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Afghan Prince says U.S. and Coalition Forces making big mistake


By Kathleen Wells, political correspondent for Race-Talk

Prince Abdul Ali Seraj

Prince Abdul Ali Seraj is a direct descendant of nine generations of kings of Afghanistan. He is also the president of the National Coalition for Dialogue with Tribes of Afghanistan, a grassroots trans-tribal movement that has had much success in unifying all the tribes and an organization that works towards the goal of dealing with the after-effects of deprivations suffered by the Afghan peoples in the past and helping to eliminate present suffering. In Part 1 of our interview, we discussed the women of Afghanistan. In this interview, Part II, we discuss the significance and relevance of the tribes. LISTEN NOW - 34 minutesKathleen Wells: I am speaking with Prince Abdul Ali Seraj. He is speaking with me from Kabul, and he is the head of the National Coalition for Dialogue with Tribes of Afghanistan. Thank you, Prince Seraj, for taking the time to speak with me.

Prince Abdul Ali Seraj:
Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity. Isn't technology wonderful? We are halfway around the world. At least you can see me and I cannot see you, but we are talking to each other over the computer. It's wonderful.

Kathleen Wells: Yeah, I think it's fantastic. Well, you know that in Part I of our interview, we discussed the role of women in Afghanistan. So today, Part II, I'd like to focus on the role and significance of the tribes in Afghanistan.

Prince Seraj:
Absolutely! That's my favorite topic …

Kathleen Wells: That's your favorite topic?

Prince Seraj: …after the women of Afghanistan, because as you know that our family lost the throne of Afghanistan because we supported the women of Afghanistan some 90 years ago. So I am glad that we are talking about this, my second favorite topic, which is the Afghan tribes.

Kathleen Wells: Well, first let me start with an overview. Give me your position on the US military presence in Afghanistan.

Prince Seraj: US military presence in Afghanistan is a welcome situation. Afghans and Americans have been friends for a long time. If I were to give a description of an American, I would draw a big heart because Americans, like Afghans, speak with their hearts.

Just to go on the sideline for a minute, there are a lot of similarities between us -- the Afghans and the Americans. We are the only two nations in the world that have fought the British and gotten our independence from them. We are the only two nations in the world that fought communism in Afghanistan. We were the soldiers, and you were actually the generals, so to speak. You supplied the weapons and we supplied the manpower to bring the Soviets – the Red Army -- down to its knees and get rid of world communism. And third, we are the only two nations to pick up arms against the al-Qaeda and the Taliban when the United States came to Afghanistan in the end of 2001 after the 9/11 incident. There were no other nations supporting the United States. It was the people of Afghanistan on the ground and the US Air Force together that got rid of the al-Qaeda and Taliban of Afghanistan and freed Afghanistan from the al-Qaeda disaster.

The Afghans, when you greet them, they put their hands on their hearts and the Americans are very, very giving people. When there is a problem anywhere in the world, they open up their purses and their hearts to help. So there are a lot of similarities between the strongest nation in the world, which is United States, and the weakest, right now, which is Afghanistan.

So when the United States troops arrived in Afghanistan, we greeted them as heroes, because, since we always looked upon the Americans as our friends, we really appreciated that they have come to our help once again, to help rid this country of the al-Qaeda and the foreign Talib threat. So, even today, with the amount of problems that the US troops are facing in Afghanistan and the amount of misunderstandings and the collateral damage -- which I don't believe in very much -- which has taken place in Afghanistan, there is still a soft spot in the hearts of Afghanistan -- of the Afghan people -- for the Americans.

So I hope that answers the question -- I took a long way but I just want to make sure that there is no misunderstanding. The Afghan people do not have anything against the Americans except good feelings.

I worked in Lash Kargah long time ago when the Americans were helping build the Helmut Valley Project and we had all Afghans, from all ethnic groups, working side by side with the Americans.

The thing that concerns the Afghans more so now than before is that they have asked me -- especially the people from the south, from Helmand -- they have told me -- they said -- why have the Americans abandoned us? They came to the Helmand Valley; we worked together. Then they build the Kajaki Dam; they build the Gereshk Power Plant; they build the roads; they build the highways. We worked together as brothers. How come they abandon us and allowed the British, our old enemies, to come to Helmand and rekindle the Second Anglo-Afghan War?

Prince Abdul Ali Seraj greets General Richards, Commander of the NATO/Coalitioan forces for Afghanistan. Courtesy of