Rahman's Story (Part III)

Rahman told me he is a Hazara. That is a minority ethnic group which made up about 15% of the population in Afghanistan. That was what he thought but he was wrong. I did a search on the internet and found that his people only represented 9% of the population currently. Thousands of Hazara people had been killed over the years. [link]

According to Rahman, other than some factions of Pakistan hate the Hazaras. Worse, they are discriminated even in their own country. The majority ethnic groups Pastuns and Tajiks are not really fond of Hazaras mainly due to their ancestry and their religious beliefs - they are of a different sect of Islam. It is easy to recognise a Hazara apart from the rest because they look distinctively different. They are generally shorter, with smaller body frame. A percentage of them have smaller eyes of an East Asian. Their skin are generally fairer and the men seldom grow beards. There is also no stigma among the Hazara culture for women to work. Their difference in ancestry, culture, religious beliefs are reasons why they are discriminated in their own country, by their own countrymen. Their identifiable appearances make it easier for a witch hunt. According to the Hazara people, the rest of the country is attempting a genocide on the Hazaras and the government is turning a blind eye, if not supporting it. Farms and good land that once belonged to Hazara people were plundered, many of them were forced into slavery. Many of the free ones moved into the hills to live. Without good land for farming, life is considerably harder. By now, in Rahman's own words, "There isn't a safe corner in Afghanistan, especially for a Hazara.

Hazara children

I asked Rahman for his opinions on USA and Taliban. Not that I know much about it, I'm not well read into international affairs but I wanted to hear it from the horse's mouth, biased or not. It isn't a new thing to question the motives of US to step into Afghanistan in the name of human rights. They call these people conspiracy theorists. Rahman's take was that the NATO alliance could wipe out Taliban forces without breaking a sweat if they wanted to. In fact, they probably did in so in 2001 after which forces of the united front stayed in Afghanistan citing peace restoration as their purpose.

What Rahman and many others of his countrymen could not understand was that the Taliban forces was right there and the foreign forces were just there as well. Once in every few days, these opposites forces would fire at each other. To Rahman, it was clear that US and their allies could crush the remaining Taliban forces without batting an eyelid if they wanted to but they didn't. For more than a decade, these forces remained in Afghanistan. According to the locals, these foreign forces were draining, plundering the country's resources behind the scenes instead. Even more strangely, locals spotted these alliance forces landing on Taliban territories in helicopters and supplying them with arms often. Then it was apparent to the locals that these foreign forces are ensuring Taliban's existence so that their existence in Afghanistan can be justified.

Again, I stress that I know next to nothing about this. I was never well-read in international politics. I would, though, like to give my take on it. If you get slapped by a shrew, you don't barge into her house, return 2 slaps and stay for a decade in the house to take charge of the family for a decade. I apologise if I sounded insensitive. After all, there are many deaths involved in the Sept 11 tragedy but let's not pretend that no innocent people died as the aftermath of the Afghanistan invasion.

The motives behind NATO forces continuing to station in someone's country are only known to themselves, or rather their leaders, as most of these soldiers are probably pawns who perform to their commanders' bidding. Every one out there, be it the united forces or the Afghanis or even the Taliban forces is someone's father, mother, brother, sister, son or daughter. Every one out there is flesh and bone and born of a mother. Rahman's story left me with a heavy heart.

On Mother's Day today, I whisper a silent prayer to no one in particular for my homeland, Singapore, to remain peaceful and safe.


  1. This is one of my favorite articles that you've written so far. One of my tutorial mates mentioned earlier that she had a student whose aunt got shot in Afghanistan & the girl was freaking out in class when she found out. The post-effects of war....

  2. Heaven forbids that the human race become one common herd that think alike, dress alike, act alike, live alike as one single entity.
    The madness of mankind is to force everyone to conform, to be the same, to have the same identity as a single soulless mass people.
    Diversity, not uniformity is the purpose of creation as every human is unique in its own way.
    Its madness to kill people, to practise genocide just because the people are different.

  3. Dear asingaporeanson

    With reference to your statement. “Rahman's take was that the NATO alliance could wipe out Taliban forces without breaking a sweat if they wanted to.” I think that would is absolutely untrue. Maybe you were not informed about these international affairs, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq is by no means a simple war that can be waged and worn easily. I have being following and researching the war on both Iraq and Afghanistan since September 11 and I can tell you it is by no means a walk in a park. And this information did not come from a single person’s month. It came from the citizens, the soldiers and many others.

    Despite the technological advantage that the NATO forces possessed, troops have to deal with constant attacks from the Talibans, being sniped at, mines, lack of supplies and disease. Worse still, it is hard to separate friend and foe from the general population. The Taliban operates in the shadow behind a community who can both be siding and against the Taliban.

    In respect to the numerous NATO troops who have lost their lives or lost their limbs or even their minds in this war. I would urge you to take back that statement. Not everything is a conspiracy in this world. The war in Afghanistan is hardwork and paid for in blood and sweat. It is not a game and it kills people. It cannot be completed like a game too as the end is nowhere near to be seen. Lives from Danish, British, Canadian, American and most of all Afghans have been lost.

    Take General Petraeus, who was the head of ISAF forces in Afghanistan and also headed the Multinational force in Iraq from 2004 to 2008. He was so exhausted during his handling in Iraq that he collapsed in the middle of a Senate briefing on National TV. If you were to read more and speak more to both citizens and troops who have being in this conflict. You will know more about the ground situation before commenting openly on it.

    It is one thing to criticize local politicians and make jokes on them. For a war that has last over a decade, spending lives and limbs. I would urge you to not to take a casual attitude towards the war in Afghanistan as you had with criticizing Singaporeans.

    One might question if it is so hard work why is NATO doing this. Why don’t we just abandon the country and leave it to fester. The simple reason is this, Afghanistan is one of the major producers of poppies in the world. Hence, many of the derivatives of poppies (opium, heroin) will end up in the streets of our world and that includes Australia and Singapore. Even though it is a taboo word nowadays, Afghanistan is a breeding ground for terrorists and if we do not clear it. One day, one of those attacks will end up on our streets.

    For your info, we are currently paying the price for abandoning Somalia back in 1993. Now the waters of Somalia is infested by pirates and every merchant ship that goes through there runs a risk of being hijacked.

    1. These views held by one isn't always factually correct. I would consider your post to be your views too.

  4. they r the descendants of Alexander the Great

  5. http://christopherbalding.com/2012/04/16/the-make-believe-world-of-temasek-holdings-and-singapore-inc/


  6. You shld read 'Kite Runner' or watch the movie. It's one of the international best seller in the world. It's abt the Afghan people - the tragedy of the country. It's setting was before the US occupation. It's was occupied and raided by the Russians. The Telebans took over the country with US help cuz they were fighting the Russians.

    1. Now the Yanks turned against the Taliban. US foreign policy like roti prata. flip here and there