From War to Peace through Political Struggle – A Celebrity But A Forgotten Chapter of Afghanistan, Mualana Rahmatullah Andar
“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.”
_ John Lennon
Mualana Rahmatullah Ander, 36, belongs to Ander district in Ghazni Province. He holds a MA in Arabic & Islamic Education from Peshawar University and he has completed his master in Administration and Management from Kabul University. He was inclined to take the admission to the Islamic University. While meeting with his father to discuss his future plans, he was unexpectedly arrested by local intelligence and accused of being a Taliban fighter. Maulana Rahmatullah Ander suffered for nearly three months in prison.
Public Uprising Against the Taliban:
“When Taliban arrived in Ander District to attack the government I also became part of them. To be honest, we had no other option”, Maulana told the Afghan Tribune in an interview.
Later Maulana was arrested by the US forces in during combat and detained at Bagram Prison for more than three years. He moved to Peshawar after getting released from the prison in the hopes of completing his degree.
After completing the study period Maulana arrived back in his home town once again. This time, he found the political circumstances worse. All schools were shut down by Taliban decree. Furthermore, he was an eye-witness to Taliban’s cruelties when they sealed the clinics, main roads and main district Bazaar.
“These acts of insurgents and militants have left a very bad impression on the mindset of the people. They considered themselves oppressed and slaves of the militants”, Maulana added.
Finally, Taliban had begun kidnapping the people of the area. In this case, Taliban abducted my small brother. I visited Taliban base in Quetta, Pakistan to plea for his release; but I realized the Taliban had changed. They had severely bad perspective against our people now. I secretly headed back home and called on public gatherings for consultations regarding the future strategy.” Maulana added while speaking to the Afghan Tribune correspondent, Halim Shamalzai.
“The people had unanimously appointed me as a leader and they had given me a free hand in making decisions about the fate of the people against the Taliban. I launched a democratic campaign against the Taliban where people and, specifically, tribal elders were also consulted. We kept the view of preferring willing tribal elders and the people of district regarding the Taliban and my brother release. But, nevertheless, the circumstances were changed.”
“Alternatively, we made a call to the Taliban shadow provincial governor to release my brother or make him face judgment. But unfortunately their answer was vague. There was nothing we could do.”
“Taliban have demanded three conditions; first to evacuate; second, to surrender, and the third were to choose the battle field. We numbered only 12 present in PAYANDI village of Andar district. I immediately referred the issue, once again, to our public elders. They incredibly showed their support and promised to stand to the last breath against such brutally. On the second day, the Taliban sent a warning. They encircled our village. Their numbers were in the hundreds but we were just few.”
“Our one friend, Samad Kaka, was martyred. I and my other friend were injured. Fortunately, the actions of the Taliban roused the people of village. We preferred to fight them with our theocratic perspective rather than an armed struggle. We had started a campaign against their cruelties and to reopen our schools. Finally, we succeeded in reopening the schools and a cultural center in the light of Islam. Actually, the Taliban perspective caused the masses to rise against them on different fronts.”
“After the Taliban launched many assaults against us, the time came when 600 Taliban ambushed us on all sides. The battle lasted more than 9 hours. God blessed us and we only gave one martyr but they were killed by the tens.”
“As the Taliban were getting defeated by the people, they became even more determined. They burned my house and library and planted land mines in public roads. Once they blew up a wedding bus where 18 children and women were killed. Regional Islamic scholars also released a Fatwa and many volunteers augmented our numbers each day.”
“On the other side, our victories had received the attention of our government and the US forces. The US forces were suspicious of us. When they came to find out, we sent a message to not interrupt in our matter. If the government wanted to pave a way to infrastructure and other activities then we will say, ‘welcome’.”
“The government of Afghanistan was willing to help us through the local police, but we clarified that they should send the police to the areas of Taliban. Furthermore, we requested construction of governmental institutions and other activities relevant to infrastructure. Despite our argument, the government implemented its own decision and we welcomed them. Now both regional police force and army work together to secure our territory and homes.”
“The effect of our struggle was enormous. The Taliban, because of their behavior, has changed the common people’s sentiment by 180% degrees. They tried to prevent this unification movement by hook and by crook. They focused on our area but they failed. In some other areas the same public uprising against Taliban can also be seen. In Logar Province, Maqwar Distract, Hisarak in Nangahar Province, Laghman Province & Kunar as well.”
“However, there were some drawbacks to the movement. Some warlords in the northern areas of Afghanistan took advantage of the situation and they pushed some fake uprisings for their own selfish interests.”
“Undoubtedly, our main goal was a secure, peaceful Afghanistan. Unfortunately, we only have one clinic, a school, and a narrow road built by the government. With great sorrow, we have given 500 precious lives for this great cause.”
“Perhaps, there was a misunderstanding within the institutions of Hamid Karzai’s government. They were of the belief that the Taliban are their troublesome brothers and that was the reason nobody paid attention to our sacrifices. These sacrifices creating a better understanding was the only hope against the oppression and ignorance of our enemies. To be honest, no governmental entities were of the aligned with our understanding”, Maulana added desperately.
Maulana has added a heartrending sentence during his interview, “I have no complaint against any person but I think this is the fate of third world countries. They don’t look after their citizens’ civil rights. I have lost my brother, father, uncle and two cousins during this struggle for the sake of national security of my country and now I am the only taking care of their orphans.”
Finally, “I am not despondent. I am of the creed that we will have a better and bright future once we acknowledge that our national consciousness needs to be raised. We should acknowledge that we have a better social cohesion with respect of our elders in our villages and it should be a part of our system of governance. I hope the mercy and kindness of the Afghan population can address the problems humanity is facing in this modern stage.”
The Afghan Tribune | Halim Shamalzai & Rahmatullah Andar | Published: May 28, 2016, 09:56 AM