversionary attacks, but now there will be massive operations. With God's help and as a result of our attacks and the expansion of the theater of operations, we are sure of a quick victory.
Commander (Amir) Abdul Halim, Chairman of the Shariah Council of State Defense Committee - Majlis al-Shura of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria:
Abdul Halim: In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate! Praise be upon God, the Lord of the worlds, may peace and mercy of God be upon His Messenger. And then - when the Holy War broke out in our country and we decided to wage a Jihad, our leader was Aslan Maskhadov - even before the war. So there is nothing unusual about the fact that his orders are being carried out.
Military operations have become more intense, and we can see their results. As God said in the Koran, «They who fear God, these are the achievers». [The Light, Verse 52].
We are Muslims, by grace of God. God said about the Muslims: «Do you think that you will enter Paradise while Allah has not yet known those who strive hard from among you, and (He hath not) known the patient?» [The Family of Imran, Verse 142]
Question: Back to the operation in Ingushetia, Aslan, why was the operation carried out in Ingushetia and not, say, in Ossetia or Dagestan?
President Maskhadov: Russians say that this is where a war has broken out now. This is wrong. The same Russian mass media admitted long ago that the same crimes were perpetrated in Ingushetia as in Ichkeria: the same 'cleansings', raids, and abductions. The war in Ingushetia started when [former Ingushetian President] Ruslan Aushev, who was elected and recognized by the people, was removed from his post and replaced with FSB [Russian Federal Security Service/KGB] agent Zyazikov. It was through the efforts of Russian secret services that the war was unleashed both against the Chechen refugees and against people of Ingushetia. Bulldozers were sent to sweep off the refugee camps. The electricity and natural gas supplies were cut off. People were being killed.
While accusing many locals of abetting the Mujahideen, they would send troops and armored personnel carriers to their homes, burn houses, kill and torture the owners who rented out their houses. When the people saw this, the numbers of those who wanted to fight on our side had increased, including among brotherly Ingushetian people.
On my consent, the Military Council has set up the Ingushetian Sector. The foremost reason for this operation was the presence of military units of the enemy on the Ingushetian soil. The main objective was to destroy the military units and seize military depots where the weapons and ammunition were being stored. Our other objective was to target their power-wielding structures, the FSB, and to liberate our Mujahideen and innocent people from prisons.
Third, we wanted to take revenge for their atrocities against the Chechens and Ingushetians. I approved that operation. It was prepared and planned by the Military Council. Some 950-1,000 Fighters from the Ingushetian, Sunzha and Achkhoi-Martan Sectors, headed by Commander of Western Front Dokka Umarov, took part in the operation, although the Russian media have been claiming that only 150-200 Mujahideen were involved.
Russian mass media did quote the numbers of their killed and wounded, but they only disclose the numbers of the killed and wounded personnel of the Ingushetian [pro-Moscow] power structures. They are quiet about hundreds of dead bodies that were sent home secretly from the Russian military bases.
The fact that 1,000 Mujahideen entered three towns and withdrew from there virtually with no casualties incurred, within the timeframes that were planned, once they accomplished their missions (carrying only a few wounded with them), also shows that the operation was successful. We are capable of carrying out such operations in Ichkeria, Ingushetia and Russia, and we will prove it.
Question: Abdul Halim, some people say that the Chechens allegedly attacked Ingushetia and that this attack is comparable to the  attack on Dagestan. What is your opinion in this regard?
Abdul Halim: Aslan supplied a thorough answer to that. I will answer the second part of your question. God says that all believers are brothers.
There are no separate Dagestani people. There are individual Muslim nations in that part of the Caucasus. The nations of the North Caucasus were united until Russia separated us. As far as the Ingushetians go, we call them and ourselves 'the Vainakhs' (our people) because we are one nation.
God says that if your brothers ask for your help, you are obligated to provide help. The Ingushetians had President Aushev until another president was appointed by the FSB [Murad Zyazikov]. Even an infidel (unbeliever) does not go against his fellow people unless his connection with his people has been completely severed. Zyazikov is one of those who has never had and does not have any ties with his fellow people. He was the one who started the policy of terror.
We all can remember how Russia tore two districts away from us, Sunzha and Malgobek Districts, and made them part of Ingushetia (Russia also took away Ingushetian lands and gave them to neighboring North Ossetia), when trying to cause a confrontation between our nations. But [first Chechen President] Dzhokhar [Dudayev] rejected the idea of a feud by saying: «We will not argue about the border with our brothers». An appropriate agreement was signed by President Aushev and President Dudayev.
But when they started to exterminate our brothers, when the abductions and persecutions of Chechens started, we were obligated to respond to the call for help from our brothers. And we did. They cannot disunite us: Chechen and Ingushetian Mujahideen are always together. I don’t mean some hypocrites - there is this kind of people among any nation. The Ingushetians welcomed our Mujahideen by crying out 'Allah Akbar' - 'God is Great!'
We did not want to launch combat operations in Ingushetia. We wanted to keep intact at least one area where Muslims are not tortured and killed. Putin, however, wanted the opposite and caused a war there. And what lesson did he learn from what happened in Ingushetia?
