After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now/ History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors/And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions,/Guides us by vanities.
-T.S Eliot: Mr. Apollinax.
BULLETIN. Like the Pashtun chieftains who united the tribes of Afghanistan in previous centuries, the late Taliban Commander, Dadullah Akhund, was a Pashtun who fought an occupying force in a divided nation.
IN THE NEWS TODAY. . Mullah Dadullah Akhund, leader of Taliban forces in the Kandahar region is killed by NATO troops.
LOOKING BACK: After a power struggle within the Taliban leadership, Comander Dadullah, himself a Kandahar Pashtun, emerged as a rival to Taliban leaders in the eastern provinces. In the west, in the Pashtun heartland, he was a far more authentic representative of the the historic Pashtun national cause, to which the Taliban has linked itself, than the Taliban of eastern Afghanistan who are more closely connected to Al Qaeda and foreign Jihadis. Ever since they took power in the early eighteenth century, the Pashtun people of the southwest have claimed to be the rightful rulers of Afghanistan. Almost all the Afghan kings, until the end of the monarchy in 1937, have been Pashtun. The Pashtun tribes have successively resisted the Turks, the Persians, the Mohguls, the British, the Russians and now NATO. With the deaths of their leaders, the militant, national cause has always found new blood, as will the leadership of the western Taliban in the wake of Dadullah.
FROM PAST INTO PRESENT: In 1020, Mahmud of Ghazni, a mercenary for the Baghdad empire of the Abassids, was allowed autonomy and built his own empire. A fanatical Sunni Muslim, Ghazni was a foe of the Fatimid Shia sect. Likewise in the 1990s, Sunni Taliban commander Dadullah persecuted the Hazara Shia sect, killing hundreds of them. Both Ghazni and Dudallah were considered pathalogically violent
While a western-backed government backed by NATO troops rules from Kabul, it was the Persians who ruled Afghanistan in 1704. As in the present day the Afghan tribes were divided among themselves. And, like NATO today, Persia, attempted to bring peace through intervention. The Persians made their own man, Gurgin, governor of Kandahar, much as NATO now has a friendly governor in Kandahar. Gurgin was opposed by a Pashtun, Mirwais Kahn Hotak. As with Dadullah, Hotak's cause was the expulsion of foreigners from Afghanistan. Hotak united the tribes, assassinated Gurgin and became ruler of Kandahar- exactly what Dadullah was trying to do three hundred years later, when he died.Dadullah will be seen by many of his Pashtun tribesmen to have followed in the footsteps Afghanistan's Pashtun conquerors. Mahmud of Ghazni is lionized as an empire builder and patron of the arts. Though Turkic, he brought Persian influence to Afghanistan and the Pashtuns of south-western Afghaninstan remain heavily influenced by Persian language and culture. Indeed, there is still a divide between the culturally Persian-influenced Pashtuns of the southwest where Dadullah was based and the Pakistani tribes of the east where the 'Al Qaeda' Taliban find their home.
Modern Pashtuns will revere Dadullah as they revere Mirwais Hotak, the founder of the first Pashtun State; the Pashtun king, Ahmad Shah Durrani, who founded Afghanistgan's greatest empire in the mid-18th century; and Dost Mohammed, who laid the foundations of the modern Afghan state in the early 19th century.
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