14 March 2001
Transcript of Sayyid Rahmatullah Hashmi's Lecture at USC Regarding Taliban
Sayyid Rahmatullah Hashemi, the roving Ambassador of Afghanistan, recently gave a lecture at the University of Southern California. What follows is the transcription of the lecture on the real situation of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Note: [--] Indicate words that were not heard clearly in the recording.
Sayyid Rahmatullah Hashemi says:
I was just coming from [a meeting with] a group of scholars, and the
first thing we started there was the statues. And the first
thing we started here was also the statues. It s very unfortunate
how little we see and how little we know. And it really confuses
me, if people really know that little or not. Nobody has seen the
problems of Afghanistan; nobody saw their problems before.
And the only thing that represents Afghanistan today are the statues.
The problem of Afghanistan was not new. As you know that Afghanistan
is called, The Crossroads of Asia. So, we are suffering because of
our geo-strategic location. We have suffered in the 18th century,
19th century, and we are still suffering in this century.
We have not attacked the British. We have not attacked the Russians.
It was them who attacked us. So the problems in Afghanistan
you see is not our creation. That reflects the image of the world.
If you don t like the image in the mirror, do not break the mirror;
break your face.
The problems in Afghanistan started in 1979. Afghanistan was a
peaceful country and it was doing its own job. The Russians,
along with their 140,000 troops attacked Afghanistan in the December
of 1979, just 21 years ago, stayed there for a decade, killed one
and a half million people, maimed one million more people, and six
million out of the eighteen million people migrated because of the
Russian brutalities. Even today, our children are dying because
of the land mines that they planted for us. And nobody knows
After the Russians left during the Russian occupation, on the other
side, the American government, the British government, the French,
the Chinese, and all of the rest, supported the counter-revolutionaries
called the Mujahideen; 7 parties only in Pakistan and 8 parties in
Iran who fought the Russian occupation. And after the Russians
left, these parties went into Afghanistan. All of them had
different ideologies, a lot of weapon[s]. And instead of having
a single administration, they fought in Afghanistan. The destruction
that they brought was worse than the destruction the Russians brought.
63,000 people were only killed in the capitol, Kabul. Seeing
all this chaos, and the complete destruction of our country, and
I don t have to forget that after the Soviets left,
So seeing this destruction and lawlessness, a group of students called
the Taliban Taliban is the plural word of students in our language;
it may be two students in Arabic, but in our language it means students
so a group of students started a movement called the Movement of
Students. It first started in a village in the southern province
of Afghanistan, called Kandahar. It happened when a war-lord,
or a commander abducted two minor girls, raped them, and the parents
of those girls went to a school and asked the teacher of the school
to help them. The teacher of that school, along with his 53
students, finding only 16 guns, went and attacked the base of that
commander. After releasing those two girls, they hanged that
commander, and so many of their [the commander s] people ! were also
hanged. This story was told everywhere; and this was called the terrorist
story of the Taliban, or the Students. BBC also quoted this
story. Seeing or hearing this story, many other students joined this
movement and started disarming the rest of the warlords, who were worse
than these. I will not prolong this story so far, this same students
movement controls 95% of the country; they captured the capitol, including
the four major cities. And only a bunch of those warlords are remaining
in the northern corridor of Afghanistan.
So our achievements are as follows. We are in a government for
only five years, and the following things that we have done, and
many of you may not know:
* The first thing we have done is reunify the fragmented country. Afghanistan was formerly fragmented into five parts. The first thing we have done is to reunify that country. The United Nations, the United States, everybody was confused as to how to reunify that country, and nobody could do it. First thing we have done is to reunify that country.
* Second thing we have done, which everybody failed to do, was disarming a population. After dealing [with] the war of the Russians, and the Americans I would say, every Afghan got a Kalashnikov, and even sophisticated weapons such as stinger missiles, and they even got fighter planes and fighter helicopters. So disarming these people was impossible. The United Nations in 1992 passed an appeal asking for 3 billion dollars to re-purchase that arms, to start a process of repurchasing those arms. And suddenly, because of its impracticability, that plan never materialized, and everybody forgot about Afghanistan. So the second thing we have done is to disarm 95% of that country.
* And the third thing that we have done is to establish a single administration under Afghanistan, which did not exist for 10 years.
