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“The M4 is my favorite”: Uqab Afghan Alhanafi
Bild: Twitter

How We Beat America

When I witnessed the last Americans disappear in the sky over Afghanistan, it was the most joyous moment in my life. They were fighting for their salaries, but we were fighting for our values and our country. Now, we the Taliban will build peace and stability for Afghanistan.

My name is Uqab Afghan, “The Afghan Eagle”. I am 28. I am just an ordinary Talib. I am a fighter, and I am a writer and social media activist. 

My day starts at 5.30 a.m. I recite the holy Koran. Then, I move on to my military responsibilities. Currently, I am stationed at the Kabul Airport where I am part of the security team. We control Taliban weapon depots. 

I have several duties. On Sunday, for example, we went to see an Afghan politician, Dr. Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, former ambassador to Pakistan and finance minister. We had lunch together. In the evening, there was an Afghan doctor with an Italian passport. He was begging us to take him to the airport. I took him to the airfield so that he could fly out of Afghanistan. 

Monday night, I witnessed the last American plane with the last U.S. soldiers taxi on the runway. Watching them disappear in the sky over Afghanistan was most historic and joyous moment of my life. This long chapter of occupation is now closed; the ugly shadow has vanished from our country. 

The prayers on the streets of Kabul were enormously emotional. So many tears were flowing. The sounds of takbirs [“Allahu akbar”], the expression of joy and thankfulness, and the waves of prostration to Allah made the golden Kabul even more fragrant. 

For the world, it obviously was a big surprise how a small group of Mujaheddin with very limited resources and old and very unconventional weapons defeated a superpower. But for me, personally, it was not a big surprise. Based on our experience from the past two decades, we were expecting that one day the Taliban will take over the power. 

In 2001, when the old Taliban regime collapsed, I was merely eight years old. I did not understand the concept of a regime collapsing, but I could feel the grief and mourning amongst my family. 

I was born in Kohi Safi district of Parwan province, a two-hour-drive in the car east from Kabul. My father was a Taliban military commander near the Bagram Air Base. A lot of the Taliban that were running away from the American B-52 bombing and their Afghan allies' attacks had left their guns behind with my father. My father was working day and night to hide the weapons. For us, we used to touch the guns, not understanding their meaning and what they were for. 

Since my father was a commander, after the Taliban collapse, he went in hiding. He used to go to the mountains nearby and hide in a cave. The place he used to hide was called the “Sakkar” hideout. It was his hideout from the Russian jihad era. 

My mother used to give me food and tea to take to my father. After a couple of years, he came back. The day he returned, we noticed an American airplane was hovering over our home. My father used to stay at home during the daytime, and I could see my father sleeping next to me at bedtime. When I woke up during the night, he wouldn't be there. 

Only at a later age did I start to understand the context of our situation. When I was around sixteen, I tried whatever I could do against the invasion by becoming a member of the Taliban media. It was hard to survive and use my real identity. I had to use fake accounts and fake names to further our agenda on social media. Many of my friends were arrested and taken away for their pro-Talib stance. 

I came in contact with the Taliban for the second time when I was seventeen years old. I joined their forces. What fascinates me about the Taliban is the unity, the commitment, the enthusiasm, and the confidence in them to defeat the occupiers. It is incomparable in terms of logistics. There is no ranking. One day I am a soldier, one day I'm an officer, one day I'm a journalist. We are all volunteers. 

We are all inspired by the greatest leader of all time, Mullah Muhammad Omar, the one-eyed founder of the Taliban. Hardly anyone ever saw him. He was agile and clever to escape foreign forces. Every Taliban leader admired him. 

We do not get paid. Many times, I have paid for expenses, myself, with no greater help. We never had regular food. The food came from the people in small villages: they were providing us whatever they had. People were fighting with empty stomachs, but our commitment and values gave us strength. 

Our ritual is to say Quranic verses before we fight. Of course, the most important weapon for the Taliban was a suicide bomber. We were also making explosive devices with simple parts. 

We captured a lot of American weapons. The M4 is my favorite. As the fighting was on the ground, the AK-47 or M4 was the common weapon. But we also widely use our mobile phones as social media is where the real fight is. We capture an area, we upload pictures of the scene on social media, and the opponents quickly lose morale over how much land we are capturing. 

Biden is now criticized in the West, but I would say Biden and Trump were smart. Of course, they are cowards, but they saw that they couldn’t win the war and successfully decided to leave. Bush and Obama just involved American troops in a pointless war. They tried to install their regime, but they couldn’t continue. 

The American fighter spirit cannot be compared with ours. They were fighting for their salaries, but we were fighting for our values. This is very important for a soldier — that he knows why he is fighting. They were the best equipped, best paid, best organized world power. We are the poorest force in the world. But since we were fighting for our country, we were on the right side, and they were on the wrong side. They brought them here, for whatever reason, to fight a wrong war. They were occupiers. That’s why they were defeated.

Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the international media have portrayed the Taliban as a wild and brutal force, as a group who eats the people alive. We went to the Afghan people and explained that we are not what they say about us. 

Our current leader is Haibatullah Akhunzada. Our leadership is very modest and simple. They are dedicated to their duty. We declared an amnesty that includes everyone. Ismail Khan, a warlord known as the “Lion of Herat,” we captured him, and we forgave him. Hamid Karzai, the former president who was the biggest puppet of the Americans, he is forgiven. General Dostum, a former warlord, was captured. He had killed our people collectively in Northern Afghanistan. He let them suffocate in sealed containers. We forgive him. Even if we know that someone has killed my brother or my family member, we will not take revenge — he is forgiven.

If those Afghans who have left now want to come back to Afghanistan with a passport, they are most welcome. We have no problems with the journalists, the aid workers. Anyone who is not military can come back anytime for investments. If they want to work with Afghanistan and for our people, they are most welcome. 

But to those who just want to leave because of economic reasons, I say to them: this must be stopped. If we allow everybody to run away, then everybody will go America or to Europe. 

The West seems to be worried about Afghan girls. They wonder if they still be allowed to go to school. Let me explain this issue with an example. In Herat city, there was a girl who was going to school after the Taliban takeover. The schools are open. The girls go to school. She was trying to kiss the gun of a Talib. The scene was filmed and later shared on social media, the clip appears to have been deleted. The Talib asked her, “Why do you want to kiss my gun?” She said, “Because of your guns, there is security. Before, when I went to school, a lot of boys were interrupting me. They were harassing me.” So, I would say the Taliban are giving the best security you want in the world. If the world is not endorsing this, this is dishonesty. 

It is said, that women are banned from work under our leadership. This is another propaganda lie of the international media. The women are going back to work. But, of course, because of the cultural requirements and Islamic value requirements, it will not be like as before. It will be in more restricted areas, in areas where there is not much or unnecessary interaction with male colleagues. Such areas are female sections of the hospitals, in labor rooms, in women universities, schools, but not as receptionists of the hotel offices or traffic police. 

Freedom of opinion and media is important for us. It is very much founded in the Islamic philosophy. The second Muslim Caliph Umar (from 634 A.D. who transformed the Islamic state from an Arabian principality into a world power) was asking the best people to express criticism of his regime and his failures. In Afghanistan, freedom of press in the past two decades meant to criticize Taliban for its Islamic values. 

Personally, I wouldn’t mind if somebody criticizes the Taliban constructively for the sake of improvement. We would welcome this. But if they criticize Taliban for its Islamic values, because of their religious rituals and their beards, that is not to be tolerated anywhere. Criticism is one thing. Propaganda is something else. We should be careful not to mix the two. 

I believe the Muslim world is totally supporting us, but I fear their dictator regimes prohibit them from openly supporting us. Everyone hates America. Anyone who has mutual respect for us is our friend.

We witnessed ISIS K attacking the Kabul airport and killing more than hundred people. We condemn this. Daesh is our biggest enemy. We fought them in the past two years with all our force in northern Afghanistan, in Jalalabad and Kunar. We killed a lot of them. As for Al-Qaida, at the moment, there is no Al-Qaida. They are not using our territory anymore. If they decide to use our territory, we will decide what action we take. 

We fundamentally condemn drones strikes like the ones the U.S. flew against ISIS K, a few days ago. This is our country. We don’t want anyone to use it with drones or whatever. It is not the right of Americans to fight for us. This is our responsibility. If we accept support from America, there will be reason for anyone to jump into Afghanistan. 

Our big wish and desire is to secure the people of our country. We want self-determination for Afghanistan. And we demand mutual bilateral respect. I don’t want to see the American airplanes flying over our country ever again. America doesn’t allow anyone to interfere on their soil or capture their citizens. We have the same rights not to allow anyone to occupy our country. We don’t want anyone to dictate our holy country. 

I am married with two daughters and one son. I want them to grow up in safety. We don’t mind having a low profile, a low economy. But we want to live in peace. 

 

 

Die Weltwoche interviewed Uqab Afghan Alhanafi @oqab_afghan via WhatsApp video several times between August 29th and 31st. Sami Yousafzai @Samiyousafzai and Urs Gehriger @urs_gehriger recorded and compilated his testimony.

Uqab Afghani currently lives in the house of Ahmad Zia Massoud, the brother of the legendary  Ahmad Shah Massoud, known as the “Lion of Panjshir” and staunch enemy of the Taliban who was assassinated two days before 9/11. 

Uqab Afghan Alhanafi is a nom de guerre. His real name is: Mullah Muhamad Rasol.