After finish listening this episode, I think I have a better understanding of the whole situation.
Taliban is a cross-regional group, which acts in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. They cooperate with Haqqani network, which is not only the “Sopranos” in the local community but also nurtured by the US CIA and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) during the 1980s Soviet-Afghan War. Pakistan Army going well with Haqqani because they see Haqqani and Taliban as their allies to “against” India (although I still confused about what is the conflict between India and Pakistan, and how their ally works.) Also, there are Taliban in Afghanistan and Taliban in Pakistan. Haqqani works as a communicator between Pakistani government and Taliban in Pakistan. I heard that in 2012, the US designated the Haqqani network as a terrorist organization.
Taliban keeping these Americans is for exchange hostage.
I learned that the young soldiers, the young Taliban soldiers, seems to brainwash by their education and they only allowed one interpretation of the Koran. I think that is a very effective way to develop a terrorist group, by spreading the fear or hate towards western, and the extreme compliance towards their religion.
In this episode, Bowe mentioned that he was tortured by someone, who seems want to relive his anger towards the US. I did a little bit of research about “Pashtunwali,” some non-written ethics codes for Pashtun people, and basically, they are:
Forgiveness and Asylum (Nanawatai)
Justice and Revenge (Nyaw aw Badal)
Respect, Pride, and Courage (Pat, Wyaar aw Meraana)
Protection of Women (Naamus)
Among all these, I noticed the word “Justice and Revenge”. If Pashtun, when they have a conflict with others, rely on the Koran more than the modern articles of law, it explains why the guy tortured Bowe. These young Muslims may see Americans as some evil guys who disturb their way of life, also destroys their homeland. They want the US to get punishment, so they can only use violence to reach their “justice.” This kind of code may be the base for terrorism — one of the reasons the terrorist groups are included by local communities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Among these codes, there is also “protection of women.” According to my research Pashtun see women as man’s property, as land and water. I guess that’s why, so far, there is no interview for women in that area. No matter the US soldier or the Taliban, there are no women.
The last thing I noticed that is hospitality. I remember in the previous episode, someone said they try to dance to please Bowe, but Bowe denies that. I think these people may tell the truth since it is one of their traditions, but they still need to have “loyalty,” “honor,” and “faith” for their religion and institution, so maybe some of them don’t want to let Bowe suffer but they have no choice. They are asked to obey the commend.
I heard Taliban used to govern Afghanistan, and for me, it’s already hard to image, but with Haqqani, the local gang trained by the CIA, I feel the situation is much more complicated than I thought. I almost forget there are other countries involving in that area, like India and Russia. Usually, when talking about terrorism, I think about the middle east, for example, people who speak Arabic and forget about South Asia. They are actually right next to China and I feel they are so far from me. Because of the location, I guess the situation in Afghanistan can be more complex than the middle east since there are more nations and more religions, which the border conflict between India and Pakistan.
I wonder, why the US decided to attack both Iraq and Afghanistan. Does the US government really think they are capable? I feel the US does not prepare well for wars there. “At the hearing, Russell was asked, basically, how bad did Bowe have it? And Russell said you’d have to go back to the jungle camps in Vietnam to begin to compare. Quote, ‘Sergeant Bergdahl’s experience—and I don’t know, sir, that I can give you a percentage—but his experience ranks at the same echelon of the most horrible conditions of captivity that we’ve seen in the last 60 years,’ unquote. ” It sounds that they do not expect what Bowe experienced, and they still need to go back to the Vietnam war period to compare. I think the US should know more than that and prepared for things like kidnapping, at least talking about medical treatment.
Besides, I think different states may have a different definition of terrorism. Each government has its own enemies. Maybe for the US, Taliban is terrorism, but for Pakistan, it is not. Even for the same target, states may have a different policy towards it. Therefore, it is hard to let states work together to “fight with” terrorism. “War on Terror” may never be a universal action or has a clear definition. Before I heard the Serial, I think the whole world already get a common view on terrorism and everyone would love to fight for anti-terrorism, but now it seems wrong.