* And the fourth achievement that we have that is surprising to everybody is that we have eradicated 75% of all worlds Opium cultivation. Afghanistan produced 75% of all worlds Opium. The drug, you know that Opium? The Narcotics business? And last year we issued an edict asking the people to stop growing Opium, and this year, the United Nations Drug Control Program, UNDCP, and their head, [Mr.] Barnard F., proudly announced that there was 0% of Opium cultivation. Not at all. And this was not a good news for UN itself because many of them lost their jobs. In the UNDCP, 700 so called experts were working there and they got their salaries and they! never went into Afghanistan. So when we issued this edict, I know that they were not happy. And this year they lost their jobs. And this was our fourth achievement.
* The fifth achievement that we have, but it s a little controversial,
some of our friends will not know is the restoration of Human rights.
Now, YOU may think that is a violation of Human Rights, but from OUR
perspective that is the restoration of Human Rights. Because usually
[among] the fundamental rights of a human being is the right to
Live. Before us, nobody could live peacefully in Afghanistan.
So the first thing we have done, begun [to give] to the people is
a secure and peaceful life. The second major thing that
we have restored is to give
They didn t have the right to select their husbands, or to reject their husbands. First thing we have done is to let them choose their future. And you will know that throughout south Asia, women are killed under the title of honor killings. It happens when a woman s relation is detected with a man, whether or not the relation was sexual, they re both killed. But now this is not happening in our country. And the third thing that happened only in Afghanistan, was women were exchanged as gifts; this was not something religious; this was something cultural. When two tribal tribes were fighting among themselves, then in order to get their tribal issue reconciliated, they would exchange women, and then [they]! would make, or announce reconciliation. And this has been stopped. If we [had to give] fundamental rights of woman, we had to start from zero; we couldn t jump in the middle. Now you ve asked me about the rights of women s education and the rights of women s work. Unlike what is said here, women do work in Afghanistan. You re right that until 1997 I mean, in 1996 when we captured the capitol Kabul, we did ask women to stay home. It didn t mean that we wanted them to stay at home forever, but nobody listened to us. We said that there is no law, and there is no order, and have to stay at home. They were raped before us, ever! yday. So, after we disarmed the people, and after we brought law and order, and now women are working. You are right that women are not working in the ministry of defense, like here. We don t want our women to be fighter pilot[s], or to be used as objects of decoration for advertisements. But they do work. They work in the Ministry of Health, Interior, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Affairs, and so on. So, and we don t have any problem with women s education. We have said that we want education, and we will have education whether or not we are under anybody s pressure, because that is part of our belief. We are ordered to do that. When we say that there should be segregated schools, it does not mean that we don t want our women to be educated. It is true that we are against co-education; but it is not true that we are against women s education. We do have schools even now, but the problem is the resources. We cannot expand these programs. Before, our government there were numerous curriculums that were going on; there were curriculums which preached the king for the kings, and there were curriculums which preached for the communists, and there were curriculums from all these seven parties [the previously mentioned]. So, the Students were confused as to what to study, and the first we have done today is to unify that curriculum, and that s goin! g on. But we are criticized, and we say that instead of criticism, if you just help us once, that will make a difference. Because criticism will not make a difference. If you [talk?] criticism from New York, thousands of miles away, we don t care. But if you come there and help us, we do care. So actually there are more girls students studying in the faculty of medical sciences than boys are. This is not me who is saying this, it is the United Nations who has announced this. Recently we reopened the faculty of medical science in all major cities of Afghanistan and in Kandahar, there are more girl students than boys. ! But they are segregated. And the Swedish committees have also established schools for girls. I know they are not enough, but that s what we can do. So, that is what I say that we have restored. I don t say we are 100% perfect, and nobody will say that they are 100% perfect. We do have shortcomings, and we do need to amend our policies. But we can t do everything overnight.
* And the sixth problem, that we are is it sixth
or seventh? Seventh I think the seventh problem that we are accused
of is Terrorism, or the existence of terrorists in Afghanistan.