He said that it happened due to the insufficient number of troops in Ingushetia. This is their way of thinking. It can only mean that they just did not have enough time to start arresting people in every Ingushetian home, killing people in every home. I cannot see any other meaning in his words.
We started a holy war, we want freedom and freedom of religion. And Ingushetians are our brothers.
Question: Moscow wants to put on yet another show called 'elections' in Ichkeria. Why did the Russians choose their policeman [pro-Moscow Chechen President] Alkhanov from among others?
President Maskhadov: Putin has no clear plan, he plies back and forth: first to Ichkeria to attend Kadyrov's funeral, and then to Ingushetia. All he can do against us is torture our peaceful civilians. The Mujahideen have been fighting against the military in Ingushetia, but now that they have left, Putin is torturing and killing the refugees.
The receptions and hugs with the Kadyrovs and with Alkhanov in the Kremlin speak about the humiliated position and uncertainty in which Putin has found himself. No one takes the people, whom Putin hugs, seriously in Ichkeria.
If Putin could see the look on the face of his new presidential candidate on the footage of the explosion in which Kadyrov died, he would realize how useless Alkhanov is going to be. [Acting Chechen pro-Moscow president] Abramov shivered when he reported to Putin, but Alkhanov was in an even worse state: the explosion made his hair and his medals stand on end. Alkhanov is not good enough even for the post of the head of a village administration. He will always expect - and fear – another explosion.
Neither Putin, nor Alkhanov especially, will ever be able lead Ichkeria to the state of a civil war, just as Kadyrov was unable to do so. He would read verses from the Koran, he was deceiving both the people and God, but as a result he deceived only his own self.
There is no difference who Putin chooses. It is only a question of time until Mujahid's hand reaches him. Allah decides everyone's term.
The war will end, the troops will be withdrawn, the people will be able to rest, and whomever they elect will become the president.
Abdul Halim: These 'elections' do not matter to us. We have our legitimate President.
In the times of Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), Abu Jahl, who used to do the greatest damage to the Muslims, was killed in the Battle of Badr. And the Prophet did not know about his death until he saw Abu Jahl's head. Then he exclaimed: «God is Great! He was a scourge to our Ummah, like a pharaoh».
No one was worse than Kadyrov. He was first and foremost guilty of slander against God and His Messenger (peace be upon him). One should not speak ill about someone who is dead, but this is only true if the dead person was a pauper who could hardly earn his daily bread, not an enemy of God. And we should give some explanations.
Kadyrov was a man without God and without Homeland. He built his puppet 'presidency' on the blood and bones of his people. The world has not seen such a degenerate since the death of Abu Jahl.
God says in the Koran: «We will not leave you in this situation without finding out which of you are pure and which of you are vicious».
By the example of Alkhanov, whom Putin appointed, God let us learn just how filthy Kadyrov was. God says in the Koran, addressing to the Muslims, that the infidels will be displeased with you until you follow them. Their plan is to imprison, cause mayhem and kill the Muslims. This is their way of communication. And neither Putin nor others will be pleased with their candidate until he does what they want him to do. But neither Alkhanov nor anyone else can make the Mujahideen or the religion of God even a bit weaker. They will just demonstrate how filthy they are.
Question: Some Chechens became henchmen of the Russian invaders. They were given posts in the invaders' structures and did noticeable damage to our people. How do you evaluate these people?
President Maskhadov: Even though we call them Chechens, they are the worst among us. Looking at it from the military perspective, they are no force to speak of for the Mujahideen, and they cannot shake the determination of the Mujahideen, no matter how many of them flee to the Russian side. If many thousands-strong hordes of Russians could not shake our determination, what difference can the traitors make?
But they still did inflict great damage. What kind of damage was it? Putin admitted two years ago that the status of Ichkeria was not the point, and what mattered was the safety of Russia's southern borders. Then there were meetings between [Russian general] Kazantsev and [Chechen Envoy] Zakayev. Putin sought a way towards negotiations with the Chechen side because he could not see any military solution. Then Chechen hypocrites and traitors saw what all this was coming down to and they hurried to set up their police squads, Kadyrov’s and other gangs, and dashed to the Kremlin to see Putin. They kneeled before him and started begging: «Please do not stop the war, we will do what your troops could not do – we will unleash a civil war».
Putin, who has no foresight and who trusts his secret services and the FSB, was deceived into believing them and continued the war which has been going on to this day, for five years already. And this is their fault.
The traitors and hypocrites are ruining our youth, they are taking them to Russian military service which is supposed to be contractual. Then they are sent against the Mujahideen. They recruited conscripts from Alleroi, Avtury, Tsatsan-Yurt, Geldagen, and Kurchaloi. Then they packed these Chechen young men in trucks, took them to the frontlines and set up an ambush against the best sons of our nation, -- the Mujahideen who are waging the Jihad. The Mujahideen found out about it and laid an ambush themselves. As a result, the enemies went back with 13 dead bodies including Russians. Our troops took the weapons. 10 traitors were killed in Ishkhoi-Yurt.
