100 Years of Divine Retribution

On 14th July 1903, a man was executed in Kabul by stoning. His crime was that he proclaimed that a person claiming to be the Promised Messiah(as) was a truthful person and he believed in him. The execution was ordered by the Ruler of Afghanistan, Amir Habibullah Khan, after a decision made by the religious Muslim leaders of his court.1 His name was Hadhrat Sahibzada Syed Abdul Latif. The Prophecy: Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) of Qadian (1835-1908) wrote in Tadhkaratush Shahadaitain: ‘Alas what has this unwise ruler done by executing an innocent person with such fierce barbarianism! He hsas completely destroyed himself. O land of Afghanistan, bear witness that a grave offence has been committed in thee. O unfortunate land, thou hast fallen in the estimation of God in that this great tragedy was enacted in thee.’2 The Early History: Lying between the fertile lands of Iran and India, Afghanistan p rovided routes of invasion and conquest in the past. Although Afghan historians refer to this land as Aryana, the name ‘Afghanistan’ dates from the middle of the 18th century when Ahmad Shah Abdali (Durarani) restored national unity. Great Britain and France had their eyes fixed on India and the Persian Gulf and the forces of Russia were pushing southwards. After the death of Ahmad Shah in 1773, constant internal revolts followed. The Afghans lost Sind and Peshawar to the Sikhs. In 1838, a British mission was established in Kabul to halt Russian influence. Two Anglo-Afghan wars followed with puppet rulers being installed. In 1842, out of 16,500 soldiers only one survivor reached the fort in Jalalabad on a stumbling pony. L a t e r, a newly arrived British resident at Kabul was murdered. Dost Muhammad’s grandson, Abder Rahman Khan, was recognised as the Amir in 1880 by the British who had marched on Kandahar. Abder Rahman consol- idated his hold by taking Herat, Hadharajat and Kafiristan and entering into agreements with Britain and Russia. Habibullah 17The Review of Religions – June 2003 Hundred Years of Divine Retribution By Latif Ahmad Qureshi – UK Khan succeeded to the Afghan t h rone on the death of Abder Rahman in 1901 and slowed down steps to take Afghanistan into the 20th century. Since 1903, the history of Afghanistan can as best be described as chequered. The Retribution In the evening of 14th July 1903 an unusually fierce thunder- s t o r m s t ruck the site of execution. Next day an epidemic of cholera broke out in the city and a large number of people including close members of the ruling family died. A member of his s t a ff assassinated Amir Habibdullah Khan in 1919; his young son was hanged to death while his other son, Amanullah, succeeded him. In 1921, the Third Anglo-Afghan War erupted. In 1923, Amanullah changed his title from Amir to Badshah (King). Upon his return from Europe, he made it illegal for the Mullahs (clerics) to have any contact with the armed forces. In 1929 this ruling family finally lost hold of the country and the last ruler, Amir Amanullah Khan, had to escape and seek refuge in Italy.3 Habibullah Kalakani, known as Bachai Saqao (son of the water- carrier), a ruthless brigand had stormed the city of Kabul. Amanullah was provided cover by British planes flown from Peshawar to assist him escape with his family. Mahmud Tarzai sought asylum in Turkey and died there his heart full of sorrow and despair in 1933. The country has been hit by anarchy since. Fighting and killing has gone on amongst various warlords who have control over different parts of the country. Bacahai Saqao assumed the name of Habibullah Ghazi and set himself up as the Amir but was executed when Gen. Nadir Khan took control of Kabul. His tribal army looted government buildings and the houses of wealthy. In 1930, a pro- Amanullah uprising was put down. In November 1933, when King Nadir was about to present a trophy to a victorious football team, a college student stepped from the ranks of spectators and assassinated Nadir Khan. Nadir Khan’s son, Muhammad Zahir Shah, inherited the throne. In 1939, there was a new pro-Amanullah uprising. In July 1947 when the British government was about to grant independence to India, Afghanistan sent a note requesting that the people of the Northwest Frontier P rovince, once controlled by Afghanistan, be allowed to decide. A plebiscite in the same month was over-whelmingly, not surprisingly, in favour of Pakistan. Bord e r attacks and skirmishes since