And for Americans terrorism or terrorist means only bin Laden. Now
you will not know that Afghanistan, or bin Laden was in Afghanistan
17 years before even we existed. Bin Laden was in Afghanistan, fought
the Soviet Union, and Mr. Ronald Reagan, the president of America
in that time, and Dick, Mr. Dick Chaney called such people freedom fighters
or the Heroes of Independence, because they were fighting for their
cause. So Osama bin Laden was one of those guys who was instigated
by such media reports, so in that provocation by these countries
to go to Afghanista! n and fight the Soviets there. And now
when the Soviet Union is fragmented, such people were not needed anymore,
Now, we are under sanctions. And the sanctions have caused a lot
of problems, despite that we are going under so many problems, the 23 years
of continuous war, the total destruction of our infrastructure, and the
problem of refugees, and the problem of land mines in our agricultural
lands, all of a sudden the United Nations, with the provocation of Russia,
is imposing sanctions on Afghanistan. And the sanctions have been
approved; we are under sanctions. Several hundred children died a
month ago, here it is (holds up pamphlet). Seven hundred children
died because of malnutrition and the severe cold weather. Nobody
even talked about that. Everybody knows about t! he statues.
For us, we are surprised, that the world is destroying our future with
economic sanctions, then they have no right to worry about our past.
Everybody is saying that they are destroying their heritage they don t
have any right to talk about that. They are destroying the future of our
children with economic sanctions, how are they going to justify talking
about our past? I know it s not rational and logical to blow the
statues for, for retaliation of economic sanctions. But this is how
it is. I called, after this announcements, I called my headquarters,
and I found out, I was really confused, I asked them, why are they going
to blow the statues, and I talked to the head of the council of scholars
of people, who had actually decided this, h! e told me that UNESCO and
NGO from Sweden, or from one of these Scandinavian countries Norway, Sweden,
one of these they had actually come, with a project of rebuilding the face
of these statues, which have worn by rain. So the council of people
had told them to spend that money in saving the lives of these children,
instead of spending that money to [restore these] statues. And these
guys said that, No, this money is only for the statues. And
the people were really pissed off. They said that, If you don t care
about our children, we are going to blow those statues.
[Person from the Audience yells, Takbeer! ]
[Audience responds, Allahu Akbar! ]
I don t say that he s right or wrong, the decision is yours. Think
of yourself. If you are in such a problem, what would you do?
If your children are dying in front of your eyes, and you are under sanctions,
and then the same people who have imposed sanctions and are coming and
building statues here? What will you do? So, I talked to my
headquarters today, and they said that the statues have not been blown
so far. But the people are so angry. They are really angry,
they want to blow them. And there is Kofi Annan is going, you know
Kofi Annan, the Secretary General o! f United Nations? He went to [--],
to Pakistan, and he said he s going to meet our representative there.
This man never bothered to enter, to talk about these children, he never
bothered himself to talk about six million refugees, and he never talked
about [the] poverty of Afghanistan. He only goes to that region because
of these statues. And the OIC is also, they ve also sent a mission
to go to Kabul and talk about those statues. So we re really confused.
That the world is really caring about the statues, and then they don t
care about human beings. I don t say we have to retaliate in blowing
the statues; we have not done that. But if we were to destroy those
statues! , we would have destroyed them three years before now, because
we captured those areas those areas three years before now. We didn t want
to blow them. And now the situation has come, and it s not our decision.
This is the decision of the scholars and the people. And that is
the decision has been approved by the Supreme Court. We cannot reject
this decision. So these guys are there, the OIC and some, even I
think some ministers from different countries are there to save the lives
of these statutes. I think they will not be blown because of the
concerns of these people. But it is really, really ridiculous.
These people do no! t care about children, about people who are dying there,
about the foreign interference that still exists, they only care about
the statues. And I m sure they don t care about our heritage.
They don t care about our heritage; they only care about their picnic site
one time. Maybe they ll have a good picnic site there, seeing those
statues. They don t care about our heritage, I m sure. If they were
to care about our past, they wouldn t destroy our future. And I m
sure these sanctions which are imposed on our government will never change
us, because for us, our ideology is everything. To try to change
our ideology with economic sanctions will never work. It may work
i! n the United States, where the economy is everything, but for us, our
ideology is everything. [--] And we believe that it is better to
die for something than to live for nothing.
We are still open-minded. We are still, we have still opened our doors
for negotiations, but our offices are closed everywhere our office was
closed in New York a week ago. They are trying to shut our offices
in other countries, trying to isolate us, and they don t know that isolation
is counter-productive. Because they don t have experts; the only
experts they have are those people who speak English. They don t
even speak the language. Those experts who are advising the sanctions,
or the sanction committee have not even been to Afghanistan. And
they are setting benchmarks for us to achieve.
I m prolonging this speech, I m sorry, because I have been repeating it everywhere, so I may have left some thing in it, and I will let you ask me questions.
