“My Life with the Taliban” – on study and Islamic values

February 10, 2010

zaeefIn  “My Life with the Taliban”,  Abdul Salam Zaeef — who fought with the mujahideen against the Soviets in Afghanistan and later served in the Taliban government before it was ousted in 2001 — writes of how he longed to escape the trappings of office and instead follow in the footsteps of his father as the Imam of a mosque, learning and teaching the Koran.

“It is work that has no connection with the world’s affairs. It is a calling of intellectual dignity away from the dangers and temptations of power. All my life, even as a boy, I was always happiest when studying and learning things. To work in government positions means a life surrounded by corruption and injustice, and therein is found the misery of mankind,” he writes in his memoirs, newly translated and edited by Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn.

Zaeef became best known as the Taliban ambassador to Islamabad at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks — he was then arrested and sent to Guantanamo — and his memoirs provide a unique insight into the developments which led to the eight-year-old war in Afghanistan.  That alone makes it a must-read, providing an alternative and very personal account to set alongside Western concepts of the Taliban – more closely associated with their human rights record, their treatment of women, and their refusal to hand over Osama bin Laden to the United States after 9/11.

But the ideological heart of the book lies in his belief in the value of study (Talib means student) and his unswerving faith that only an Islamic system based on the implementation of sharia can drag Afghanistan out of its current misery.  Given the current discussion about whether a political settlement can be reached with the Taliban, it is perhaps his representation of this internal faith, as much as the outward trappings of jihad, that merit the most serious attention.

Zaeef was born in 1968 to a poor but educated family in Afghanistan, was orphaned as a boy, and later fled with his relatives to Pakistan shortly before the Soviet invasion in 1979.  At the age of 15, without telling his family, he ran off to join the jihad against the Soviets.  Countering the commonly held view that the movement emerged — or was created by Pakistan — only in 1994, he writes that the Taliban were very much present and active in the 1980s.

A group of religious scholars and students, they stood out from the other mujahideen because of their piety and their commitment that those who fought with them must continue their studies even on the battlefield. ”The Taliban were different,” Zaeef writes. ”Jihad was not just about fighting; in our view there had to be a strong educational perspective as well as a provision for justice.”

Despite the gruelling conditions, the injuries and deaths, these early years had an innocence to them, forging bonds among the Taliban that would endure through decades of war.  ”It’s hard to believe, maybe, but we were happy.”  One night, he remembers Mullah Muhammad Omar, who lost an eye in the fighting and later became the leader of the movement, singing a ”ghazal” – a form of poetry more commonly associated nowadays with Sufi Islam than with the austere brand of Islam represented by the Taliban.

During the descent into civil war which followed the Soviet withdrawal and subsequent collapse of the Soviet-backed government, the Taliban faded into the background. But as Afghanistan collapsed into chaos and lawlessness, the former fighters living in and around Kandahar decided in 1994 — after months of discussion — to try to impose order.  (This is a narrative which is not forgotten in southern Afghanistan today, where support for the Taliban derives in part from a view that they are better placed to restore justice and security than the representatives of the central government in Kabul, seen as weak and corrupt.)

Mullah Omar was chosen as the leader of the movement and Zaeef became one of his most loyal followers.  One of his most common habits, writes Zaeef, was to listen carefully to every side of an argument. ”He would listen to everybody with focus and respect for as long as they needed to talk, and would never seek to cut them off. After he had listened, he then would answer with ordered coherent thoughts.”

The movement founded in the late autumn of 1994 was committed to implementing sharia, prosecuting vice and promoting virtue — and when it took control of Kabul, it did just that. Zaeef writes with very little defensiveness about how women were no longer allowed to work, instead stressing how the Taliban restored security. He also cites examples of how — through what he sees as the correct implementation of sharia – convicted criminals were offered both justice and forgiveness.

In 2000, Zaeef learned of his appointment as ambassador to Pakistan on the radio. (Mullah Omar’s ability to listen to all sides of the argument appears to have escaped him at this point since Zaeef made clear he did not want to go, but his loyalty to his leader was such that he had no choice.)

