War in Afghanistan — Eradicating intellectual illiteracy with bombs

Rafia Mansoor Waraich
4 min readNov 20, 2021

20 years, more than $882 billion of investment, immense loss of lives and consequently, rapid Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan came shocking for many.

Undoubtedly, America’s foreign policy to convert ignorant Muslim clerics and their followers self-proclaimed, cruel and bloodshed ideology of Jihad into peace has been proved counterproductive.

Did killing of Osama bin laden, other dominant Taliban leaders or officials terminated terrorism? The fourth Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Tahir Ahmad said, “Swords can win territories but not hearts, forces can bend heads but not minds.” This statement is true to this day.

History testifies that whenever and wherever force is being used by nations to end religious extremism a new movement came up in the footprints of al-Qaida-style militant ship.

What U.S. policy makers need to realize is that radicalization and erroneous concept of Jihad prevalent among some Muslims is an ideological issue, and theological problems by no means could be solved with coercion.

Furthermore, media outlets, speeches by political leaders, influencers and Christian religious clergy are equally responsible for failure, by ascribing hearsay with the concept of Jihad and branding Muslims as “rebellious”, “violent” and connecting a barbaric act with a “religious virtue” instead of reporting facts. Root cause of this extremism lies in branding Muslims as a race rather than a religion. Thus ultimately putting the lives of every peace loving person in danger while ignoring the fact that, already, the human cost of war on terrorism has been enormous.

Current line of development of events in Afghanistan seems to be dreadful. Violence, murder, bloodshed, anarchy and oppression (especially for women) seem to be prevalent. Before we join forces to find a solution to this global issue we need to know how we reached here. Answer lies in the pages of history when this wrongful concept of Jihad was in its infancy and was ignored by the governments and the League of Nations.

Moving forward is there a way out? Do we have an alternative to fight this monster? Or can there ever be a better future for Afghan citizens?

Today, only favorable solution to this problem lies in propagating the message of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who was to be appointed by God in the latter days for the reformation of Muslims and their erroneous concept of “Jihad”. In his book, “The British government and Jihad” he thoroughly shed light upon the root cause of radicalization and ways to deal with it.

He wrote:

“It should be remembered that today’s Islamic scholars (who are called maulavis) completely misunderstand jihad and misrepresent it to the general public. The public’s violent instincts are inflamed as a result and they are stripped of all noble human virtues. This is in fact what has happened […]”.

“O Muslim scholars and maulavis! Listen to me. I tell you truly that this is not the time for jihad. Do not disobey God’s Holy Prophet.”

“At this point I must with great regret say that although ignorant maulavis have instructed the ordinary public in plunder and killing by calling these actions jihad, Christian clerics have also done something similar. They have, in Urdu, Pashto and other languages, produced thousands of publications, journals and flyers alleging that Islam was spread by the sword. This literature has been distributed by them in India, Punjab and the Frontier Region, wrongly claims that Islam is synonymous with violence. The people’s penchant for violence has increased as a result of the combined testimony of the maulavis and Christian clerics. The dangerous lies of the Christian clerics create unrest and rebellion and, in my view, it is essential that our government prohibit them.”

Information war against the brutal ideology of Jihad rather than the bombs would be far more effective. This could be achieved by publishing leaflet’s detailing true Islamic concept of Jihad in Afghanistan’s regional and national languages and their distribution to the countrymen. This would help sow the seed of de-radicalization among general public.

In this regard, US can make efforts to speak out with its allies (preferably Muslim countries) to impart the true concept of Jihad. Alongside the politicians, influencers and Christian clergy need to collaborate and educate masses that jihad means to make efforts to kill one’s own ego, against evil inclinations and tendencies. And that the wars fought by prophet Muhammad and his followers were only defensive wars. Today, there is no such attack being made on the religion itself and now literal interpretation of Quranic verses that promotes the use of sword against the disbelievers is null and void.

Furthermore, nations involved in this war need to put their vested interest apart if they are seriously looking for a solution. No doubt, we see Taliban’s committing human right violations in the name of religion.

U.S. and Western nations’ greed to have access to natural resources of countries invaded, and benefits drawn by U.S. alone due to the sale of weapons after September, 11 are not something unknown.

Rather than claiming that we live in democracy and displaying face of hypocrisy, governments should work together with moderate Muslims (e.g. religious leaders of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community) at all levels to build a better future rather than the clerics who are taught in Saudi schools and madrasas as the one trained there follow Wahabi version of Islam who follow literal and strict ideological implementations.

On the contrary those who have concerns about the practical effectiveness of this approach could see it working practically among the followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, for more than 100 years religious leadership has been using the same approach to de-radicalize Muslims and make them beneficial members of the society.

We (writer being no exception) need to fathom the fact that there won’t be magic and we would have to wait for some time before we can actually see the difference but today’s sacrifice is tomorrow’s success. We have been making a mess for decades. Let’s give at least one decade after using whatever we have in our hands to give time for mutual love to take root.