If you were watching social media closely during the United State’s withdrawal from Afghanistan late last year, you may have noticed the trending hashtags #prayforpanjshir and #northernalliance on social media.
These hashtags were spread on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and other social platforms. They were heavily tagged by arm-chair activists to garner attention to the situation in Afghanistan, particularly against the Taliban’s final assault on the northern part of Afghanistan, Panjshir.
The Panjshir Valley, some 150 kilometers (about 93 miles) north of Kabul, is the epicenter of Afghan guerrilla warfare.
In the 1980s, fighters defending the valley under the leadership of Ahmad Shah Massoud managed to hold Soviet forces at bay, even as the USSR controlled Kabul and large swaths of the rest of the country.
From this chaos, Massoud formed the Northern Alliance, a coalition of Uzbek and Tajik forces. For a while his forces occupied Kabul, but were accused of human rights abuses.
The CNN article has a largely positive view of the Northern Alliance, much like the arm-chair activists. And something else they have in common is the negative attitude towards the Taliban and the idea of Shariah law being implemented.
But is advocating for the Northern Alliance really something you’d want to double down on as a Muslim?
In late 2001, after the Northern Alliance forces ousted the Taliban from the north, their militias — some led by men holding office today — carried out systematic attacks on Pashtun villages, raping women, summarily executing civilians, and stealing livestock and land.
It should be noted that according to a human rights report, this amalgam of warlords had the same MO during the Afghan civil war in the 1990s.
The atrocities of the Afghan civil war in the 1990s are still recounted… a scorched-earth ethnic and factional conflict in which civilians and captured combatants were frequently slaughtered en masse.
The figures accused in the report of playing some role in mass killings include some of the most powerful figures in Afghanistan’s government and ethnic factions, including the Northern Alliance…
The report details the numerous human rights abuses in Afghanistan in which the Northern Alliance was implicated in numerous mass-killings and other terrible human rights violations against the Afghan civilian population.
As Northern Alliance forces recaptured territory in the north, they reportedly carried out abuses against Pashtun communities who they believed had benefited from or collaborated with Taliban rule at the expense of other ethnic communities.
…As areas of northern Afghanistan came under Northern Alliance control, some Northern Alliance forces attacked local Pashtuns, beating men, raping women, and abducting civilians for ransom, according to human rights groups.
Some of the pro-Northern Alliance advocates seem to think that these blood-thirsty warlords are fit to rule all of Afghanistan, including the ethnic Pashtuns (40-50% of the Afghan population) who they routinely massacre.
If you were an Afghan civilian, would you feel safe around these barbarians? I bet some of these arm-chair advocates would change their tune if they were the ones having to live under these band of war criminals.
Some of the leaders in the Northern Alliance had made their way into the Afghan government where they continued their atrocities. One of them was warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, former Vice President of Afghanistan.
Dostum, whose militias are believed to have carried out one of the most notorious war crimes in modern Afghan history during the early days of the U.S.-led invasion, embodies much of what’s wrong in contemporary Afghanistan…
Dostum still stands accused of torturing and ordering the rape of a political rival while in office as recently as 2016. After swift Western condemnation, Dostum fled to Turkey, where he enjoys a good relationship with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Dostum, much like his warlord counterpart Massoud, was involved in many other vile human rights violations, including the death of over 2,000 Taliban prisoners with the United States watching it all unfold. Patricia Gossman, who works for Human Rights Watch, details the massacre.
…Abdul Rashid Dostum, terrorized Pashtun villages in Faryab, accusing them of supporting the Taliban…
The United States was inevitably linked to the abuses of its allies: In November 2001, Dostum’s forces massacred as many as 2,000 Taliban prisoners who were captured or had surrendered outside Kunduz.
…In early 2002, former Taliban wrote to the new Afghan president Hamid Karzai, offering to lay down arms and recognize the government. Instead, Gul Agha Sherzai, a powerful tribal leader the United States embraced, later accused of corruption, had them imprisoned and tortured by the National Directorate of Security…the intelligence agency created by the CIA…
Are warlords, rapists, thugs, and their imperial masters the people we should pray for? If these Western pseudo-activists don’t like the Taliban, surely they could have done better than to actively support and protest for warlord mercenaries that commit war crimes on the Afghan population.
Sadly, a large part of this movement included many Muslims — Afghan Muslims in particular. These individuals were, at best, ill-informed Muslims who believed that the Northern Alliance were innocent Muslims being attacked. At worst, they intentionally prayed for the world to support Northern Alliance terrorism on the Afghan population.
Will these unconscionable warlord advocates be shunned? Will they have to answer for supporting mercenaries that were heavily supported by Russia and America alike to terrorize the innocent Afghan civilians? Truly the cognitive dissonance is sickening.
But, Alhamdulillah, with 99% of Afghanistan wanting Shariah law, the Northern Alliance capitulated to Taliban forces and the prayers of these irresponsible e-activists went unanswered.