Senior Afghan diplomat and politician Masood Khalili's book, Whispers of War, takes one back to the days when he, then a young political activist, was mobilising Afghans to rise up against the Soviets.
The book, translated into English by his young son Mahboob Khalili, came out of a diary; one of many diaries full of letters which he wrote to his wife as he travelled through the country.
“Then, there was no media. I was on the move for months, sometime on the back of my donkey,” Khalili recounts.
“Today, if you are on CNN or the BBC, you can send a message out to millions in a minute,” the 67-year-old Khalili, who now serves as the Afghan envoy to Spain, said in New Delhi.
He has served in India earlier and was in New Delhi when the Taliban took over Kabul. He had then threatened the Indian Foreign Ministry that he would work out of Chandni Chowk if India were to recognise the Taliban regime.
A close friend and advisor to Ahmad Shah Massoud, the legendary leader of the Northern Alliance, Khalili was, in fact, in the same room when Massoud was assasinated by Al Qaeda suicide bombers, who came in masquerading as journalists. Khalili was injured, but survived.
He is frustrated with war. It has brought nothing but misery. And he is distraught that Afghanistan continues to go through political instability, terrorism and violence, which is sometime supported by sections of the security establishment in neighbouring Pakistan.
“If my donkey was alive, he would laugh at us humans. Donkeys do not go around burning houses, or looting,” he says, though he is hopeful that the situation will change for the better.
In this conversation with Catch, Khalili talks about the book, the unstable and volatile political situation in Afghanistan, how to deal with the Taliban, Pakistan's continued support to terror outfits, and more.