Right from the beginning of his time in Islamabad, Zaeef was deeply wary of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, suspecting it of double-dealing with the Taliban’s own enemies in Afghanistan. This included the Northern Alliance, the Afghan opposition movement which was then — according to Pakistan — backed by Iran, India and Russia to try to destabilise the Pakistan-backed Taliban government in Kabul. (Readers are allowed to be confused here and rest assured:  everyone else is too.)

“In my dealings with them (the ISI) I tried not to be so sweet that I would be eaten whole, and not so bitter that I would be spat out,” Zaeef writes.

Zaeef suggests — but does not say — that Pakistan might have been worried that the Taliban in Afghanistan would try to export their own version of sharia law to a country whose identity has always been torn between the pro-Western secular stance of its elite, its South Asian roots, and its commitment to Islam. He notes only that Mullah Omar wrote to then President Pervez Musharraf at the beginning of 2001 calling on him to implement sharia law and give Pakistan an Islamic government.

As ambassador to Pakistan, he was the man who received foreign delegations begging him to stop the destruction of the Bamyan Buddha statues — giant statues of Buddha carved out of rock which were dynamited by the Taliban in 2001.  Pay close attention to what he writes about this since it happened before 9/11. Stripped of the politics which followed the attacks on New York and Washington, it may give a better insight into whether Taliban and Western thinking can ever be reconciled.

Zaeef recounts that a Japanese delegation suggested that the statues — built during the days when parts of Afghanistan were at the heart of a great Buddhist kingdom – could either be covered up or removed piece-by-piece and reassembled in Japan. He argued in turn that Afghans had evolved from the days it believed in Buddhism and had since discovered the “true religion”.  ”Furthermore, the Buddha statues are made out of stone by the hands of men. They hold no real value for religion, so why were they so anxious to preserve them?”  He says he believes the destruction of the statues — although he was not party to the decision — was within the bounds of sharia. At the same time, he also says ”the destruction was unnecessary and a case of bad timing”.

Even before the 9/11 attacks, the Taliban came under pressure to hand over Osama bin Laden to America over the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa. But Zaeef insists — and here is where the Taliban’s legalistic and intellectual approach comes to the fore –that Afghanistan could not hand over bin Laden since it had no extradition treaty with the United States. The Taliban — and to read Zaeef they sound still like students debating a point of law of law — suggested instead that bin Laden should be put on trial. If the United States did not accept a trial in Afghanistan, he writes, the alternative was for three, or four, Islamic countries to put him on trial and let Washington submit the evidence; even to use the U.N. court in The Hague as a face-saving compromise for both sides.

Such was the naivety of the Taliban approach — or so you are led to understand — that even after 9/11 Mullah Omar believed that there was less than a 10 percent chance that America would attack Afghanistan, thinking that it would first meet his demand that Washington held a formal investigation and supplied evidence of bin Laden’s involvement in 9/11.

It was not until Zaeef was detained in early 2002 that he fully understood what was going on. In the words of the Pakistani official who arrested him:  “Your Excellency, you are no longer an Excellency! America is a superpower. Did you not know that? No one can defeat it, nor can they negotiate with it. America wants to question you and we are here to hand you over to the USA.”

The arrest led to long years of humiliation and degradation in jails first in Afghanistan and later in Guantanamo – a story which deserves a separate article in itself.  For now, here is how he recounts being handed over to the Americans near Peshawar after being driven there from Islamabad. As soon as he was handed over, he was attacked and his clothes ripped with knives. “Pakistani and American soldiers stood around me. Behind these soldiers, I could see military vehicles in the distance, one of which had a general’s number plate.”

“The Pakistani soldiers were all staring as the Americans hit me and tore the remaining clothes off my body. Eventually I was completely naked, and the Pakistani soldiers — the defenders of the Holy Koran — shamelessly watched me with smiles on their faces, saluting this disgraceful action of the Americans.”

“That moment,” he says, ”is written in my memory like a stain on my soul.”

