Chapter 4. Journey through turbulent history.
Disclaimer: Disclaimer: Since this is primarily a fictional story, please do not take everything I write too seriously.
…. So, here were my parents in Kabul, far away from their original home, struggling to live since everything was very expensive. Meanwhile, a storm brewed on the horizon as war erupted among different groups.
“Tell me more about Kabul and Afghanistan from your point of view,” Elara asked. “Of course, I will,” I answered.
I leaned in and said: ‘’In the 1980s, Kabul stood as a breathtaking city, serving as a hub of business, artistic wealth, and a haven for many modern, liberal individuals. As the capital city of Afghanistan, it was surrounded by beautiful mountains and experienced stunning sunrises in the evenings. Kabul had a cosmopolitan vibe, with numerous international companies like Siemens, Vogue, and Toyota establishing their presence in the early 1970s. Thousands of tourists, especially from Germany and The Netherlands, came daily to witness the beauty that the country offered. The streets were lined with numerous restaurants, creating a vibrant culinary scene in the midst of the city’s grounded and narrow streets.
Afghanistan, often called the “Heart of Asia,” was a country rich in history and diverse landscapes. Bordered by Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and China, it has served as a crossroads of cultures for centuries.
The country boasts stunning mountain ranges, including the Hindu Kush, and holds valuable resources. There were many rumors that Afghanistan could become one of the richest countries in the world, given its more than one trillion dollars’ worth of mineral resources, not to mention the gold, very exclusive stones, and diamonds, numbering in the thousands and thousands of pieces, scattered across the mountains and rivers. Additionally, Afghanistan served as a crucial link in the Silicon Road from China to the Western world, fueling speculations about its potential to become the world’s largest economy. Moreover, Afghanistan boasted an estimated 400 million tons of coal, one of the world’s largest copper deposits, and millions worth of lead and zinc metals used for batteries, alloys, and corrosion protection. And it doesn’t stop there; it also has abundant resources like talc, a mineral used for cosmetics, paper, and ceramics. Afghanistan has been recognized as having the highest amount of talc in the world. And there are many other minerals worth millions, waiting to be utilized. It has been said that Afghanistan boasts more than 360 different varieties of grapes alone, along with the world’s best saffron, often referred to as the “Golden Spice.” Thousands of different fruits and vegetables flourish across Afghanistan’s varied landscapes. From the fertile valleys to the high mountainous regions, the country’s unique climate and geography contribute to a rich assortment of agricultural offerings. This abundance encompasses a plethora of fruits such as pomegranates, apricots, melons, and grapes, alongside an array of vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and spinach. This abundance provided opportunities for numerous companies and populations worldwide to harvest a variety of diverse and flavorful foods.
Before the war, Afghanistan’s communities thrived in peace, fostering a unique sense of trust. Residents were discouraged from closing their homes, a practice seen as disrespectful to neighbors and indicative of trust issues. This cultural norm reflected a deep-rooted belief in communal harmony, where open homes symbolized shared security and solidarity among neighbors. Community bonds were robust, with everyone willingly extending help to one another without expecting monetary compensation or anything in return. It was said that openness and hospitality were the defining features of many Afghan communities.
Unfortunately, for all those optimistic forecasts for Afghanistan to become the richest country in the world, even if they were true, turned into an illusion when Afghanistan became the primary target for political purposes. Multiple countries, groups, and even political parties attempted to capitalize on the country’s wealth, leading to a series of events that shattered these lofty predictions.
This is where various countries outside Afghanistan also began to intervene, supporting different internal groups fighting for power. The geopolitical landscape became a battleground for external powers, each with its own interests and alliances. As a result of these interventions, the people became divided into multiple groups, each with its own set of different beliefs and commitments. Psychological manipulation, coupled with the strategic use of even religion, emerged as tools to influence the sentiments of the people, further intensifying internal divisions. Unfortunately, a lot of people didn’t realize they were being used as objects for political agendas. Even today, looking back, many remain unaware or in denial about the events that transpired.
Afghanistan, therefore, witnessed several civil wars, each characterized by its own specifics and particular circumstances. The poor people of Afghanistan were severely affected as different groups grappled with the consequences of external interferences, internal power conflicts, and manipulations of identity and belief.
All civil battles and internal group conflicts within various political parties eventually escalated into a larger conflict, primarily represented by the two well-known groups we have all read about: the Taliban and the “communist government.”
In a quick summary, one side, Taliban received support indirectly from the USA and its allies, while the opposing faction was backed by Russia.
The Taliban, a radical Islamist movement, originated from religious schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Initially, the majority of its members were originally children who had lost their parents during the civil war, and these children underwent training in camps located mostly in Pakistan.
Similar tactics were employed by other parties as well; for instance, Soviet forces abducted an estimated 50,000 Afghan children from villages, orphanages, and city streets in early 1980’s. The aim was to indoctrinate them in Communist ideology and utilize them to form militias, eventually leading to the establishment of the communist government. This government was labeled as ‘communist’ due to its support from Russia’’.
“Let’s explore into this matter with a bit more detail,” I suggested.
