"They went to Afghanistan to fight Americans, and they ended up fighting their fellow Muslims"
December 3, 2001 7:22 AM   Subscribe

"They went to Afghanistan to fight Americans, and they ended up fighting their fellow Muslims" A backlash is rising against religious leaders in Pakistan who sent youths to their deaths with the fervor of jihad. As the Afghan Taliban supporters defect to the victorious rebels, Pakistani and other foreign Taliban fighters are left to die in the trenches in a war that is not theirs against an enemy different from the one they hate.
posted by mischief (13 comments total)
Ummmm......war is hell? I say they need to get over it.

You VOLUNTEER for duty, knowing full well you could get killed. If they followed a faith that one day called on them to die, and they willingly accepted that, well, what's the big deal? It's a shame that family members are so sad...but they were prolly patting poor Mohammed on the back when he went off to kill Americans. But he's missing, so I guess it's time to mourn.
posted by taumeson at 7:30 AM on December 3, 2001

I doubt these guys volunteered to join the Taliban. Maybe in some cases, but most of the time it was because saying they wouldn't join with them mighta meant death at the time. First chance they got they jumped ship. It's not conviction of beliefs - but survival and circumstance.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:45 AM on December 3, 2001

I'm under the impression (based purely on reading the post) that the article talks about those that went from Pakistan to Afganistan strictly with the intent to fight. These aren't people that were forced to join the Taliban.
posted by howa2396 at 7:52 AM on December 3, 2001

Oh. Well if these guys are so keen to jump sides quickly, I still think that somehow it's a matter of them reacting to other people's convictions and not their own. I'm reminded of the Gulf War when so many who were supposedly fighting for Saddam just dropped their weapons and surrendered at the first sign of the American army.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:01 AM on December 3, 2001

I think it's less about them having switched sides as about how the Pakistanis and other foreigners who went to fight for the Talibans are being ditched and left to fend for themselves as the Taliban pulls out. These foreigners are left fighting other Muslims in that they have to fight the Northern Alliance.
posted by taumeson at 8:07 AM on December 3, 2001

Zach, these aren't the ones to jump sides quickly. The foreign contingent of the Taliban - Pakistani or Arab - are the ones with the hardcore convictions. Much of the Afghan Taliban are just opportunists - they're in it because seemed like the smartest thing at the time. But the foreigners left their own country to fight for a cause, often spurred on by religious leaders at home.
posted by dlewis at 8:11 AM on December 3, 2001

"The romanticization of jihad was the gift of small minds to Pakistan" newspaper columnist Muhammad Ali Siddiqi said

So all is forgiven wrt to the US? They have shifted their resentment from the US to Muslim leaders? Besides the fact that this story sounds made up -- definitely highly anecdotal -- the fact is these kids jumped into this thing without thinking a whole lot about anything -- how could you think they will get it right now? This is bogus "news."
posted by victors at 8:22 AM on December 3, 2001

victors, it was always the case that Pakistan, a nation of 140 million people, contained a multitude of opinions. You're using a bogus "they". It's likely that some radicals will never lose their hatred of the US, but this massive defeat will probably mean that very much fewer young men will believe what they're told the next time a mullah calls jihad, and (more hopefully) that fewer families will be sending their children to these mullahs for indoctrination. It may be anecdotal, but what isn't anecdotal is that the demonstrations of a few weeks ago (which themselves were carefully orchestrated) just aren't happening anymore.
posted by dhartung at 8:35 AM on December 3, 2001

Still, Mohammed said, no one despaired. "We left Pakistan to sacrifice our life. Our aim was that. So whatever happened was up to God. We never expected that we would come back alive to our homes."

I hope we helped them reach their goal in life.

Now that he's home, Mohammed doesn't rule out going back. Indeed, despite their disillusionment, most of these jihadis say they expect the Taliban to regroup in the mountains and fight a guerrilla war for years to come.

So maybe this time they can have some "fun"."

Our strategy is to wait until the Northern Alliance sets up a government in Kabul, backed by the U.S. and other Western countries," he said with a smile. "Then we will start our activities."

Sounds like a good strategy - for failure.
posted by chainring at 8:40 AM on December 3, 2001

By "they" I meant exactly the subjects of this article -- you extrapolated it to the whole of Pakistan. You get five feeble-minded under-classed under-nourished kids in a mud hut on any given Sunday afternoon and you can pretty much walk out with whatever "story" you want. I still claim this is lousy journalism. Pulp Filler.
posted by victors at 8:42 AM on December 3, 2001

victors: Yes, god forbid a reporter should actually go to Pakistan and find jihadi to interview, then tell us what they said. Never again should such things be allowed to be called "journalism"! Better we should remain with our preconceived notions of what they think (not to mention whether they are intelligent, what their background is, or what their houses are made of). Interviews, schminterviews! Let's just go with the "they all hate us anyway" meme, it's easier.

Why don't you ask Kim Murphy, LA Times staff writer, if she made up the story? Is that the best you can do: "It doesn't fit my views, therefore it must be made up, even if it appears in one of the top newspapers in the country"? Good grief.
posted by dhartung at 11:03 AM on December 3, 2001

wow. could you assume a little more about what I'm thinking?

meanwhile your opinions make you sound somewhat naive (e.g. assuming the LA Times has some kind of integrety high ground)

Is that the best you can do

uh, yea; what's your excuse? ;-)
posted by victors at 11:33 AM on December 3, 2001

oh shit

i think i know that kid, he was a grade ahead of me at my high school (redwood). wheres my yearbook when i really need it.....
posted by atom128 at 6:21 PM on December 3, 2001

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