Many years ago when I first visited Afghanistan I took with me some fond memories of Khandahar which is the Spiritual City of Afghanistan. When I was young I was influenced by many devout Muslims. In fact in school many of my school mates were Muslims.
Khandahar is what the Vatican is to the Romans. The Mosques were built hundreds of years a ago by artisans who were well versed with their craft. Some of the work on a par with the Taj Mahal. On my first visit to Khandahar the Afghans were free as free as the people of the neighboring countries Nepal, India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey in the middle 1970's. The politics of the times - pitted one politician against the other but as far as I could envision with my limited political savvy - I did not see large numbers revolting. This happened in the early 1980's - changes in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
Khandahar the spiritual city of Afghanistan is where all the present episodes began. The "Taliban" a group of " so called spiritual students of the Koran" - began to influence the happenings in Afghanistan. Most of them fanatics whose extreme and harsh measures of enforcement brought their downfall. These men are a disgrace to humanity.
Right now Khandahar has fallen down and the Taliban are no where in sight. But Khandahar will be etched on the minds and memories of thousands of pilgrims and tourists of good faith. Islam is a religion of "peace" and it shocks those of us who understand Islam and Muslims - how some demons have used "religion" to suit their own selfish ends.
It is my hope that Khandahar changes the lives of all people of the Afghanistan and affects the thinking of the world. It is NOT easy for me when I think of Afghanistan to imagine the destruction and the blood that has been spilled. I was there when the times were peaceful and the memories I share are ones of peace and spirituality. The Afghans I knew all were extra good to me and loved me. I tried to love them as best I could.
Fanatics like Osama Mohammed bin Laden are NOT Afghan. It is a shame that some one like a him who at one time in his life who was influenced by Sufism could turn out to be such a fanatic. I guess any type of fanaticism is bad - but the worse type is the one that kills and harms people in the name of religion.
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