- Racial Equity
- Talk About Race
Prince Abdul Ali Seraj is a direct descendant of nine generations of kings of Afghanistan. He is also the president of the National Coalition for Dialogue with Tribes of Afghanistan, a grassroots trans-tribal movement that has had much success in unifying all the tribes and an organization that works toward the goal of eliminating the deprivations suffered by the Afghan peoples in the past and continuing into the present.
Part 1 of our interview we discussed the women of Afghanistan . In Part 2, we discussed the significance and relevance of the tribes. Here, in Part 3, we discuss President Karzai.
Kathleen Wells: It’s been widely reported here in the States, and probably elsewhere, that the Karzai government — President Karzai — is now affiliating himself with the Taliban. Talk to me about that.
Prince Abdul Ali Seraj: Nothing can be farther from the truth. You see, the thing is, I think everybody is … The world is making a big mistake on the word “Talib” or “Taliban.” A Talib is a religious person. Any mosque that studies the Islamic religion as a student of Islam is a Talib. So it’s not a bad word. It’s a holy word, so to speak.
And the kind of Taliban that Karzai is talking about, he’s not talking about the Chechnyans and the Saudis and the Lebanese and the Pakistanis and the Uzbeks, and so on and so forth, that come from outside of Afghanistan, whom I refer to as a black Talib. He’s not talking about those Talib. He’s talking about the dissatisfied Afghans living within the boundaries of Afghanistan, dissatisfied Afghans who are members of Afghan tribes, whether it is the Kirghiz tribe or the Durrani tribe or whether it is the Uzbek, Tajik, or Hazara or whatever — all those Afghans who have armed themselves or have picked up arms against the government and the coalition because of poverty and because of hunger and because of lawlessness, and so on and so forth. These are the kind of Afghans that Karzai is talking about bringing into the fold.
The reason … In order for the world to understand what he was talking about, we call them Talibs. But these are not Talibs. These are Afghans — citizens of Afghanistan who belong to a certain tribe. That part of them are the grey Talib, which I’ve talked about in the past. These are mercenaries who, during the time of the Taliban of eight years ago, nine years ago, were working for money with Osama Bin Laden and the others, and they are still working for money and guarding the convoys or planning certain kidnappings, and so on and so forth, and then fighting the government troops and the Coalition troops along the way. And the other Talib, which is the white Talib, which is the majority of the dissatisfied Afghans that I said, because of poverty, and so on and so forth.
Now, these are the Afghans, not Talibs. These are the Afghans that President Karzai wants to talk to, and these are the ones that President Karzai wants to appease and bring them into the fold in order to stop, reduce the fighting. Even if all of these Afghans, “Talibs,” are brought into the fold, that still is not going to end the war or the fight or the insurgency, because most of the horrendous bombings, suicide bombers, and so on and so forth — [a] majority of those are not people of Afghanistan. These are foreign elements within the Taliban, as I said — mostly the Arabs and the Chechnyans — who are performing these acts. So those are the ones that we will have to fight now and continue fighting. And the way we’re going to resolve that problem with these foreign fighters is to cut off their logistics. By logistics, I mean to cut off their routes, to cut off their way of getting food, to cut off their places of rest, to cut off their funds.
And how are we going to do this is: number one, we’ve got to involve … The most important thing is that we have to involve the people of Afghanistan to take care of their own security. We are not … We do not have enough soldiers on the ground to maintain security in every village and every district in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a mountainous region. We do not have [a] large number of population living in [a] large area, in large cities. [A] majority of the Afghans are living in little villages — ensconced in the middle of mountains, in the middle of nowhere.
Now those are the places that the Taliban seek refuge in, and then from there they go ahead and attack other places. So those are the people that we have to bring into the fold. Those are the people that we have to bring on our side, support them to protect themselves. Do not make the mistake that General McChrystal did four weeks ago,* when one district in Nurestan called Barge Matal… It’s a small district in Nurestan, way up near the Pakistan border, on the border of Pakistan and also the province of Badakhshan. When the Pakistani Taliban attacked that district, the people of Barge Matal put up resistance for six days fighting the Taliban. They were screaming for help from NATO forces, but no help came to [help] them. Eventually, they fell and the Taliban took over Barge Matal, and they went ahead and they picked up some of the tribal elders, and we don’t even know whether they are dead or alive.
I was screaming to NATO. I was screaming to the Afghan government to “go help these people!” General McChrystal appears on an international radio, and when he’s asked the question of why he did not send any help to Barge Matal, he said, “Oh, that’s a far-off district, you know, beyond us. We are concentrating more on the heavily-populated areas instead of those far-off districts.”
The mistake that he made in that one is that that far-off district … Everybody in Afghanistan knows that the Taliban had attacked that far-off district, according to General McChrystal. And everybody knows that the people in Barge Matal, they defended themselves bravely for six days in that far-off district, and no help came to them. That sets a very bad example, because tomorrow, if the Taliban want to go into a larger area — that’s a bigger district — those people would not put up a fight, will give themselves up to the Taliban, knowing that they’re not going to receive any help from the Coalition or from the government. That was a big mistake, and then there was no point for him, no reason for him, to go on the air and throw out with that ridiculous statement of saying, “Oh, that’s a far-off district. You know, we don’t worry about those far-off places.”
Every district in Afghanistan counts, because the Taliban find refuge in those far-off districts. They regroup in those far-off districts, and from there, they lead their attacks against the Coalition and the government forces.