[Applause from Audience]
***Important Note: What follows are some of the answers to some of the
questions that were asked during the Question and Answer session.
Most of the questions were not included due to the poor recording.
Apologies for the inconvenience.***
Br. Sayyid Rahmatullah Hashemi:
[A questioner asks about
the statement he heard on the radio from the Afghan former minister (Mutawakkil)
confirming that the statues have been destroyed, and further adds, Does
that mean the statues of Hindus and Sikhs will also be destroyed? He further
asked that since the destruction of the statues was done in retaliation,
Was it really saving the children? (it was asked in a provocative manner)]
Thank you very much and unfortunately again, the first question is the
statues. So the statues as I told you, have not been destroyed so far.
And I have contacted my headquarters there, and if they were destroyed,
then people would not bother going there; as I told you Kofi Annan
is there, OIC is there, and our foreign minister is there. And for
us, as he [the questioner] said that Mutawakkil has said that [that the
statues have been destroyed], I don t think he has said that they are destroyed.
He said that [that the statues have not been destroyed]. And I don
t reject this. They raised an edict which says these [the statues]
should be! blown. And we are not against Buddhists; absolutely wrong.
We are not against any religion. There are Hindus living in Afghanistan;
So we are not against any religion. And there is no Buddhist in
Afghanistan, this I can say. In our religion, if anything, you can
leave anything until it is not harmful to you. If these Buddhas were
not harmful to us, so far. But now when the money is going to Buddhas reconstruction,
and the children are dying next door, we think it s harmful now.
Not we think, the people think. And I told you that this decision
is taken by the council of scholars and the council of people. And
has been approved by the Supreme Court. And the media is saying everywhere
that it is an edict by our leadership. Hav! e you ever seen our leadership
on TV? Have you ever seen or heard him (Mullah Umar) on international radio?
He has never been on radio, so it s absolutely wrong that we issued an
edict. I do agree that there is an edict, but by the council of people
and the scholars, and has been approved by the Supreme Court, but has not
been implemented so far. Is it enough? You know, really, I am asked
so much about these statues that I have a headache now. If I go back
to Afghanistan, I will blow them.
[Questioner asks about the
infighting between Mujahideens now. He asks, in the past we knew that there
was one common enemy (the Russians) and it was easy to support the Mujahideen
but now it s the groups of Mujahideens fighting between each other. How
do you explain this?]
They [the different Mujahideen groups] killed so many people, and there
were so many problem[s]. And that s why we started our movement.
It s all in these people. They didn t fight for Shari ah, or they
didn t fight for Afghanistan, they only fought for their future post in
power. So we, as I told you that, we finished that. And only
now, we have one opposition headed by Ahmed Shah Masood. And we don
t have much problems with him. We had talks with his representative
in Ashkabad in Ramadan this year, and I was there. So, we say that
he failed in bringing about a constitution, a unified gove! rnment; he
could not even unify the capitol, Kabul. So we did all these things.
So we asked him, despite that he controls nothing, except 5% in the mountains,
and we have said we are still open-minded. We agree that he should
have a post, because he has fought the Russians. And in `98, we agreed
on a joint government; actually, I was also there, so we agreed in giving
them three ministries and accepting their judicial system merging with
our judicial system, and giving them three or four district or provincial
governors or something like that. And they agreed on that.
Our, on our part, we asked them to give us their weapons, because the problem
in Afghanistan is not political differences. The problem in Afghanis! tan
is the weapons. Everybody has had weapons, and now if they are fighting
us, it is not because of our very much ideological differences; it s because
of weapons. There were a lot of weapons before, and you know, the
Afghans will know that so many times they tried to have one government
and then after a week or so, they fought, because all of them got different
defense ministries, and they would fight. So now we have said that
the problems in Afghanistan is not the political problem; it is the arms
which exist. We are, we will accept them to be in our government
if he accepts to give his arms to the Ministers of Defense. We have
no problem however.
[A questioner asked, As Salaamu
`Alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakaatuh. Brother, Afghanistan is
now supposed to be a Muslim country, Insha Allah. And these statues
are just like the statues in Makkah, when Rasoolillah (saws) came to Makkah,
and it was the very first thing that he did was to destroy the statues.
What is taking us so long? Why aren t they destroyed already? Audience
laughs, some say Takbeer]
So, I don t know what to say. We don t have any Buddhists as I
told you; we have to look at the problems of the Muslim minorities in some
countries. So we do not want to create problems for them, that s
why we are still waiting, and we hope that we will resolve this problem.
