Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 10:48 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 10:48 | SYDNEY

Afghanistan: A revolutionary struggle?

11 February 2010 16:25

A US Army colleague in Afghanistan (second tour) has circulated a letter in which he tells the story of an Afghan National Army soldier, whose tragic fate had just been announced by the Afghan Government: 

Until today, most people will have never heard of or seen Naqibulah Adbul Wakhel. Born in the village of Jzar Bahg in the Takhar province of Afghanistan, Wakhel was a soldier late of the 3rd Brigade, 201st Corps, Afghan National Army. During a mission on November 30, 2009, Private Naqibulah was on a patrol in the Surobi District of Kabul when his vehicle was destroyed by an improvised explosive device placed on the road by the Taliban. When the device detonated, Naqibulah died in the service of his country and his people, and was rewarded with martyrdom by the Imam assigned to the 3rd Brigade.

It is important to understand Private Naqibulah’s life and his sacrifice because he was, as are many like him, the new face of Afghanistan – the twenty-first century revolutionaries. They are among the thousands of Afghan soldiers who, along with the Coalition forces, take the fight to the Taliban insurgents.  These soldiers come from all walks of life and all over Afghanistan.  They all have one thing in common, to unite in the cause of building their country out of the ashes caused by 30 years of devastation.

These heroes of Afghanistan are not alone in this fight, as they serve side-by-side with their NATO partners. While both share the same dangers and victories, there is one stark difference that separates the average Afghan warrior from his Coalition partners – NATO and U.S. soldiers will return home to places like the United States or France; the Afghan soldier is in this fight for the long haul where the majority have fought for close to eight years. These are the real freedom fighters of Afghanistan.

The image of Private Naqibulah reminds me of another so-called “Freedom Fighter” whose face has seen resurgence among well- and not so well-dressed fashionistas, rock stars, and college students of our society – the infamous and iconic image of the 1960s terrorist, Che Guevara. 

If you have never heard of Che, a failed Argentine medical student who embraced the discredited ideologies of Socialist philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels while traveling through South America in the 1950s, you’ve most likely seen his face on T-shirts and posters in college dorms across the country. He has been most recently lionized in movies like ‘Evita’ and ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ as a traveling crusader for the oppressed; however, the truth of Che is a lot darker. While many associate Che as a symbol of youthful expression, his image, in fact, represents a man who tried to ban free expression, and particularly, musical expression such as rock music and jazz music because he thought it was imperialist. He was the Caribbean equivalent of the Taliban. He enforced a single moralistic viewpoint; and if you didn't agree with him, you would be killed.

Che’s own words belie his misguided attempts at changing the world. The words: “The U.S. is a great enemy of mankind! Against those hyenas, there is no option but extermination.” are not those of Osama Bin Laden; they are Che’s visions, which pre-empted al-Qaeda by 40 years.

For my money, if you want to wear a T-shirt or hang a poster in your room of a true “Freedom Fighter” and “Revolutionary” doing battle against the forces of evil – embrace the image of Private Naqibulah, a true hero in the eyes of his family and the people of Afghanistan!

Some readers might still hold to more romantic ideas of Che Guevara. The point my colleague makes is that those Afghans joining the various services of their government — not just military, but police and civil — are doing so because they have a vision of revolutionising their society, from one of oppression to one that strives for a better future.