have 18 Hundred Years of Divine Retribution The Review of Religions – June 2003 led to hot and cold re l a t i o n s between Pakistan and Afghanistan. They almost came to a war in 1961. In 1954, when the United States rejected Afghanistan’s request to update its military hard w a re , Prince Mohammad Daoud, then Prime Minister, turned to the Soviet Union and under Kruschev and Bulgaria, Afghanistan began to lean to the Eastern Bloc. In 1963, Zahir Shah demanded the resignation of Daoud and replaced him with Dr Mohammad Yusaf. Babruk Karmal, a communist, who had been elected to Parliament, later instigated riots. Muhammad Moussa became Prime Minister in 1972. On 17 July 1973, while Zahir Shah was on vacation in Europe, his government was overthrown in a coup headed by Daoud Khan and the Afghan Communist Party. In 1978, there was another communist coup when Daoud was killed and tensions began to rise. Mass arrests and tortures became a daily occurrence. Taraki was named as the President. In June, the Mujahideen group was born to carry out a guerilla war, sponsored by the West and funded by the Middle East oil states. In 1979, the US Ambassador and later Taraki were killed and Hafizullah Amin who had temporarily taken the Pre s i d e n c y was executed. In the 1980’s the country was invaded by USSR and a massive massacre and dis-placement of the people of Kabul followed. Dr Najibullah was brought back from USSR to run the secret police. This fighting went on for about a decade. In 1984, the UN sent its investigators to examine human rights violations. Najibullah pro- posed a ceasefire in 1987 but the Mujahideen refused to deal. Having lost some 40,000 to 50,000 soldiers, the Soviet Union ultimately pulled out on 15 February 1989 leaving behind land mines and craters as the joint legacy of the Mujhahideen and Soviet era in this war- t o r n t e r r i t o r y. On 15 April 1992, the Mujahideen took Kabul and formed the Islamic Jihad Council to govern the country. More fighting from Iranian and Pakistani led groups followed. Professor Burh a n n u d i n Rabbani was elected President. In 1994, the Taliban militia came into existence and advanced rapidly against the Rabbani government. Dostum and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Head of Hizbe Islami, clashed against Rabbani and as a conse- quence, Kabul was reduced to rubble. In 1996, the Taliban took over Kabul and executed Najibullah. Taliban oppression of women mani- fested itself with women fully veiled, not allowed to go out alone, or wear white socks; men must wear beard s . 19 Hundred Years of Divine Retribution The Review of Religions – June 2003 Mass graves of between 1,500 to 2,000 Taliban soldiers pre s u m a b l y c a p t u red in Mazar-i-Sharif were d i s c o v e red in 1997. In Febru a r y 1998, an earthquake struck North Eastern Afghanistan killing 4,000 people, destroying villages and leaving thousands of people homeless. To compound this, the Taliban finally retook Mazar- i – S h a r i f in August and massacred thousands of Hazaras. That same month, the US launched cruise missiles to shoot down Osama bin Laden and destro y his terrorist bases and training facilities. In February 1999, another earthquake hit eastern Afghanistan killing 60-70 people and leaving 30,000 aff e c t e d . In May 2000, the Taliban tortured and killed civilians in Robatak Pass. In December, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1331 to supplement its Resolution 1267 imposing additional sanctions against Taliban for their continuing support of terrorism and cultivation of narcotics. The Taliban response in January 2001 was further torture and killing of Hazaras in Yakaolong. In March the Ta l i b a n blew up the giant Bamiyan Budhas from the 5th century. Then followed the US led UN action in the country following the events of September 11, 2001 in New York. This story is now very well known. Kabul today is a deserted, ruined, dangerous and destitute place to live, one hundred years after what happened in July 1903 as was foretold at that time by Hadhrat A h m a d( a s ), the Promised Messiah and Reformer of this age. Bibliography: 1. Shahid Dost Muhammad. Ta re e k h – i – A h m a d i y y a t ( U rd u ) Edition 2. Vol. 2. p.325. 2. Ahmad Mirza Ghulam. Tadhkaratush Shahadatain (Urdu) Edition 2, p.2. 3. Shahid Dost Muhammad. Ta re e k h – i – A h m a d i y y a t ( U rd u ) Edition 2 Vol 2 pp.335-337. 20 Hundred Years of Divine Retribution The Review of Religions – June 2003