Finally I finished reading another good book, suggested by my intellectual friend Anshula. The book being, The Wrong Enemy by Carlotta Gall (a British journalist). The book is about America in Afghanistan from 2001 – 2014. The book is about real facts of course and about a dangerous situation and it took the author countless interviews and inexhaustible research work to be able to come up with this brilliant work. It’s inspiring to know, a woman travelling to a war struck country, and working there, and here we are not stepping out of our homes for it’s too hot outside or “I got cramps”. Anyway!
I started off with this book because every time I read the international news section I’d come across something related to Taliban, Afghanistan or the United States retreating it’s armies; innumerable questions would pop up in my head. Hence this book.
It’s a story from Taliban surrender in 2001, it’s reappearance and finally it becoming dormant.
The first question in my head was, what is Taliban? Is it a place or a group, where does it reside? What is their agenda? And why are they doing what they are doing? (omg I just realised that more than one question! Hehe)
So here it goes,
I’m assuming that you know about the war between Soviet Union and The United States which ultimately led to the birth of Taliban, (So, Taliban is not a place, it’s an organisation, a militant group. Talib literally means religious students or seekers of knowledge. Taliban is the plural of Talib.)
If you don’t know, simply put, after the Soviet Union left Afghanistan, so the United States assumed victory and hardly paid any heed to the Afghan situation it was responsible for creating (USA was encouraging Mujahideen to fight against Soviet Union by supplying weapons). This created a power lacuna and paved a way for increased the dominance of warlords and lawlessness in the society. These small groups in their respective regions would block the highways and rob the travellers. There were a lot of weapons in Afghanistan due to the American supply in order to fight Soviet Union as well as the weapons left by the Soviet Union when it left. So any man with a gun was creating a situation of anarchy.
Thus in order to counter the same a group of powerful commanders from the west of Kandahar came together with the help of a judge Maulavi Pasanai. One of the person working with the group was Mullah Omar!
This was the period when the United States didn’t really pay much attention to it and was helping Afghani leaders such as Hamid Karzai come to power and Taliban was adopted by Pakistan; one of the reason for such adoption was to increasing its muscle power to challenge it’s rival, India.
This book is a shocking and scandalous reality of Pakistan’s secret policies, including harboring some of the world most notorious terrorists and terrorists organisations for its own benefit. But maybe it forgot, what goes around, comes back around. I’d like to quote a line which I read in this book i. e. If one trains a snake to bite the enemy, one shouldn’t be shocked if the snake turns around and bites the trainer itself. (these aren’t the exact words but that’s what it meant).
What I also realized while reading this book was that it’s totally wrong to label any country as good or bad. It’s not that all the people of Pakistan are Osama bin Laden ‘s best friends and neither is it true that all Afghans are Taliban. It also made me think that when I often say, “it’s the government’s fault” but what constitutes government? Is each and every person who is a part of the government responsible? Not necessarily! It could be one political party with x y z ideology and amongst them as well, it’s those people who take crucial decisions are often responsible. That’s exactly what we need to identify before pointing a finger any any country or its citizens or even the government.
This book also covers political situation in Afghanistan which was unable to combat Taliban ( that is, Pakistani Taliban, more precisely ISI Taliban). Why was it so? How did Hamid Karzai come to power? Why did he win the second term? It also made me feel that perhaps we are living under an illusion that there is something called law and order and there is the legitimate elected head of the state who will protect us. Perhaps most of the time they are only doing things to protect their seat which is forever in danger. Perhaps more attention is being paid to politics and less to administration.
One of the last chapters in this book is called Osama’s safe haven. I think I read this chapter at the speed of light, eating my fingers, as it covers some really shocking facts.
I guarantee that this book will break most of the notions we have in our minds, for example when I used to read about Mullah Omar, I actually feared him, but when I really read about him I was just smiling silently as I realized that I was afraid of the wrong person. There is a reason why he was made the leader of Taliban, and it wasn’t because of his leadership qualities or something. All these things aren’t so simple!
I’m sure there are good leaders in Pakistan and in Afghanistan who must come to power so that they can bring peace. But perhaps there is some bigger political backing which doesn’t want it to happen. It’s all politics. (these things are of course not written in the book, but it’s quite obvious for the reader to understand).
In the end I just pray for the Afghan and Pakistan people for so may of innocent people were caught in the cross fire of power struggle and foreign intervention and died,
brilliant leaders who couldn’t survive the immediate physical danger, innumerable people who joined various organisations to protect their land and their people were manipulated. I just hope peace prevails in Afghanistan and Pakistan. May all those souls rest in peace.
And for all the people like you and me who are watching all this from a distance, I’d request you to try to really find the reality (try reading this book) and not be judgmental about any country or person.
I’d conclude by saying thanks to my friends for helping me come up with this blog, Anshula (my lovely intellectual friend), Hemayatullah (my intellectual Afghan friend) and the author of The Wrong Enemy, Carlotta Gall for doing a phenomenal job and all those countless people who supported her.