September 17, 2001
President George W. Bush
The White House
Dear Mr. President:
On behalf of the Afghan American community, we extend our deepest condolences for the terrible tragedy that was inflicted on our fellow Americans. We, who have lost multitudes of our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, through the aggression of the Soviet Union and most recently, through the atrocities of the Taliban and their murderous co-conspirators in the form of Osama bin Ladin and other vicious terrorists, feel the pain of every American family. May Allah destroy those whose hands are covered with the blood of the innocent. Islam does not condone such horrific acts and condemns those who commit them
Over the past twenty-two years the Afghan population has suffered insurmountable destruction of life, liberty, history culture and country. And over the same time period some of my fellow Afghans and I have been actively involved seeking help from all quarters, for the beleaguered people of our motherland.
Under the Soviet occupation, we lost over 3 million of our citizens. After the defeat of the Soviet Union on our soil, the World left Afghanistan without so much as a “thank you” for the sacrifice that our people made for the freedom that the world enjoys today without the “Evil Empire.
Since the occupation of Afghanistan by the Taliban and the bin Ladin Hordes, we have lost countless others through genocide, starvation and ethnic cleansing.
The blame goes all around. The Russians for invading a peaceful nation, for no apparent reason. The Pakistanis, for creating and supporting the Taliban. The ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) of the Pakistan Military for the support and protection of the Taliban regime and the Osama Bin Ladin terrorists. Prince Turki, the Saudi Intelligence Head, a cousin of King Abdullah, for financing the Taliban and Osama bin Ladin. The Free World, for standing on the sidelines and allowing all these atrocities to take place without protest.
Needless to say that since the occupation of Afghanistan by the Taliban and the murderous hordes of Osama bin Ladin, both Afghanistan and the world has been put in a very perilous position. The biggest disaster and most heart-breaking being the recent murder of over 5000 innocent people at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
In Afghanistan, they have paralyzed the populace by locking away the female gender behind closed doors without any opportunity for education, work or medical treatment. They have isolated the country by cutting the population from all sorts of public information such as radio, television, news paper, computers and so forth. They have branded the country with their own system of Islam, which is alien to the rest of the Islamic world.
Osama bin Ladin, in my opinion is equal to some form of a misguided cult leader like Jim Jones of Guyana, or the Waco cult group or the Japanese cult that attempted to poison the subway stations in Tokyo. By creating his own form of a fanatical religion, he is attempting to cut across cultures and countries, in order to recruit his equally misguided followers from different poor countries.
In a short period of time, the Taliban and the bin Ladin hordes, have destroyed Afghanistan’s historical heritage and culture. They have massacred hundreds of thousands of Afghans under their ethnic cleansing policies. They have exported their system of terror to other Nations, like Kashmir, Chechneya, Uzbakistan, and now the USA. Together with bin Ladin’s financial backing, they have built heroin refineries inside Afghanistan, producing about 75% of the world’s heroin. The list of their atrocities is long and I hope, common knowledge, within the civilized world.
Mr. President, over the last 4 years, my countrymen and I met on various occasions with members of the State Department to warn them about the dangers that the Taliban and their “Guests” presented to the world, but to no avail. These meetings took place with different members of Congress, Robin Raphael, the former under Secretary of State for South Asia; Karl Inderfurth, the next under Secretary of State among others. We left each meeting with utter frustration and concern. No one would listen to our warnings.
We sent letters to the media and President Clinton. Still no response.
Now we are at the doorstep of a new era. An even more dangerous era, one which would destroy multitudes of innocent lives, unless we take proper steps to stop it.
Osama bin Ladin, is but one head of a multi headed dragon. To kill the dragon we must cut off all the heads and the limbs as well.
To succeed in this endeavor, we must force the evil out of its hiding place. This cannot be done with bombs, especially in a mountainous country like Afghanistan. They have holes to crawl into. But the poor people, who stand in long UN sponsored bread lines, do not. If Afghanistan were to be bombed indiscriminately, the innocent will pay a heavy sacrifice for the wrongs of these butchers.
To destroy the wasps, one must destroy the hive. In Osama bin Ladin’s case, the hive is the Taliban and the ISI of the Pakistani military. Therefore, in order to get to bin Ladin and his cohorts, we must destroy the Taliban’s hold on Afghanistan and the Afghan people and to warn the Pakistan Government that any assistance to bin Ladin by the ISI or any other Pakistani group would be considered as an act of war against the USA. We
have been informed that most of the younger officers of the ISI are pro bin Ladin. I would not be surprised if bin Ladin was not already whisked out of Afgjhanistan to a safe haven in Pakistan. The boarder between Pakistan and Afgjhanistan is very porous and not easy to control.
