My Life with the Taliban

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Columbia University Press, Feb 10, 2011 - History - 360 pages
2 Reviews
My Life with the Taliban is the autobiography of Abdul Salam Zaeef, a former senior member of Afghanistan's Taliban and a principal actor in its domestic and foreign affairs. Translated for the first time from the Pashto, Zaeef's words share more than a personal history of an unusual life. They supply a counternarrative to standard accounts of Afghanistan since 1979.
Zaeef shares his experiences as a poor youth in rural Kandahar. Both his parents died when he was young, and Russia's invasion in 1979 forced Zaeef to flee to Pakistan. In 1983, Zaeef joined the jihad against the Soviets, fighting alongside several major figures of the anti-Soviet resistance, including current Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar. After the war, he returned to his quiet life in Helmand, but factional conflicts soon broke out, and Zaeef, disgusted by the ensuing lawlessness, joined with other former mujahidin to form the Taliban, which assumed power in 1994.
Zaeef recounts his time with the organization, first as a civil servant and then as a minister who negotiated with foreign oil companies and Ahmed Shah Massoud, the leader of the Afghani resistance. Zaeef served as ambassador to Pakistan at the time of 9/11, and his testimony sheds light on the "phoney war" that preceeded the U.S.-led intervention. In 2002, Zaeef was delivered to the American forces operating in Pakistan and spent four and a half years in prison, including several years in Guantanamo, before being released without trial or charge. His reflections offer a privileged look at the communities that form the bedrock of the Taliban and the forces that motivate men like Zaeef to fight. They also provide an illuminating perspective on life in Guantanamo.

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BY : FAIZAN ALI WARRAICH
REVIEW:
Afghanistan a crossroads of different conquerors, kings, insurgents has been in a proxy war since last hundred years!. After soviet invasion no one was expecting
that Russian army foots would been stopped at Kabul city and to Hot-waters of Gwadar but the world saw that when they are leaving Afghanistan there are thousands of Afghans standing on mountains with great smile of victory .
Quite interesting and fascinating book I have read about Afghan jihad perspective written by Mulla Abdul Salaam Zaeef former Ambassador of Taliban regime to Pakistan .He was simply a minister in a Taliban regime (1996-2001) than he was offered a post of Ambassador to Pakistan by Great Mullah Omer (Amir –e-Taliban).the book is Autobiography of his and reflects events of Taliban regime , 9/11 attacks and his contention in Guantanamo Jail .The poem written by Abdul Salaam in start of book reflects habit of mind while he was in Guantanamo Bay jail .No one is going to drank off this book .He was sharing his life experiences , events, incidents in a simple and normative way .He was very much possessive by his birth place city Khandar .He was like any other afghan boy who loves and gives importance to its tribe ,nation ,jihad and some other basic notions of life .
He has very much hearted about Pakistani spy Agency (ISI).The Mullah believes that everyman has to do in Pakistan as ISI ordered (distortion of quote do s Romans do).He often uses the word *coward for the ISI .he narrated the crying of General Mehmood in his home that bad time going to happened and after that he was caught and shifted to Guantanamo Jail. He was very much disappointed by his Muslim brother of Pakistani government that they betrays Afghans .He noted ISI as *cancer which was install in a body and everybody knows about it but no one know how to treat with it.
By reading this book we actually informed about the *making of Taliban. After soviet troops leave Afghanistan there is turmoil in afghan soil .Afghanistan minerals and its strategic importance is very debatable and a reason for war since last thirty years . By the time the West took full notice of the Taliban, in early 1995, Taliban had taken charge of Kandahar, fought for control of Herat and were preparing their 1996 assault on Jalalabad and Kabul. He was living a normal life in Kabul and offered a lump-sum package but he refused .My point of view ids here that why he discussed so little about Osama Bin Laden just only eight pages in his whole book .He was like ignorant about every asking of Sheikh Osama. He also discussed his experience as a young native while in dealing with Ahmed Shah Masood (Penj-shiar Valley) and the Taliban .He shares his harsh experience faced in Pakistani refugee camps.
He disgust the Pakistan *strategic depth interest towards Afghanistan. Mullah discussed how the braking of statue of Buddha in headache for Taliban regime and how he manage the Ambassadors of Japan .china and Sri Lank words of authority .there are many positive as well as negative point of autobiography that we know the depths of such incidents which we want to know but there must one-sided view point and no one is there to speak against these statements.
The current state of affairs between America and Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omer are so complicating .Every player in this game is now playing his game.Aghnaistan is like that train which is standing on platform and everyone is going to catch the train in hurry. In author point of view negotiations and withdrawal of troops is only solution to afghan war. Hope we will not see this war after 2014 at least.
 

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Notwithstanding the inherent biases of an autobiography, I think it is a good book. One reads autobiographies for insights rather than impartiality, and there are plenty of those in the book.

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About the author (2011)

Abdul Salam Zaeefwas born in southern Afghanistan in 1968 and played a role in many of his country's major events. He fought against the Soviets in the 1980s, undertook administrative positions within the Taliban in the 1990s, and became a public critic of the U.S.-backed Karzai government following his release from Guantanamo prison in 2005. He lives in Kabul.Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehnare foreign researchers and writers permanently based in Kandahar. In 2006 they founded AfghanWire.com, an organization and Web site that promotes awareness of Afghani issues and perspectives largely unrecognized by the international media.Barnett R. Rubinis director of studies and senior fellow at the Center on International Cooperation, New York University.

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