[A written question read,
What is your opinion about killing the Iranian officers in Heraat in 1998?
So, there is this story about seven nine, nine Iranians, one of them
was a journalist, and the rest of them were called diplomats. It
happened in `98 when we were capturing a city in the north of Afghanistan
called Mazar-e-Shareef when we were, we announced before our campaign in
liberating that city, we announced that all diplomats of organizations,
including the UN, the diplomatic missions, and NGOs to evacuate because
of the possible fighting that may happen in the city too. So, all of them
evacuated, the United Nations, the NGOs, and even those people who actually
bombed them, they also evacuated, so the only people who remained there
was some seven, or eight, night Iranians, who were actually not diplomats,
who were actually military advisors to their puppets in Afghanistan.
So, and we didn t kill them in di! plomatic mission; they were killed on
their way to Bamiyan; Bamiyan is another city in central Afghanistan, so
they were and we didn t want to kill them; they just died because of the
shelling that happened. And we issued an edict, and we declared that
we were sorry for what happened. And now the Iranian government has
also sent their mission, and when I was coming there, three of their villages
were in Afghanistan; they reopened their consulate here and I think they
have re-thought their policies now and maybe they will have a new chapter
of friendship with us and I hope it will happen.
[Question asked about how
people, especially Muslims, need to be educated about the situation in
Afghanistan. He went on further to ask about whether or not he would
be under a physical threat if he were to shave his beard and walk into
Afghanistan, or if a sister would be under a physical threat if a sister
were to wear Hijab according to the Islamic standards, not wearing Burqah.]
You say that all the Muslims, or all the people, must be educated on
the situation in Afghanistan. And now I am thinking that first they
must be de-educated to try to understand what we are saying. There
are not [--], they are really trying how to approach, and you are right,
and I agree that you must have Public Relations, in teaching people, or
at least, letting them know what we say. But as I told you that we
have other priorities. Our priority is to save the children.
Our priority is to de-mine our country. Our priority is to reunify
our country. Our priority is to stop the foreign! interference. Our
priority is to fight the [--] that is already operating in our country.
So for us to talk about Public Relations, it is important, but it cannot
what would you do if you were in this status? And it is not easy to do
Public Relations. You have to spend a lot of money. I will tell you
a story of CNN. CNN was in Afghanistan interviewing bin Laden, in
`98. You have to be careful in listening to this. I was there,
and they asked bin Laden as to what was the thinking about the killing
of civilians in Iraq. After three hours of formal conversation, and
the camera was rolling. He said, that if all American citizens and if all
British citizens are willing, or supporting, to kill all Iraqi civ! ilians,
then all American citizens and all British citizens deserve the same thing
or to be killed. CNN cut everything. Three-hour conversation was
not there, only thing they put was and it was not complete the only clause
that they said was, the independent clause of what he said, they said that,
all American and British citizens must be killed. This is what
came on the air. But he didn t mean this. And I know that all Americans
do not support the killing [of] civilians there. Not even a quarter
of that. That was impossible. But now what they taught their
people was that bin Laden is saying that all American civilians must be
killed. That is the story of! media, and the media here is very irresponsible.
They are commercialized, and they ll do anything for selling advertisements.
He [the questioner] talked about the beard and the veil. First
of all, for all non Afghans, this rule does not apply. So there are
many non Afghans who are working there; there are actually Americans who
are working there in the UN, there are many people from different parts
of the world. And they do whatever [--], they don t care. And
we don t have a law for them. But Afghanistan is a country that has gone
through 23 years of war, and there is still war, and the military is mixed
with the people. Then you must have some sort of strict law, in order
to insure security and peace in Afghanistan. So, maybe it is ridiculous
for you that we ! ask people to grow beards, but this is what, it is in
Afghanistan, and the Afghans do leave beard, whether or not you tell them.
And it s something natural, and it s something [--]. And regarding
the veil, or the Burqas, or the Islamic dress code, that is something that
exists in Afghanistan for centuries. And it does exist in Iran, it
does exist in Saudi Arabia, it exists in many Islamic countries. It has
nothing to do only with Afghanistan. And it does even exist here.
So you can t force people not to have Burqas, and we do have that constitution
that at this time, women should cover up. For us because our priority is
that they should be safe.