Finally freed from Guantanamo without charge on Sept. 11 2005, he returned to Kabul where he now lives under government protection. He continues to believe that a solution to Afghanistan can be found only by respecting Islamic values and Afghan traditions, and while he would like peace for a country which has suffered three decades of war, is sceptical about whether this can be achieved.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, he says, would like to bring peace but also to remain in power, and therefore does not know how to achieve it.  Karzai came to power the wrong way, through foreign backing, without acquiring the wisdom and trusted advisers of a man who had earned his role as a leader in Afghanistan. ”Karzai is trying to find a solution and one can feel that he is not a cruel man,” he writes, noting that he had met him three or four times at Karzai’s invitation.  “He can play a crucial role. But Afghanistan’s problems are going on above his head. He is just a pawn in the hands of the main player.”

America, he says, should seek a real peace in Afghanistan and let Afghans decide how it should be run rather than imposing a system of government from outside.  “Perhaps it is true that the Americans want peace as well.  But it is their own peace on their own terms.”

Even after eight years of war, the United States offered peace accompanied by threats. The administration of President Barack Obama appeared to be making all the same mistakes as its predecessor by sending an extra 30,000 troops. Obama had failed to understand that after eight years of war, force was not a solution. “And yet still they send more troops. The current conflict is a political conflict and as such cannot be solved by the gun.”

(File photo of Zaeef as ambassador; shortly after he applied for political asylum in Pakistan in 2001)

Comments

All sources seem to point towards Pakistan’s military and its famous Intelligence department. Even the Taliban seems to have looked at them with suspiciously. Pakistani military (not Pakistan the nation) seems to be double dealing with everyone for its own agenda of survival by perpetuating a conflict with India. If Taliban had continued on without being evicted by the US, I am sure they would have run into conflict with Pakistan’s military. Taliban does not have any kind of enmity with India and does not care what India does within its borders. Pakistani military’s “strategic depth” objectives vis-a-vis Kashmir might have backfired on them, had Taliban continued. To keep the Taliban under its control, the Pak military might have created problems for them by propping up the other Mujahideen groups and using them as a whip. Taliban might have looked at Pakistani Muslims are heretics had they continued.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

The basic problem with Islam is its roots in Jihad, Fatwa, self created image of the superior race and the chosen people as enunciated in their holy book-Quran. This has filled them with hate, wars, and subsrvience politics in the garb of a medieval religion, less of a religion and more of a masochistic politics. So long as these fanatics remain cobwebbed in the narrow sphere of this Sharia based practices, it will be hard for them to come to terms of reconciliation and reformation. They are so hardboiled in their captivity of Quranic prophessies that will make them difficult to tackle. Other difficulty is their oxymoronic personality which makes them totally unreliable.

Dr. O. P. Sudrania

Posted by opsudrania | Report as abusive
 

Dr. O. P. Sudrania:

In addition to what you said is the war lords which is just because of sheer power and tribe system. In Afghanistan, if Islam is the common force then all tribes many, not all, of which are Muslims will get along very well. But that is not the case. So there is something unique in Afghanistan there which cannot be just described by “Islam” factor. Taliban power, according to the reports, is unacceptable to common Afghans and many war lords. These war lords earn million dollars per month and do not fall for Islamic ideology of Taliban alone; they are highly flexible and can align with anyone (even West) based on their interests. Taliban on the other hand is more rigid in their approach and ideology which is fundamentalist Islam– unacceptable to most Muslims unless they are not governed by Taliban (eg Pakistan).

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

Dr. O. P. Sudrania
I do not whether you are a Phd doctor or an MD, however your comment shows its YOU who is filled with hatred against Islam. As a Pakistani muslim i somehow agree we muslims have not done much in terms of standing up and let the world know what Islam truly stands for; a beautiful religion of peace and brotherhood and a complete code of life. No wonder Islam is today’s fastest growing religion, from the Americas to Europe and Africa and elsewhere.
Mr. Dr whoever, i hope now you get a sense what ISLAM is.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

@No wonder Islam is today’s fastest growing religion, from the Americas to Europe and Africa and elsewhere.
Mr. Dr whoever, i hope now you get a sense what ISLAM is.
-Umairpk

Umair: Your conclusion of 4-5 sentences on Islam is naive at best.

