[OP-Ed Article BY THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN - NY TIMES of Dec. 16, 2009]


[Shamim A Siddiqi, New York]


I never thought that a learned scholar like Mr. Friedman will ever write such an unrealistic column about such a bleeding topic like Afghanistan. His very opening sentence, his very presumption at the very outset is not correct. He says: “Whatever threat the real Afghanistan poses to US national security, the “Virtual Afghanistan” now poses just as big a threat”


In fact, the land-locked poor Afghanistan never posed ever any threat to the US in any form. It never had land, sea or air power to reach its “sacred” land by any modern means. The tragedy of September 11, 01 is still a wide open case.  Had Mr., Freidman ever asked the ruling authorities of USA - the Congress or the Senate or the White House to have a Judicial Probe by its own Justices: WHIO DID IT AND WHY? If not, he should turn his “guns” to the vested deep rooted lobbies in the USA and asked them: “Why you did it and what for? Blaming Afghanistan, Mullah Omar or BLD is the greatest Hypocrisy of modern age.  You are putting the blame of this great tragedy at a totally wrong place and building a super structure on this false edifice. Muslims will never buy it even for a dime. In consequence, Muslims have left no trust in the USA and its prejudiced one-sided foreign policies. President Obama is further augmenting it through wrong channel. His speech of June 3, 09 at Cairo was a hollow beating around the “Bush” and hence got nothing out of it. So is the case of his speech of December 1, 09 at West Point Military Academy.


The USA could withdraw its army forthwith from Afghanistan as America has no concern to be over there except the show of arrogance of the Superpower. President Obama should have withdrawn his army right away, the peace would have definitely come in the region within a few months of his assuming power but he is escalating it perhaps beyond his life time. Mr.  Friedman has rightly enumerated the “lapses” that the previous US administrations committed in Afghanistan in building the force of Mujahedeen and used them against Russian occupation and then neglected them outright. How they can now believe the words of Uncle Sam? Now you are terming them as “AL-Qaida” and chasing them everywhere. By your own “short-sighted” policies, you have made them your own enemies. They are not “Virtual Afghanistan”. They are the Muslims of different nationality came to your help but you disowned them and at your behest by their own countries too. Now tell us where they should go – hell or heaven? You have sent them to hell. They are killing themselves and rendering hell for their adversaries. If the USA would have given them a permanent Visa to stay in the USA as they served its cause majestically in defeating Russia they would have been the most loyal citizens of  America.  You did nothing to solve this thorny question. Now you must reap the harvest of your own reluctance to accept the so-called “Jihadist” in your midst.  Please don’t cry over the spilt milk.     

The builders of US foreign policies should think what it bears for the Muslims except “mockery”; false promises, deceptions and democracy that dose not suit their ideological concept of life at all. The USA and its henchmen could not solve any of their burning problems: *You are supporting their rulers who are only usurpers and good for nothing except to serve their Masters in the West; * Palestine is bleeding at the brutal and naked obstinacy of Israel though the USA is financing and arming it to the teeth; Kashmir is burning while the USA has  promising friendly ties with India; Iraq is left as if breathing its last,  Afghanistan is at the death bed of history – no peace, no food, no water, no education, no clean air, no electricity, no employment, no future and no representative government worth its name except  corruption,  hunger, opium smugglers, exploitation by the American sustained warlords and Indian hegemony above all.  This is the “real” Afghanistan that Mr. Friedman is hiding behind his self-coined phase of “Virtual Afghanistan”. “Muslim cannot be bitten twice by the same snake.”


I have tried to show Mr. Friedman the truthful picture of the poor Afghanistan in a mirror in its briefest possible way to tell American leadership that the solution of the issue does not lie in chasing fictitious Al-Qaida of your own creation in Pakistan or by sending thousands of troops more and more to fight the freedom loving people of the land in the rugged mountains of that country or destroying the edifice of Pakistan in the quagmire of its Trio – the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats , the “sold” Junta and the bigoted media Moguls.


The West should learn to be respectful to Islam as a system of life and Muslims as the followers of the Abrahamic faith and understand “Jihad” as struggle towards the attainment of Allah’s pleasure and peaceful resistance in His way. Islam has used the word “Qital” for armed struggle. Unfortunately the Western politicians and media both are using the word “Jihad” wrongly in the context of insurgency and armed struggle very freely and frequently, confusing the concept of peaceful resistance with armed struggle thereby causing alarm to freedom fighters in every country around the world. Our friend Mr. Friedman will do justice to Muslim Ummah by keeping the two visions separate and getting the world tension reduced remarkably. “Jihadists” is thus a misnomer for freedom fighters in Afghanistan and else where in the world.


Shamim Siddiqi

December 16, 09