Reading Zaeef: 6. Withdrawal
Reading Abdul Salam Zaeef: My Life with the Taliban:
Under the shadow of this new government, the Russians announced their intention to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan. When I first learned about this I was very happy. The jihad seemed to be over, and we had won. I had never thought that I would live to see the day when the Soviet Union left Afghanistan. I was sure I would be martyred by one of their bullets: I even wished for it. Every time I went on an operation I believed I would not return. With the defeat came new hope, though, and I found myself praying to God that he would let me live to see Afghanistan as a free and independent Islamic country with an Islamic government.
But the loose alliance between the different mujahedeen groups crumbled before our eyes as everyone started to pursue their own goals. What came next obliterated what we had fought for, and defamed the name and honour of the mujahedeen and the jihad itself.
In Kabul, fighting soon broke out between Massoud and Hekmatyar. Massoud had demanded full control of the city but Hekmatyar -as Prime Minister— didn’t accept this. The old Communist party splits between Khalqis and Parchamis were being played out again, and while alliances were never clear, the Khalqis sided with Hekmatyar while the Parchamis seemed to support Massoud. Soon the fighting reached Kandahar, where rival commanders clashed in the city. Ustaz Abdul Haleem,19 a commander of Sayyaf’s faction, had taken the provincial police department, but Mullah Naqib’s forces turned it into rubble. Abdul Hakim Jan was the commander at that battle, which lasted just one day before Ustaz Abdul Haleem fled. Most people in the building were killed, but some escaped towards Sarpoza and to the main base of Ustaz Abdul Haleem.
The Taliban didn’t involve themselves in these disputes, and in any case most had returned home by now. Mullah Mohammad Omar turned our old mujahedeen base in Sangisar into a madrassa. I briefly considered staying there as well, but without any work it would be difficult. I decided to return to my wife and children. I had married in 1987 and we had moved in with my father-in-law in Deh Merasay. My wife had given birth to our children by then. I discussed our situation with her and my father-in-law and we decided that I should start to look for work.
So I took my family and we fled to Pakistan. We avoided all the main roads and used smugglers’ routes and back roads to avoid the criminal gangs that were holding up travellers, robbing them and raping their wives all over southern Afghanistan. There was no security and there was no law. Gangs of former mujahedeen, thieves and thugs were bleeding the people. No one was holding them accountable and travel had become dangerous and expensive. I was relieved when we arrived in Pakistan without incident.
Business was good and soon I was able to leave for Peshawar to focus on my Islamic studies and finish my education. It was there that I started to develop and cultivate an interest in politics.
Posted by b on December 27, 2010 at 06:00 AM | Permalink
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