@ As a Pakistani muslim i somehow agree we muslims have not done much in terms of standing up….”
–Not only Pakistani which has economic reasons for not doing so, even filthy rich Saudis and other such Muslim countries around have done nothing for the development of humanity at scientific and technological level other than emphasizing religion and funding terrorism or enjoying women. Dig a Dawn column on this topic on the contributions of billion Muslims in the world in this.

@ Islam truly stands for; a beautiful religion of peace and brotherhood and a complete code of life. No wonder Islam is today’s fastest growing religion, from the Americas to Europe and Africa and elsewhere.”

–Let me break your sentences into words.
@”beautiful religion of peace.”: that;s your opinion which is OK but the very fact that Islam has been mutilated by terrorists by quoting the same verses which you find beautiful defeats the point.

@”brotherhood”: I interpret that as Muslim brotherhood because that’s the implied meaning. I know you trust this that one Muslim feels the pain the other community feels so. It is not about humanity it is about Muslims only. Not such “a complete code of life” then. There is a serious problem.

@a complete code of life”: Personal opinion which is fair enough. But I wonder do you keep room here that other religions also can be alternate “complete code of life”. Implies tolerance. I do not think so.Also read the point on Muslim brotherhood. That is flaw in brotherhood theory. I know there is a verse that Muslims bring up in response to this. But I have not seen that being practiced.

Then how does all this lead to :”No wonder Islam is today’s fastest growing religion, from the America to Europe and Africa and elsewhere.”?

Do you mean higher numbers of Muslims are an indication of the beauty of the religion. That will be equivalent to saying more insects are superior to human if there are insects than humans.

While I am not a religious person, I feel that Islam is full of ambiguities which many religions are, partially based on the fact that sometime sacred books can be interpreted in more than one way. But Islam takes a hit and is target because the interpretations are so distorted that Umair finds the verse so peaceful while Kasab at Saeed;s behest also finds it beautiful and in cojunction with brotherhood concept begins to kill non-Muslims or even Muslims of a particular sect.

This all does not sound very beautiful. These dangerously naive interpretations do not help Islam.

I am not sure about Dr. O. P. Sudrania but you have not convinced me. However, we can still be friends.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

Rajeev
This is certainly not a forum of arguing on religion. Though title of this topic states -”on study and Islamic values”.
I would say open yourself to Islam, and seek the truth. Yes certainly, Kasab did go on a killing spree in Mumbai, but what is the Indian Army doing in Kashmir? having fun? killing muslims. And what did the Israeli Army do in Gaza in December 2008 google “Öperation Cast Lead”. That is what radicalizes some muslims. And I do not want to justify what happened in Mumbai 2008 because it was not right. Collectively muslims do realize they need to correct a few things. America on its part has done much to bridge the gap, with President Obama’s speech in Cario last year addressed to muslims and also appointed “Farah Pandith” a muslim of Indian origin as the Special Representative to Muslim Communities for the United States Department of State. Ms. Farah has even visted Pakistan recently in that capacity and she is an American muslim who immigrated from India. America has chosen to engage with the muslim world, with Pakistan and others. While in India radical hindu organizations as shiv sena and its supporters are calling Shah Rukh Khan as a traitors and burning the posters of his new movie “My name is Khan” only because he spoke in favour of Pakistani cricketers. While his movie is also showing in Pakistan and people are watching that. So it is all about engaging with each other, trying to create and develop an understanding with each other. Only then we can seek and discover the truth. If you were not a religious person before, probably this is the time for you to learn a thing or two about not only Islam but also your own religion. It is always good to have faith.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

@Only then we can seek and discover the truth. If you were not a religious person before, probably this is the time for you to learn a thing or two about not only Islam but also your own religion. It is always good to have faith.
Posted by Umairpk”

Umair: I did not say that I do not know about religion. I know enough but I do not give a damn. I do not think you get it.

Rest is not even worth making a comment.