“I mention the USA as an indirect player for several reasons. Bin Laden, born in Saudi Arabia in 1957, was the head of the Taliban, as we all heard. He hailed from a wealthy family, with his father being a construction tycoon with close ties to the Saudi royal family. There have been many claims that he and his allies collaborated with the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the main conduit for CIA aid to the Mujahideen. The mujahideen were Islamic guerrilla fighters who resisted the Soviet-backed ‘communist government.’ Bin Laden himself asserted ones that he received training and weapons from the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, but he later denied any contact with the CIA. And let’s not forget, its widely acknowledged that in the 1980s, the U.S. supported the mujahideen, and some of these fighters went on to join and form the Taliban in the 1990s. Let’s also not forget that Bin Laden had numerous connections with Al Qaeda; most of its members were composed of Arabs who received support from various alliances, mainly outside of Saudi Arabia. While the veracity of claims linking Bin Laden to the USA remains also unclear ofcourse to me, it is a known fact that the Taliban received support and training programs in Pakistan. This support was facilitated by the government of Pakistan, which, in turn, had received years of assistance from the USA to eventually combat Russia.
It’s also essential to note that searching on platforms like Google or Bing nowadays for insights into how the Taliban and other radical groups became powerful often yields unclear and result to some unclear non-biased results, thanks to artificial intelligence and selective algorithms. If you ask artificial intelligence programs where all the wealth and money of the Taliban comes from, it will provide an unclear answer’’.
“Therefore, if you genuinely seek to comprehend historical events in the world or within a specific country, it is advisable not to depend solely on internet sources and AI-generated results,” I said. “Instead, consider delving into old libraries, engaging with original books, written by diverse researchers, asking various experts with different political backgrounds for information, and subsequently forming a well-informed opinion based on a broader range of perspectives and information,” I added.
“Wait a minute,” Elara interrupted me with a curious gleam in her eyes. “So, you mentioned the wealth of Afghanistan. Are all those trillions worth of minerals, gold, diamonds, and expensive stones still in Afghanistan?
“Yes, primarily, they are still buried in Afghanistan,” I responded. “With almost 60 years of war among different groups, almost no company could enter and extract those minerals from the country. Safety is paramount in business and international cooperation, and ongoing conflicts pose a significant challenge.”
“True,” said Elara, nodding. “True. Sorry for the interruption; please continue with your story.”
“It’s okay,” I said. “Later on, I will provide more details about this topic’’.
‘’But firstly, let’s look into my childhood and share more information about me”, I said. ”Where was I? Oh yeah, now I remember. I was still very young, turned 3 years old when the government announced that every male above 18 in Afghanistan had to join the military due to the ongoing war. Failure to comply meant facing imprisonment or even death.
The political climate became very turbulent, and many teachers and professors from universities around the country were murdered for publicly opposing the wars and showing resilience in the face of oppressive regimes.
My father, a well-respected professor and renowned writer, found himself compelled to leave Afghanistan amidst these tumultuous times. After nearly all of his colleagues and dear friends were picked up with trucks and killed in internal strife, he refused to join any military group or bow to political agendas. Apart from that, there were also rumors that my father was in serious danger because he was one of the principal speakers at that turbulent time, promoting revolution and peace. Faced with these circumstances, my father had no other option but to leave the country temporarily until it would return to normalcy. The once-bright and intellectually engaging academic atmosphere at universities was now overshadowed by oppression and violence.
My mother and my two young brothers returned to Herat to live with my family members. In my case, my father made the difficult decision that I could travel with my uncle, Sulaiman. Sulaiman, a successful entrepreneur, recognized the increasingly challenging circumstances for girls’ education in Afghanistan. With schools closing, educational opportunities diminishing, and the uncertain future that awaited girls in the country, leaving became a compelling option.
Sulaiman, a man of considerable means, became my second guardian, providing me with an opportunity for a different life. As the war unfolded and the socio-political landscape in Afghanistan continued to deteriorate, the decision to leave, especially for a baby girl like me, carried a weight of necessity and hope for a better future. It was a difficult departure, leaving behind not just a home but a country engulfed in turmoil and uncertainty.
Sulaiman’s life’s course is intertwined with my father’s, growing up in the same home after my grandma adopted him when he lost his family. When Sulaiman turned eighteen, he made a life-changing decision to apply for a Russian scholarship, subsequently boarding a plane to Russia to study there. This choice allowed him to meet and interact with highly successful businesspeople, ultimately paving the way for an impressive career path at a remarkably young age.
As Sulaiman ventured into the world, he not only built an extensive network but also established colossal businesses, laying the foundation for numerous offices worldwide. His entrepreneurial spirit and global reach reflected a commitment to success and a testament to the opportunities that arose from his earlier decisions. This phase of Sulaiman’s life set the stage for the incredible experiences and ventures that lay ahead, shaping not only his destiny but also the course of my own journey with him. Taking me under his wing meant that I would accompany Sulaiman on his travels to various places across the globe. His wife, Elena, a 22-year-old woman unable to conceive, shared in Sulaiman’s desire to provide me with a better future. Their decision to temporally adopt me was not only rooted in their inability to have biological children, but also in the deep bond shared between Sulaiman and my father, who loved each other more than brothers.
This life-changing decision marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life, filled with experiences and opportunities that surpassed borders. The global landscape became my classroom, and Sulaiman and Elena, in their roles as guardians, became the architects of a future that promised stability and prosperity. The journey ahead was uncertain, but the love and support I received from my adoptive family became the foundation upon which I would build my life”.