The Paw Print
On Sept. 20, I had the pleasure of listening to retired Pakistani Brigadier General, Rashkid Ali Malik. In his lecture, he talked of how, ever since the death of Osama bin Laden, many Americans have questioned whether the Pakistani are reliable allies or not. Malik assured us that for more than sixty years, Pakistan has been an ally to the United States, and they’re not about to change that. Malik divided his lecture, the Great Game, into three different decades: The Decade of Demise, The Decade of Void, and the Decade of Divide.
Malik opened the lecture by describing the Great Game. The Great Game was a term for an early nineteenth century strategic rivalry and conflict between the British and the Russian Empire for supremacy in Central Asia. The next topic Malik discussed was, what he called, the decade of demise. One hundred fifty thousand Russians invaded Afghanistan, using the route through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan. The great demise left seven million refugees in Pakistan and two million in Iran.
The next topic Malik discussed was the great void. The great void was a period of three Afghani wars in which the Al Qaeda headquarters was established. bin Laden, as the leader, bided his time, so by Sept. 11, the Taliban controlled 90 percent of Afghanistan. This decade ended after that fateful September day.
The next decade he discussed was the great divide. The split between the two largest faiths in the world. Twenty-six days after 9/11, the United States declared war against Afghanistan. Unfortunately, a month later, 120, 000 troops were sent to Iraq and there is a common misconception, especially for Americans, that the Pakistani are in league with Afghanistan. Malik assured the audience that no Pakistani is a member of Al Queda or the Taliban. I found the lecture intriguing, mainly due to the fact that it’s interesting to hear the other side of the story.