Abdul Zaeef describes growing up in poverty in rural Kandahar province, which he fled for Pakistan after the Russian invasion of 1979. Zaeef joined the jihad in 1983, was seriously wounded in several encounters and met many leading figures of the resistance, including the current Taliban head, Mullah Mohammad Omar. Disgusted by the lawlessness that ensued after the Soviet withdrawal, Zaeef was one among the former mujahidin who were closely involved in the emergence of the Taliban, in 1994. He then details his Taliban career, including negotiations with Ahmed Shah Massoud and role as ambassador to Pakistan during 9/11. In early 2002 Zaeef was handed over to American forces in Islamabad and spent four and a half years in prison in Bagram and Guantanamo before being released without charge. My Life with the Taliban offers insights into the Pashtun village communities that are the Taliban’s bedrock and helps to explain what drives men like Zaeef to take up arms against the foreigners who are foolish enough to invade his homeland.
Author: Abdul Salam Zaeef, Zulekha Adam Dinath
Length: 132 pages
From his bizarre arrest and abduction in Pakistan while still Ambassador for Afghanistan, to the bowels of an American war vessel and the torture chambers of Bagram, to the sanitised dungeons of Guantanamo Bay Prison, this is the remarkable story of Abdul Salam Zaeef’s journey as a prisoner-of-war at the hands of the United States.
At turns horrifying, and at other turns poignant, Abdul Salam Zaeef’s account of his treatment and the treatment of other detainees as ‘enemy combatants’ is mesmerising. This book is a call for justice in an increasingly unjust world, while the author’s perseverance, peaceful resistance and unbroken faith in the face of severe oppression and mistreatment is an example of how to break the cycle of violence that sustains the American-led ‘War on Terror’.
A must-read for all who are seeking the ‘other side of the story’ of the US-led War on Terror: the atrocities committed at Guantanamo Bay, when mainstream accounts seek to silence the truth.
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