A Study & Humanitarian Tour of Afghanistan : Quayyum Raja

By: Quayyum Raja

Afghanistan’s historical victory over the two most powerful countries in the world is a matter of huge interest for historians, readers, writers, researchers, thinkers and of course, freedom fighters and conventional armies. I don’t say where I fit in but I admire the determined and patient men, women, children and old and ill Afghans whose sufferings make one feel sad.

I was well aware of Afghans sufferings but I was not aware of their political, diplomatic and negotiating skills until the Taliban leaders reappeared victorious in Kabul after 20 years. Like many people around the world, I thought that Afghans would have to struggle for “Adab-e-Hokamrani”, ie, administrative skills or ability to rule. However, people were impressed by the way the spokesman of the Taliban Zabiullah Mujahid addressed the very first Press Conference in Kabul. He declared amnesty and insured safety and security to everyone. He was calm, composed, humble and thankful to Allah. Not arrogant and boastful at all.

The conduct of Mollah Brather, Amir Khan Muttaqi and Mollah Haqani was also impressive. These skills coupled with the sufferings and sacrificed of the people of Afghanistan instigated me to visit the New Afghanistan. I expressed my wish with a fellow Kashmiri Muhammad Saghir Qamar, the chairman of Rahma Islamic Relief Fund. He was equally enthusiastic but he didn’t want to go empty handed. As a chairman of the NGO, Saghir Qamar arranged food packages for 450 Afghan families. He was accompanied by the founder of Rahma Maneer Malik and young charitable friend Suleiman Razaq. Both of them traveled all the way from Norway to Islamabad to join us to Kabul.

We had no idea what exactly Kabul would look like due to forty years long war. We thought the Kabul immigration must be very guarded, but when we landed at Kabul airport, we found them very welcoming. Asadullah Khan of Helping Hand escorted us from Air Port to a hotel. We used to hear of lack of law and order, restrictions on women movement and oppression committed by the Taliban regime in general but it all turned out to be a planned negative propaganda designed to scare the world to isolate Afghanistan. There are no restrictions on girls schooling. We visited a girls school in Jalalabad .

The only problem is that higher education staff is not fully available yet, but things are improving slowly but steady. We found Kabul relaxed, calm and peaceful. It was incorrect that there were check posts everywhere in the city. The normality of the situation can be gauged by the fact that when we went to the Foreign Office, the security didn’t raise their eye brows. They welcomed and asked us politely the purpose of the visit. The next morning, we went to a neighboring province Wirdag, where Rahma distributed a food package. We were welcomed there by the head of Rehabilitation Unit by the name of Qari Abdul Mateen. Wirdag is a very poor town. Fierce resistance took place there. There were only mud houses. No sanitation, no modern schools and health centre due to incessant invasions.

We left Kabul for Jalalabad on Saturday 27 of November transported again by Ubaidullah Faisal and his brother Asadullah belonging to Helping Hand founded by the American Muslims. We saw amazing sky high mountains, hurticultures and dams. Roads were well built and markets were orderly and clean. Hygenic conditions were impressive. We had two main activities in Jalalabad. First, the distribution of food packages supervised by Saghir Qamar and Maneer Malik, while young Suleiman Razaq made representation on behalf of Rahma Islamic Relief Fund. I had an appointment with the spokesman of the Provincial Governor, Noor Muhammad Hanif. He is a young polished and humble man, who spoke elegantly and cordially. We were received by his office with protocol.

When I asked him that Taliban’s military skills were conceivable but where to my amazement, did they learn political and diplomatic skills since they spent a long time in mountains. The soft- spoken Noor Muhammad Hanif smiled and said, they had a Shadow Government in place which replaced the American backed government. This made sense. This is called one’s readiness for freedom and subsequently ability to rule. The Taliban are indeed ruling efficiently. The people are, however, suffering due to a lack of import and export but the Taliban government is still admired for controlling inflation. Goods are incredibly cheaper in Afghanistan than Pakistan.

Iran and Pakistan are morally helping Afghanistan from day one. The rest of the world should follow suit for the sake of humanity and peace with justice. Orphans and widows are the worst sufferers whose conditions should take precedence over politics. We can only hope that wisdom will prevail and conscience preserved and upheld.