Same old Kashmir/Palestine…..Did I not say brotherhood concept is killing you.

So today you are all full of America’s praise but still unhappy. what’s up with all this.

Have some tolerance. It is as simple as that.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

What brotherhood is Umair talking abt. Muslims are famous for killing fathers/ brothers in the past so as to grab power. So Muslims killing Muslims is nothing new.

Saudis have kept a lot of Muslim population oppressed and has ensured that they get educated at Madrassas only. They have also ensured that other Islamic countries follow the same rule… WHY.. its simple… Most of the ppl in Madrassas are fed with hate towards other religions… So no matter how much you try to Help…. they will always hate you… its built into them…

Posted by tushar0123 | Report as abusive
 

and Umair… Pls dont talk abt Shiv Sena and MINK… Sena is a party that will do whatever it can to remain in News… They have gone after non marathi (non maharastrians) also… but I dont see you comment abt it…. You view news only from one angle…. Islamic Angle…. Open your mind and get informed . it will do you a lot of good.

Posted by tushar0123 | Report as abusive
 

Umair,

In your example of the Shiv Sena’s attacks against Sharuk Khan being proof of India, unlike the USA, not trying to engage the Muslim world, you are playing into the hands of the Sena and are o off the mark it is unbelievable.

Please read any, I repeat, any mainstream Indian newspaper and please point out how many have applauded the Sena for its stand. Has anyone in the government of India endorsed its stand or been only critical? Please also realise they are a miniscule but vocal opposition party which is fighting for survival. The Govt. on the other hand is bsuy trying to convince people why talks with Pakistan must resume. Would you call that reaching out or what?

Now compare this with what happened when your Jihadi (as opposed to peaceful) Islamic leaders gathered in POK and the total silence on their activity and hate filled hysteria on the part of the government of Pakistan. In fact your foreign minister is on tape, ducking questions on their activities saying he did not know anything about it. He seems to know whatever is shown and said in India but has so little idea of what is happening in his own country! Full marks to him – the perfect ‘foreign’ minister.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive
 

“The current conflict is a political conflict and as such cannot be solved by the gun.”

Coming from a senior Taliban official – the party that ruled Afghanistan only by the gun for so many long years, subjected its citizens to public executions in foot ball fields, burnt schools, subjugated women and was involved in a civil war within its own tribes for years throughout its reign – one can only laugh.

What peace is this man talking about?

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive
 

Umair:

@While in India radical hindu organizations as shiv sena and its supporters are calling Shah Rukh Khan as a traitors and burning the posters of his new movie “My name is Khan” only because he spoke in favour of Pakistani cricketers. While his movie is also showing in Pakistan and people are watching that. So it is all about engaging with each other, trying to create and develop an understanding with each other. Only then we can seek and discover the truth.”
–Umairpk

Umair: I had 1 minute yesterday and so I posted a short post. Here I go again.

So you want to discuss “truth”. But be sincere. You feel angry about Shiv Sena and showing here SRK as an evidence for Hindu Fundamentalism. You did that few months ago too about VHP Togadia by posting a youtube link on Muslim riots in Gujarat India. At least 10 other Indian posters and I criticized Hindu fundamentalism and the event. Perhaps I should have used your bro rationale and told you that Muslims were killed because 50+Hindus were killed and burnt alive by Muslim fundamentalists few days ago and my Hindu bros took revenge. How does that sound? To me that sounds childish. But that’s the way you think. At that time you were asked your stand on LeT type Hafeez Saeed and JeM guy Azhar. But you did not say a word and vanished. Is this teaching of your religion or politics? If it is religion, you have not really incorporated Islam as your “code of life” and if it is politics you are no slippery slope and have narrow vision.

All your thought process lead to the conclusion that you think violent fundamentalists/terrorists like LeT and JeM, A-Q are out there to fix anti-Muslim issues and you are OK with that. So USA India and Israel are bad guys, permanently and those terrorists are good guys for you. This is what it means when you justify violence. You stand with them. It does not need any spiritual enlightenment to know that supporting religious fundamentalism is a problem.