These dead bodies are sent to their fathers and mothers who seem to have lost their minds. Do the parents not know where they are sending their children? But these unworthy parents only think about how their children will bring a couple of thousands of rubles home [about $ 80], but they receive the dead bodies of their children instead. They ruin their children, depriving them of good life in both worlds. And to Russia it makes no difference on which side we die, they only want to see as many Chechens dead as possible.
Russians want to incite hostility: an eye for an eye, a father for a father, a burned house for a burned house. Sometimes, in a fit of temper, I tell the Mujahideen to wreak vengeance on them the same way, but then the anger goes away. There is not a single Fighter in Nozhai-Yurt, Vedeno, Gudermes and other districts, whose house was not burned and whose brother was not abducted and tortured. Lately, they have started abducting the women too. In wrath we may retaliate the same way, and they well deserve it. But our Alims (theological scholars) know how we should act in accordance with the Shariah Law, and so does Abdul Halim, whom we consult with.
The enemies are trying to push us into the abyss of a civil war. But the war will end if we are patient. We will hold those whose hands are stained with blood accountable, and they will never escape punishment.
Question: The Chechens are a Muslim nation, and even the worst Chechen will not say that he is not a Muslim. What will the punishment be for those Chechens who stood next to the infidel enemies and fought against Muslims?
Abdul Halim: The enemy made them close allies to sow enmity and discord among our people. But it will never happen. Second, they want to weaken us by taking our people away from us. God said: «If God assists you, then there is none who could overcome you, and if He forsakes you, who is there then that can assist you after Him? And on God should the believers rely». [The Family of Imran, Verse 160]. We would run out of time if we were to say how horribly God will punish them.
Paradise has several levels, and the higher the level, the more gallant its dwellers are. The path to hell goes down: the lower its dwellers are, the more despicable they actions were, and the lowest tier of hell is the most horrible one.
Iblis (Satan), who was cursed by God from the day of creation of Adam, will always dwell in the fourth tier of Hell. God says: «Surely the hypocrites are in the lowest stage of the fire and you shall not find a helper for them». [The Women, Verse 145] The pus and liquid remnants of the sinners who permanently burn in the upper tiers are poured on them there. Only this is their food and drink.
God advised His Prophet not to get upset about the people who strive toward disbelief. He who obeys God and Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) is a Muslim, and he who worships anything else is an infidel. The hypocrite is he who says that he is a Muslim, while hiding his unbelief. God says that the hypocrites hate the Muslims more than the Jews, Christians and polytheists do.
These enemies stretch out their bloody hands towards women and children. This is not surprising here at all - this is their true face. We will not let it go. But at the same time, we will not kill and torture their women and children as they torture our women and children, because we, the Chechens, are a Muslim nation: the wives, children, brothers and sisters of the hypocrites can be believers. We should take heed of the verse from the Koran which reads: «No bearer of burden shall bear the burden of another» [The Cattle, Verse 164].
Our enemies are instructed by the Kremlin to kill our relatives. They are like animals, they do not think about revenge. But we follow the tenets of God, not their example. We will get rid of these hypocrites, whereas their brothers and sisters, God willing, will become our helpers in our common cause on the path of God. There are relatives who cannot stop the traitors and hypocrites, there are others who covet the money they earn. «We have to live on something», they say. But it is against God's word to earn money by killing Muslims. If it is impossible to survive, one should die of starvation, rather than kill a Muslim. Besides, our republic is rich - it is hard to die of starvation here.
God says: «they cannot do Me any harm, but they can make their own souls suffer the loss», [The Cow, Verse 57], which means that no harm can be done to either true Muslims or to God. The victory does not depend on numbers. God says: «How often has a small party vanquished a numerous host by Allah's permission, and Allah is with the patient». [The Cow, Verse 249]
When they talk about the US, they become feverish: the US is strong, and its victory is not surprising. And they think that we, the Mujahideen, are an easy prey because we are few. And God's help is obvious here. Prayer and religious cries will never make you a believer if you commit or approve of murders of Muslims. And the latter is worse than an actual murder before God.
But they still have the opportunity to repent, -- may God guide them. We cannot and should not commit atrocities in retaliation - we just wage the Jihad on the path of God.
President Maskhadov: I would like to add one more thing. During the previous war the hypocrites were the henchmen of Russians, but we were lenient toward them – they are Chechens no matter what. Maybe they figured that Russia has already won?
And today we will never transgress the bounds set by God, we will not touch the fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers of the hypocrites. But I swear to God, and this is my behest for the Mujahideen who will survive, we will make sure that there is no room in our country for the hypocrites who will not repent. They should be punished severely, but within the limits prescribed by God.
There will be no more amnesties granted, as there used to be before. Nor will the traitors and hypocrites be able to find shelter in some gang. It is not going to work.
Their ringleaders have already shed too much blood, and the so-called policemen and others, who joined their units and promised to help us during major operations, have been deluded and are getting more and more confused, -- but they still have time to re-think their actions.
Do not ruin yourself and your future. Kadyrov and Yamadayev do not have even a hundred men - they will not save you. They will live only as long as it will take the Mujahideen to get them.