Author – Anand Gopal
In our last blog ,in the book review of “NO GOOD MEN AMONG THE LIVING” ,BY AUTHOR ANAND GOPAL , we talked about how interestingly ,Taliban, a group of fanatical students came together to bring law and order to the Afghan society and they were a success to a certain extent except for pushing the country back to medevial times
As per protagonist , Mullah Cable ,the Taliban commander , a bad stroke of luck , brought the Arabs of Al-Qaeda to Afghanistan . They had a distinctly different culture , spoke a different language and their goals were entirely different .Al -Qaeda wanted to displace US supremacy but Talibans were Afghan centric .They wanted diplomatic recognition as long as they wer left to their own ways .But at the time of World Trade Center attack in 2001 ,unfortunately ,Al-Qaeda was operating from the soils of Afghanistan.
After the October , 7 2001 American attack on Afghanistan ,author reported ,Talibans were decimated and Al-qaeda retreated unconditionally .Talibans even agreed to support the US backed Afghan government and Hamid Karzai.This REBRANDING , was nothing new in Afghan politics .This was survival .The losing party either fled ,retired or submitted to the victorious .
But for Americans ,this was all alien
Allegiance is supposed to be for life .Changing colors like a chameleon was unacceptable and the” Foe ” even if packaged differently ,continues to be an enemy
So America continued its war against it’s “Invisible Enemy” and they were never offered a seat on the table in any of the reconciliatory efforts in the initial years .
Why Hamid Karzai?Author pondered !
Karzai was no different than any other Afghan leader, who survived on foreign power .He was a former humanitarian worker ,Scion of an elite Kandhar Family and with Tribal elders and former antisoviet commanders formed SOUTHERN ALLIANCE with headquarters in a Pakistan CIty
But he was smart enough to be at the right time and at the right place and Americans’plans aligned with his .
Karzai hated Taliban and Americans wanted a man who was from Pashtun ,Background[Tribal background] to head the government .
The Ghost Enemy
At the end of 2001 and early 2002 ,Talibans were dismanteled and Al-Qaeda had fled to the safe Havens . So author wondered who were the Americans fighting the war against?
Entered the Middle men and the frst missteps were taken , when the war started going wrong These” Middle men “understood the meaning of “American power and Money ” and enemies were recreated .
Author named Sherzai as one of them ,who ran the intelligence network for the Americans and reaped enormous rewards .Villas ,Business empires and power in Southern Afghanisatn ,to name a few
Unless you were a part of these PRO MIDDLE MEN OR PRO KARZAI groups .you were targeted by e ither taken into custody ,tortured or sent to Guantanamo prison
No amount of assurances from the rest of Afghans ,who at different times of their lives had belonged to different groups ,either Mujahideens ,Talibans or regular Afghans could convince Americans that like Americans they wanted to build their nation and aimed for peace
So the war , took a new turn and it was called “Counter -terrorism” and the peace efforts were called “Nation building “ but all within the precints of these “Middle Men” and the Victors ,The Americans ,themselves became victims of Afghan Strongmen
We will take forward this review in the concluding blog .
Till then ,
Wishing you all a safe and a Happy New Year , 2022 , in advance