With 50 plus Muslim countries you will continue to be in trouble given your half baked brotherhood concept and ill founded silent indirect support for violent groups. Your class of people is what is keeping this violence alive. This class of people is most dangerous since people in this are not extremists per se but shift in gray zones and take modest to extreme positions whenever they fancy. It has nothing to do with religion. It is politics..

@Yes certainly, Kasab did go on a killing spree in Mumbai, but what is the Indian Army doing in Kashmir? having fun? killing muslims. And what did the Israeli Army do in Gaza in December 2008 google “Öperation Cast Lead”. That is what radicalizes some muslims”
-Umairpk

—First off, Indian Army in Kashmir is not any GOD’s army like you claim for Pakistan. I also see that you being proud of Pakistan Army which in fact has killed more Muslims that Indian Army has. Could you explain here why this differential treatment when you know that Indian Army has gone there to kill terrorist from Pakistan and Kashmiris are sandwiched in this problem. You need to yell at PA first to clean yourself. Second, note that you seem to be thinking that Kasab, a LeT terrorist, did a violent act and that was in response to Indian Army actions. Great support to LeT but no surprise to me!

Have you ever thought about non-Muslim issues in your life? I doubt. If internal Jihad is not your cup of tea it is time you take time off from religion (since that is not helping your thought process).

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

@And I do not want to justify what happened in Mumbai 2008 because it was not right. Collectively muslims do realize they need to correct a few things.”
-Umairpk

Umair: You cannot be both. Either you condemn Mumbai attack or state that LeT was hanging in Mumbai to “to correct a few things.”

Let me remind you Mumbai attack killed 40 Muslims out of 160 dead. Cry for them at least. But why would you cry for them since it was not Hindus of Gujarat who killed Indian Muslims it was LeT of Pakistan. So it must be OK acc to you!

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

@ Dara:

“The current conflict is a political conflict and as such cannot be solved by the gun.”

Coming from a senior Taliban official – the party that ruled Afghanistan only by the gun for so many long years, subjected its citizens to public executions in foot ball fields, burnt schools, subjugated women and was involved in a civil war within its own tribes for years throughout its reign – one can only laugh.

What peace is this man talking about?”

I went to a conference last week where people who lived, or had lived, in Kandahar, were speaking. I was quite surprised how many of them had heard ordinary people, including women, beginning to say that life was better under the Taliban, compared to the current set-up.

Also I’m not sure if we have a proper yardstick for the treatment of women in Afghanistan — it might be the day we see Karzai’s wife in public. I’m not condoning the Taliban’s attitude to women — but at the same time want to be a bit careful about applying standards from outside Afghanistan.

Also any mother is going to put security for her children even before the right to work. You shouldn’t have to make that choice, but right now, that seems to be the one many of them are being offered.

Posted by Myra.MacDonald | Report as abusive
 

Mr. Dr whoever, If you have gone through the column in detail, you would have noticed “translated and edited by Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn”. The problem with translations along with editing is that they tend to loose their essence somewhere in the way of doing so because it is very hard to find a completely honest and non-biased man of character these days, everybody has got their own vested interests. So, the integrity of this article is suspicious in the first place. Secondly your comments indicate that you are filled with hatred against Islam up to your ears. This is a fact that Muslims have not done much in conveying true message of Islam to the world, but, if you have read some history and consider the contributions of Muslim scientists to the humanity, you will find out that Muslim scientists’ research provided foundations for modern day scientific development. One should not have a tunnel vision like yourself which is completely blinding you of all the good things in Islam and you are focused on the modern day discrepancies only. In fact Islam is a beautiful religion of peace and brotherhood and a complete code of life, no wonder Islam is today the fastest growing religion of Americas and Europe which are considered modern day metropolis of science and intellect.
How are you going to explain this phenomenon?

Posted by NiazMalik | Report as abusive
 

Myra,

What you mention about how people see life in Afghnistan to-day as compared to the Taliban is a real surprise to me. If that be true, not the opinion of a few who have their own reasons, then perhaps the Taliban are right in fighting the present regime and NATO forces. Is this why the USA went in there, to make things worse? Or is it that the law and order situation is worse for many but life is a little better in terms of freedom to carry on with their activities, see movies, visit beauty parlours and the like?

