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Former Taliban commander wants peaceful life

Former Taliban commander wants peaceful life

By
On
Mar 01, 2011 - 15:16

KUNDUZ CITY (PANinfo-icon): Qudartullah, also known as Commander Masoom Tajik, fought with the Talibaninfo-icon for two years before he renounced violence and joined the peace process two months ago.

 

Tajik, 45, was a commander of Hizb Jamiat Islami during the jihadinfo-icon against the Soviets, and fought with the Northern Allianceinfo-icon against the Taliban when they swept into power in 1996.

 

When the Taliban was driven out in late 2001, he returned to his district of Imaminfo-icon Sahib in northern Kunduz province and had hoped to receive a government post as commander, but did not.

So, when the Taliban gained greater influence in Imam Sahib about two years ago, Tajik felt he had no choice but to join the insurgents to protect himself and his family.  He is married with seven children.

 

For the two years he was with the Taliban, he faced many difficulties, including threats to his life. He lost two men fighting against Afghan security forces, he said.

 

Most nights he slept outside and worried all the time about coalition air raids.

 

In the early days, he said, he was convinced by the Taliban that their jihad was genuine, that he was fighting against an illegitimate government and foreign forces which had come to occupy their country.

 

But when he started to realise what the Taliban were really about, he said, he began to hate them and looked for a way to leave the insurgency.

 

He said that the Taliban frequently detained innocent people and sentenced them to death on spying charges.

 

Tajik also claimed that high-ranking Taliban personnel, such as district governors and security commanders, were appointed in Pakistaninfo-icon, and received direction from Al Qaeda.

 

"I understand now that I was deceived in the name of jihad. I was abused by the enemies of the country and the people," he said.

 

He joined the peace process with the help of tribal elders, after recognising that fighting was not the solution.

 

Since he renounced violence, he has been receiving financial support from the government and remains the commander of a militia force on the government’s side.

 

Asked about the people’s perception of the local militia as causing trouble, Tajik said he does not want to cause trouble and only wants to serve the people and improve security in his area.

 

"I don't want to carry weapons if the security and my safety are ensured," he said.

 

"I have carried a weapon for the past 25 years. During this period I earned both friends and enemies and because of this my life has been at risk. Therefore, I have to carry weapons to defend my life and safety," he said.

 

However, Tajik said he was tired of carrying weapons and always being on the look out to defend himself.

 

Life without weapons is much better, he said, but added that he would like to join the local police so he could protect his region and work in accordance with the law.

 

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