By His Royal Highness, Prince Ali Seraj of Aghanistan
Edited by Catherine Shakdam
This book is dedicated to my three beautiful daughters, Princess Sahar Alexandra, Princess Safia Emerett, and Princess Alia Elizabeth, without whom I would feel incomplete, and without whom my work would have gone a waste.
It is because of the love and support my family so generously dispensed that I felt compelled to put ink to paper, and speak my Afghanistan back to my life.
I remember a time away from the clamours of war and clashes of weapons. I remember still the dreams my forefathers held for this land of ours, this people of ours… Afghanistan is more to me than a land-locked nation sat at the heart of Central Asia.
My Afghanistan echoes still of happiness, and breath-taking beauty … it is those memories I want to conjure so that maybe you will learn of my people, and see in them a future interrupted.
Afghanistan has suffered great many injustices and as its prince, I owe my nation the courtesy of its history. Afghanistan’s story deserves to be told from a place of courage, and dignity for Afghans are a deserving people indeed.
Afghans are a resilient people, a capable people, a good people. It is greed and illegitimate ambitions which destroyed my nation, and stole away its future.
Here, in the pages which follow, I will safeguard Afghanistan memory, and restore my nation’s sovereign right and integrity away from Terror, radicalism, and covert imperialism.
This book I dedicate to my loved-ones … May they find in my words a new-found strength; may they remember that Afghanistan will always be their birth-right to keep but never to own.
Royalty I have learnt is riot a statement of ownership over a land, rather an oath to safeguard a people, and a land from nefarious forces. To that I have held true to the best of my ability.
My loyalty forever remains tied to Afghanistan, and all Afghans, beyond creed, and ethnicity.
My lineage is an old one … since 867 AD my forefathers have watched over Afghanistan and its future. I pray that my book will serve a testament to their memories, their deeds, their hopes …
My book I dedicate to my children, and grand-children – know that I am proud of all of you and all of your choices and accomplishments.
Long after I am gone I pray that my book will endure and speak of the land which captured my heart and breathed strength in my soul.
Afghanistan will forever remain my home, my beloved, my own.
May Allah All Mighty (SWT) look upon us all with mercy
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION & FOREWORD
CHAPTER 1: Communists at the Door
CHAPTER 2: The End of the World
CHAPTER 3: Return of the Prodigal Prince
CHAPTER 4: Social Revolution
CHAPTER 5: Spies in Our Midst
CHAPTER 6: A New “Silk Route”
CHAPTER 7: Bridge to Destiny
CHAPTER 8: Doorway to Love
CHAPTER 9: The Great Escape
CHAPTER 10: Departure from Kabul
CHAPTER 11: A New Beginning
CHAPTER 12: The Fight Against Afghan Communism and the Soviet Invasion
CHAPTER 13: The Reagan Era
CHAPTER 14: The Russo-Afghan War and the Re-emergence It of the Taliban/Al Qaeda
CHAPTER 15: The Taliban Threat and George W. Bush
CHAPTER 16: Destination Kabul
CHAPTER 17: The People’s Prince
CHAPTER 18: Mobilcom
CHAPTER 19: Dinner with the King
CHAPTER 20: The King’s (Silent) Speech
CHAPTER 21: Corruption on the Rise
CHAPTER 22: The Adoptathon
CHAPTER 23: Rural Reconstruction
CHAPTER 24: Establishing the National Coalition for Dialogue with the Tribes of Afghanistan
CHAPTER 25: NCDTA Activities
CHAPTER 26: Ceremonies and Uncertainties
CHAPTER 27: Two Unions
CHAPTER 28: The Happy Valley
CHAPTER 29: Elders and Generals
CHAPTER 30: Ignoring Intelligence on Bin Laden
CHAPTER 31: Preparing for the 2009 Elections
CHAPTER 32: The Final Decision
CHAPTER 33: Journey to Moscow
CHAPTER 34: Endgames
CHAPTER 35: The Mole
CHAPTER 36: Politics as Usual
CHAPTER 37: 1436 AH
A ROYAL LEGACY
Following is the story of my life … or rather, the love-affair I have enjoyed with Afghanistan, the land of my forefather, my first and last love, together my anchor and my strength.