As far as applying yardsticks from outside, you have a point. Somehow, I cannot, even after so many years, forget the sight of a woman being dragged to the football field and being shot in public. If things are worse than this, then God help Afghanistan. Maybe the rest of the world has a lot to answer for.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive
 

Most religions focus on two things: Learning of God and The living out of that knowledge in daily life choices. It appears many religions attempt to subjugate human carnality, the outward expression of inward brokenness, via rituals and regulations. This tactic may modify behavior somewhat with fear or habit however it is not possible to transform inherited falleness, at the DNA level, by external means or methods. Apart and alienated from the source and power of eternal perfection and holiness; humans reflect the inherited evil within us ALL.

To quote Pascal:

“Doubtless there is nothing more shocking to our reason than to say that the sin of the first man has rendered guilty those who, being so removed from its source, seem incapable of participating in it. Certainly nothing offends us more rudely than this doctrine, and yet without this mystery, the most incomprehensible of all, we are incomprehensible to ourselves.”

(thorough analysis of ‘original sin’ HERE: http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/ 03/001-original-sin-a-disputation-18

http://folklight.blogspot.com/

Posted by Folklight | Report as abusive
 

@I went to a conference last week where people who lived, or had lived, in Kandahar, were speaking. I was quite surprised how many of them had heard ordinary people, including women, beginning to say that life was better under the Taliban, compared to the current set-up.”

Myra:
Well, Afghans were not happy under Taliban when they ruled without any serious opposition. Right now these people are sandwiched between Taliban and Karzai govt. Perhaps that is the main reason. It may not be more about how bad the karzai govt is, it could be that Karzai faces Taliban opposition and people are in the middle. Pushtoons are convinced or scared into Taliban against the govt and the West.

This is common phenomenon that happens when people get stuck in the middle–terrorists vs state machinery and more likely survival instincts tell them to side with the stronger, which happens to be Taliban here. Ask them a hypothetical question what if Taliban does not exist. I guess they will be OK with govt, despite all the corruption.

I will wait for a larger sample size and proper survey to believe anything. But what you said tells the state of Afghan govt.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

It is late to comment but not late enough to argue. Basically, the topic was not discussing religion but politics and situation of Afghanistan.

I saw comparison between Muslims and Hindus, but why you people don’t compare Islam vs Hinduism. I accept, Muslims are performing a lot of things against Islam but that doesn’t mean that Islam is wrong. Islam is Universal religion the Holy Koran is God words and it is proven that no one has yet changed a single versa in Koran since 1400yrs. Don’t you think for a person like Muhammad (PBUH) uneducated it was a hard job to write such book? I would suggest forget that you’re Hindu, go to bed and think for sometime will you’re sculpture that someone made it for you will protect you when you face Allah (God) how will you answer? Don’t you believe that only one power can manage the entire universal and if there was many so it would have create conflicts among them like read your Mahabarat and other books. Wars of different Baghwans.

My point is not criticizing and persuading anyone for Islam but my point is that do not compare practitioners of religions with the religion. Science has proven that what was written in Koran 1400yrs ago is now discovered by Science. You will probably argue what but I would suggest read the Quran and the modern science

When we say Brotherhood, it is only for Muslims but when we say Islam is the religion of peace then that is for entire human kind. If Islam was by force and terrorism and when Muslims ruled Hindustan for 1000yrs did they forced people to convert to Islam NO. If they used force now you all would have been Muslims and Hindustan would have been named different.

When Jews and Hindu kill Muslims then you say the old story but when anyone do anything if he is a Muslim then Islam did that, It is all Media which made Islam a devil for people and it all started since 1970’s because after second world war why the world power made an Islamic Country of Pakistan.

Once upon a time your Hindu hero’s were called terrorists by British like Bagghat singh, Azad and others so by calling them Terrorists are they now terrorists or freedom fighters?

Posted by Sulaimanahmad | Report as abusive
 

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