If this is the case, then it is even more crucial that the Taliban’s base in Afgjhanistan be neutralized before bin Ladin or other terrorists could return to the source once more.
We strongly believe that if the United States and the Alliance that is being formulated against bin Ladin takes the following steps then we can be assured of success in the venture to rid the world of the likes of this criminal and others like him.
1) Immediately make contact with the forces of Northern Alliance and ask for their assistance in supplying the ground troops. Even though Masood has been assassinated, his legacy will continue the fight given the right backing. The alliance has about 15000 fighters with an additional 15000 available. They have already agreed to support the US plan and they have deep knowledge of the terrain and the culture of the country. Their many years fighting experience will be very crucial in the battle for Afghanistan and the world.
2) Make sure that their forces are well supplied with every type of modern arms and ammunition with a readily available supply line to the front lines.
3) Pakistan must close all boarders to Afghanistan and stop any shipment of fuel and
ammunitions to the Taliban. Any Pakistani group breaking this embargo must be punished severely.
4) Pakistan must recall all the Pakistani religious students, civilians and military personnel fighting in Afghanistan alongside the Taliban, to immediately return to Pakistan. Any Pakistan national arrested in Afghanistan thereafter must be treated as an enemy of the world.
5) The former King of Afghanistan must be asked to come out of retirement and once and for all call upon his countrymen, across all ethnicity, to stand shoulder to shoulder with the world and help free the nation from the jaws of evil. He is still well respected and we feel that the citizenry will respond positively to his call. If he refuses, then he should be bypassed immediately for a younger leader or leaders acceptable to all Afghans and not just one segment of the population. Unless an acceptable multi ethnic Leadership group acceptable to all could be established, or the Loya Jirga (grand council), could be convened to pick a leader, a viable candidate could be the son of King Amanullah (1919-1929), Crown Prince Ehsanullah, who resides in Geneva. If he does not accept, then another member of the same family could be selected. The reason for this is that the King and the Amanullah family/King Habibullah family cut across all ethnic groups. The people know and trust them.
The success of this operation, guaranteeing a peaceful Afghanistan will depend on such a policy. Throughout its rich and ancient history, Afghans have always rallied around a strong leader. Never around a policy. This is the reason that the Pakistanis created Mullah Omar, the so-called “supreme leader of the Taliban. Incidentally there is a very close family tie by marriage between Mullah Omar and bin Ladin.
In addition, bin Ladin has built the mansion for Mullah Omar with his own money.
6) Once the Northern Alliance ground troops are activated, then the US and its Allies must give total air support to the Alliance for the duration of the battle. This is where the air strikes are important. The way must be cleared for the advance of the ground troops, especially if in the beginning no more than the 30,000 troops can be mustered. Care must be taken for the stinger missiles that still may be in the hands of the Taliban.
7) Once the Taliban government is toppled, then, the King, or the former President Rabani or any such other person as acceptable to the populace, can be put in charge of a new government.
8) The US and its Allies must immediately, through the UN, assign a security force made up from countries that have not been involved in the Afghanistan turmoil. These troops could come from Turkey, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and other such countries.
9) USA must establish a no fly zone over Afghanistan and until such time, the new nation can-re-establish its own military sector must provide it with the necessary ground and air security.
10) Immediately, steps must be taken to provide Afghanistan with funds for the redevelopment and re-building of it’s infra structure.
11) Steps must be taken for the repatriation of the millions of refugees residing in Pakistan and Iran.
12) Immediate steps must be taken to clear all the landmines left behind by the Soviets.
13) Care must be taken that even if the Taliban hand over bin Ladin, the Taliban government must be neutralized in order to prevent other terrorists waiting in the wings to take over bin Ladin’s place.
This, Mr. President, is but a simple summary of what we believe, can work to rid the region of the likes of bin Ladin with very minimal loss of civilian and American lives. It will stave off any long-term ill feelings towards the Unites States by the world body and will show that the US is truly a world leader. Once in control, then the Alliance together with troops from the US and other Nations can make a clean ground sweep of the country for Osama bin Ladin.
With what little the Northern Alliance possesses, they managed to bomb the munitions depot at the Kabul airport the night of September 11, 2001. Just think what they can do if fully equipped and supported.
The bravery and determination and the love for freedom of the people of Afghanistan is legendary. These brave people can be a very vital part of the world arsenal in a long and protracted fight against world terrorism. They once again can take the frontlines, only this time to save mankind.
Mr. President, please help save the people of Afghanistan. For in doing so, you will save multitudes of innocent lives worldwide from the hands of these sub-human animals like Osama bin Ladin and Company.
Ali A. Seraj
Director Afghanistan/America Foundation
Concerned Afghan American