Mark Johnson: Where have all the Mujahideen gone? |

Mark Johnson: Where have all the Mujahideen gone?

Decades ago, I resided in a quiet little burg in the East Bay. I was a single, hard working, recently divorced father of two. My work often took me up and down the West Coast.

I was and still am a gregarious, inquisitive type of guy. Because I am that type of guy, I was able to befriend and gain insight into the mujahideen.

The year was 1990 … The nearest convenience store/gas station was three blocks from my dwelling. I gassed up here, bought my smokes here, my beer, beef jerky, sodas, etc. I was at this store, for one reason or another, often. And I was fortunate to become friends of the recent owner, an Afghani refugee, a member of the mujahideen relocated by the U.S. government to my vicinity after the end of the Soviet/Afghani conflict.

His name was Achmed, and he fought alongside Osama Bin Laden. He was supplied with cash, weapons, ammunition and sustenance by the U.S. government. Once relocated to the East Bay, he was granted by our tax dollars this new lease on life, this convenience store/gas station.

We talked often, whether he was on one side of the counter and I on the other or in his spartan, cramped closet of an office while we sipped our beers after long days of toil. His English was impeccable, though heavily accented. He was a disciple of Mohammad, but that made no never mind to me. He was kind, articulate, educated, and he was my friend. We confided in each other.

Many discussions were held about his role, his and others, about their waging war against yet another invader to “the graveyard of empires. How another invader was foolish enough to believe that puppet governments could be installed against the will of the people in his land.

And then, the U.S. government stepped in by providing the people, although in clandestine manners, the ability to draw out the Soviet/Afghani conflict to a nine-year stalemate.

I once asked Achmed over a cold beer why the Soviets withdrew after great loss of blood and treasure. Was it the will of the people, such as Osama Bin Laden himself and countless others, others supplied by our tax dollars, that made the invaders take heed of their own fallacies and then cut and run?

Achmed was quick to answer, with an emphatic “No!” It was the mujahideens’ effort against average Soviet citizens inside Russia that made Breshnev remove his troops. The mujahideen began to wage war against innocent Soviets, just as the Soviets and their puppet Communist regime had waged war against the innocent Afghani citizens.

The mujahideen began to wage war against the Soviets at bus stations, train stations, markets, military installations, etc., by slipping suicide bombers across their common border, into the heart of the Soviet motherland.

Scores of innocent Soviets and military personnel were injured, maimed and killed by men and women wearing explosive laden vests. Vests filled with ball bearings, nuts and bolts, nails, even stones — and enough explosives to propel these objects at extreme velocities into the crowds that were successfully infiltrated by these desperate people … these terrorists, if you may.

After Achmed’s decisive, enlightening answer, I had one more pertinent question regarding the successful expulsion of the Soviets in 1989. “Now that the Soviets have left your country, will the mujahideen continue its terrorist attacks against the Soviets as a severe form of retribution, acts conceived as willful acts of vengeance?”

Again, Achmed answered quickly and decisively, although this time with a beaming smile, ‘“No! Our mission was to repel the invaders, to free our land from the oppressive yoke of Communism. We have no desire to extract revenge. We will not wreak havoc on people with whom we are not at war. We no longer have reason to harm the Soviets. The mujahideen will not perpetuate this tragedy.”

Recent Sunday morning news shows are now history. I’ve watched and listened to political pundits on both sides of the aisle on each diverse television network. I’ve heard statements again and again by war-mongering politicians, generals, admirals, soothsayers and military weapons stockholders about how we are making our motherland less safe and extremely vulnerable to terrorist attacks emanating from Afghanistan by not leaving thousands of military personnel in that country for an untold amount of time.

After insight provided long ago by my friend Achmed, an ally of both Osama Bin Laden and these United States, I do not believe the false, fear-mongering banter pushed by the paid shill politicians, military leaders, weapons makers and pundits … and neither should you.

Mark Johnson lives in Grass Valley.

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