[Questioner asks about what
Afghans living in the US can do for Afghanistan. She also gives a
brief account of her experience in Afghanistan, when she traveled there
recently, and gave proof that schools existed there, and that the situation
there is much better, more peaceful than it was six years ago. She
traveled alone, all over the country.]
Thank you very much. I m very happy that at least I found a proof!
I m thankful to you [for] what you say, and I really appreciate the
emotions you have for your country. I myself, I m 24, and serving
my country. I could play football now, and I could even play here,
and I could stay in the United States, but I don t do any of those things
I serve my country. So I agree that whatever, all those things that
exist in Afghanistan, maybe there are many things that we don t want, but
they do exist. So we are not a sponsor for that. They did exist for
two decade[s]. So the best thing to do for Afghanistan is to have
an association of Afghans to raise funds, and the best thing I would say
[is to] educate people. Instead of criticism, they can come there! and
open a school. They can open a school for girls, for boys.
But that would be the best thing. Unfortunately some of our Afghans
are sitting in their air-conditioning rooms here, play their TV s, and
when they have nothing to do, then they criticize us because we can t make
Europe for them. We can do it, we have a lot of problems, but the
first thing they should do is to stop harming us. They have to come
and help us, in all the sectors. We do need all the Afghans from
here. If they really criticize our policies, they should come there
and criticize our policies, not from here. So the best thing for
! you is for you people to raise funds, do NOT give it to us, one of you
should come there, help the people.
[Questioner: Do you respect
our right to tell you that if you didn t believe in PR, you wouldn t be
here right now. [--] Actually I d like to ask you, does your version of
Islam preach hate? I don t know, I m asking you; do you believe in the
religion of hate? Because I was very disgusted when that lady got up and
asked you why don t you blow those idols, because that boy right there
(points to a boy in the audience) laughed. MSA Representative interrupts,
Please ask your question. Questioner, I m asking you, are you preaching
hate? MSA Representative, Is that your question? Questioner, That is the
question. He continues to argue.]
Enough? I don t know what to say but you only expressed your emotions.
Islam means Peace. First you have to understand. And a peaceful religion
will never preach for Hate. And we do not preach for Hate.
And you said that if we didn t believe in Public Relations, I wouldn t
be here. It s my first time here, and I ve waited for an American
Visa for a long time, and I m not used to doing these things. I brought
a letter from my leadership that I explained before that I will be submitting
to the leader of the administration here, and hoping that they will re-think
their policies. So I do believe that, I say that we must believe
in Pu! blic Relations because they are very important. But I say
that Public Relations needs a lot resources, and at this time we have resources
for the [--] for the plight of our people.
[Questioner: I actually agree with you about the western media; they
are very biased [--], but looking at people like him (the young boy who
laughed) at such a young age&[--]. ]
[Small dispute in the Audience]
[Father of young boy, He is my son, ok, and you have come here to accuse
him..[--]. MSA Representatives calm both parties and rest of Audience,
and apologizes to audience.]
[Questioner asks about women
being required to have a male escort whenever they go out. She also questions
whether or not if she were to go into Afghanistan wearing what she was
now (a jilbab and hijab) would she be under any physical threat.]
You [the questioner] said, told me about whether a woman was allowed
to go without a male escort. I m here, and my wife is shopping in
Kandahar now. So they don t have to be escorted, this is absolutely
wrong. Yes, they were, in those cities that we captured first, because
that was for their safety. Now, they don t have to. And I don
t have any problem with whatever you wear, and women do wear the same thing
that you do wear, and they don t have any problems. And I say that
those cities, which are close to the front-line and there is military operations
going on close, there are thousands of military soldiers of ours, we do
ask women to ! avoid the social areas. Now you re not understanding
what I mean, but some of our friends here do understand. In a country
that is in a war, the military is mixed with the people, and there are
certain limitations. So I can t go beyond that, and I say that women
does not have to be escorted. I m here now and my wife is shopping
maybe in Kandahar.
[Questioner asks What is
Afghanistan s priority in regards to establishing an Islamic state for
all Muslims, not just for Afghans? ]
He d like to destroy us.
We have our first headache in Afghanistan, and that s a big headache.
We have a full-time job there. If we were worked 24 hours a day,
we will hardly ever be able to re-construct an [--] Islamic system in our
own country. And we have no intention of going beyond our borders,
and neither we can. So, all these people who exist in other countries,
or their policies, they have nothing to do with us. We are only concerned
about Afghanistan. And please do not try to make assumptions.
