Monday, April 25, 2016

Confessions of a Mullah Warrior

For my last book I made a slight deviation and read Confessions of a Mullah Warrior by Masood Farivar. Confessions is a the memoir of an Afghan who in the late in 1980's fought against the Soviets. The Afghanistan-Soviet war definitely it isn't a Post-Soviet conflict, but I certainly find it interesting ... and I have a lot of figures suitable for it now. I'm a big fan of war memoirs so I went with this one.

Farivar (born 1969) grew up in a relatively middle class family in the town of Sheberghan, Afghanistan. His grandfather was a revered mullah and his father was a highly educated, prideful man. With his family he escaped into Pakistan and lived as a refugee. There he received a religious education, became more faithful and eventually became a mujaheddin fighter. After the war he was able to attend Harvard University and work as a journalist in the US. The book concludes by describing two return journeys he made to Afghanistan one while the country was under control of the Taliban and one afterwards.

Farivar's description of his experience as a mujaheddin does not include much interaction with Soviet troops (slight bummer), but he does a great job explaining the situation and motivation of the later fight and civil war. I doubt there are many mujaheddin memoirs in English or as balanced as this one, so although my knowledge of the Soviet-Afghanistan war is still somewhat limited I consider this book to be a true gem.

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