A prince of Afghanistan, I have lived most of life in exile – forced to run before the violence of the Soviet Union, forced to stay away before the radicalism of the Taliban, forced to watch as my nation went up in flames, eaten whole by the greed of men.
An Afghan prince taught in Western fashion I have lived my life in between two worlds, my heart tethered by my two great love: Afghanistan and my American wife.
This book covers 30 years of my life (1[phone redacted])- from the fall of the Monarchy to Communism, the rise of the Taliban and subsequent coming of Osama bin Laden, to the US and NATO invasion of Afghanistan following the 9/11 Terror attack.
You will learn of Afghanistan through my eyes, and maybe learn along the way that History bears many witnesses – each to their memory, each to their own subjective recollection.
I claim to no Truth - only maybe my own.
My tale is that of an Afghan prince, who, for decades on end has witnessed the disappearing of his heritage to the fires of war and despair. My lifework I have long dedicated to right the many wrongs which have befallen my homeland.
Afghanistan’s story needs to be told. All I ask is that you listen!
I am the direct descendant of nine generations of kings of Afghanistan: the nephew of His Majesty King Amanullah (1[phone redacted]), known as the Victor of Afghanistan; the grandson of His Majesty Amir Habibullah (1[phone redacted]); and the great- grandson of His Majesty Amir Abdurrahman (1[phone redacted]), known as the “Iron King.” My ancestry continues on to His Majesty Amir Dost Mohammad, who assumed the throne in1827.
My entire family line can be traced back to 647 AD.
In many ways my family has been Afghanistan’s keeper, its memory, its traditions, and its national integrity.
I was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, the middle child to a family of three children – my elder brother Abdullah, and Salma my younger sister.
Our father, Prince Abdul Ghafoor, was one of the younger sons of His Majesty Amir Habibullah (1[phone redacted]), who, besides attending to the affairs of the country as monarch, also enjoyed hunting and photography on big-game expeditions - through Afghanistan and India. This king, my grandfather, had 36 wives, to whom he sired 29 sons and 32 daughters.
My family was big, eclectic in its personalities – a mirror to Afghanistan ethnic make-up, a testament to our nation’s diversity and wealth.
We were all Afghanistan’s sons and daughters, we were proud of our heritage, proud of our lineage … Afghanistan has run in my veins long before I drew my first breath; it is likely my last will be spent speaking its name.
Understand as I point to my grandfather’s family life, that marriages back then guaranteed tribal stability, and allegiance. It is to ensure order and tribal cooperation that kings married often – not to pursue carnal desires.
We were our people! For generations of men, Afghans have looked upon our house and recognise their own kin. Such was the strength of my house, such has been our legacy.
Back when my great grand-father assumed the monarchy (1880), Afghanistan stood a puzzle of principalities devoid of real unity. Amir Abdurrahman Khan, also known as the Iron King, or more simply as Amir, changed that political reality.
To keep the tribes of Afghanistan together, and prevent sedition following his grand unification campaign, my grandfather picked a wife from among each tribe.
I realise that Afghanistan’s tribal system might sound medievally archaic to Westerners … I will ask you to understand one crucial point.
What the West calls multiculturalism, Afghanistan calls tribalism. Our many colours, traditions, cultures, sensitivities, and strengths are carried, expressed, and encapsulated within our tribal system. More importantly still, it is through the tribes that Afghans have together secured and exercised their rights to political determination.
Afghanistan’s true tribalism, that which my family stood a keeper of and represent of was not a euphemism for feudalism – but an affirmation of Afghan’s civil rights.
Afghanistan was born on the back of the tribes, and it is the tribes which have kept Afghanistan’s integrity safe – it is the tribes I believe which will save Afghanistan from those radical hordes which have held my people hostage.
Misconceptions, have clouded outsiders’ thoughts and tainted their views on my homeland.
Afghanistan is not a devilish black hole of barbarism! Afghanistan is a land occupied by barbarous legions; it is a land violated, a people tortured, a culture hijacked.
On these pages I reclaim what was stolen from us – Afghanistan is more than a few borders dawn on a map. Afghanistan is a hope captured on the lips of our children, it is the Sun setting on our mountains, the breath in our lungs, and the song in our heart.
Today I am here to tell you that Afghanistan has not sung its last – Legitimacy is still here, the tribes are still here, and our people are indeed willing.
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