Ask me questions. I was asked in, I was in Bay Area just yesterday,
a j! ournalist asked me, Why do you hate women? And I told him, Why do
you beat your wife? And he said, I don t beat my wife. I said,
I don t hate women.
So you have to ask me questions. You just make assumptions.
You just make an assumption. Like he said, you explain for one hour,
for five minutes saying the same thing again and again, you ve made an
assumption. You didn t ask me whether a woman must be escorted or
not this is an easy question. But if you say, Why are you doing this
, Why are you doing... We re not doing it. The question is, here,
you don t have to make assumptions.
[Questioner: My country (Iran)
is suffering from drug-trafficking from Afghanistan; you said that you
[--] drugs from your area, but how can you explain this contradiction?
You have said that you cannot even make a needle, what does it mean..?
I would like to answer this question first and then I will not forget.
I said Afghanistan produced 75% of all worlds Opium, 75% of all worlds.
And we eradicated it last year. And this was announced not only by
United Nations, who rejects this? All of them know it was announced by
Iranian government [--]. I don t say it was we eradicated five years
ago [it was] this year. United Nations announced&
[Questioner: You mean 2001? So that s two months ago??& But our
country is still suffering from that?! He continues to argue&]
Please, please try to hear what I m saying.
[Questioner continues to talk and argue, MSA representatives try to
calm him down.]
[Questioner goes on, I know, but this is the question I wanted to ask!
My brother, listen to me. You say that your country is still suffering
from Opium from Afghanistan. I do not say that we eradicated it five
years ago. This year, the United Nations Drug Control Program, announced
that there was 0% Opium cultivation; Iran, too, admitted that. So
if you don t know that, your problem. New York Times announced this;
it was in a New York Times editorial. So if you don t know this,
then it s your problem. I do admit that there are still some piles of Opium
that exists from the years before the last cultivation that may [have been
sent] to your country. But we will admit, that we have, and I told
you that, there are missions for us, across Afghanistan, to Iran, to our
country, and they are trying to eradicate the already existing Opium; it
was not produced this year; it was produced the year before last.
[Questioner asks whether
or not they have asked for a loan from the World Bank or BMF]
Not yet. We have not asked BMF neither the World Bank to help
us. But if they do help us, we will no reject it. So we are
not asking because we are not being recognized so we can t ask them for
[Questioner is a Political
Scientist and is asking whether or not Bureaucrats and Technocrats are
needed in Afghanistan because, according to him, the Taliban are not smart
enough, suitable to be governing Afghanistan.]
We never say that we are perfect. The question is, Who could do
more than we do? These seven parties? The Communists? Or the
King? Who did this? The things that we have done? Who could do more than
that? It s very easy to say, to criticize from here, Do this, do this,
do that.. But it s very difficult to do that. You said that the Taliban
are not Bureaucrats and Technocrats, and we re not going to change that.
I m sorry to say, you know what the old king of Afghanistan, he was 88
years old, and he spent seven years living in Rome, he had bought an island
there, and now this man wants to come back to Afghanistan and head the
government. The old, rotten knuckle head.
So, we were very surprised as to what did he do in 43 years of his government?
He didn t do anything. He only knew how to decorate his palace.
I m sorry to say this. And now the same man, after 43 years Sorry,
27 years, is willing to go back and govern; he cannot even take a flight
back to Afghanistan. He s too weak. So how s he going to? So
we do need professionals. We don t say that we are perfect. And I
repeat it again, we cannot come here, and ask everybody to come help us.
We have asked so many times. Anybody willing to help their country, come
and help.&n! bsp; And many people come and ask me, Well, how do we
go? &..How did you come here?!
And yeah, go there if women can go there, what is the problem? But if
you ask us to give you the government, then that s difficult. So
I agree with you that we need Technocrats, but we don t need politicians.
This ends the transcribed version of the lecture by Sayyid Rahmatullah Hashemi. Please distribute it to as many people as you can Insha Allah, as it contains a lot of valuable information and insights; it clears up many misunderstandings that people have today regarding the Taliban. If we can come together to spread this knowledge, perhaps we can alleviate the burdens that Afghanistan is experiencing by creating an awareness of the situation there, and thus bringing forth funds and resources to aid them, bi idhnillaahu ta ala.
Subhaanak-Allaahumma wa bi-Hamdik, Astaghfiruka wa atooboo ilaik
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