يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنْ جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَنْ تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِين
"You who have iman! if a deviator brings you a report, scrutinize it carefully in case you attack people in ignorance and so come to greatly regret what you have done."
Muhammad Mustafa Mustaan was born in Afghanistan and witnessed first-hand the US invasion of the country
The recently released film "Lone Survivor" topped the box office after screening in cinemas. It had to do well as the storyline was based around four brave, invincible US Navy Seals facing in the Afghan war. After a compassionate decision of letting unarmed shepherds go free, they were caught in a firefight where US navy seals fought hundreds of Afghan Taliban fighters until the very last bullet. All of the navy seals perished except one 'lone survivor' who was offered protection after the rescue helicopter was shot down. The story did not end there as the lone survivor was protected by the people of a village, though he was still ready to fight with the only grenade left with him. Afterwards, the American army sent hundreds of soldiers, right in the middle of a firefight amongst hundreds of Taliban fighters and the few villagers who are trying to protect him.
The truth however is very different.
The true depiction of events is that a US Chinook helicopter was shot down in Eastern Afghanistan while it was transporting a number of Navy Seals to the area. One soldier survived the crash with severe injuries, who then managed to seek protection from an Afghan villager nearby. There was no firefight between the villagers and the Taliban, and the US did not dare to send any helicopter again and only sent a military convoy to the region two days later.
One needs to consider the following:
1. In Afghan-Pashtun culture, anyone who seeks 'Nanawatae' (protection) by entering any house, carrying no arms and as a true-seeker of help (the person must be in extreme need of help for his life) is protected by the family members as well as the people of the village. This applies even to enemy combatants.
2. In 2005 the Afghans were unaware of the reality and nature of the US armed forces, and hence were quite susceptible to provide protection to any soldier, especially if he was seriously injured.
3. The Taliban reorganized in 2003, however their numbers in individual units was only in the 10's and in rare cases up to 20. This continued well beyond 2005 and the numbers of the units only increased after thousands of Afghans joined the Taliban for the revenge of their family members who were killed by indiscriminate American air bombings and drone attacks. Until today the Taliban do not walk together in groups of more than 20 due to the fact that they can easily become targets of US signature strikes.
This movie is another desperate act by the US show it won the war and that the sacrifices were needed. This movie is another example of an incident which is completely misrepresented. It serves as an opportunistic tool to legitimize the unjustifiable war in the eyes of the general public. It is similar to the film 'The Hurt Locker,' which was based on an overly exaggerated account of those soldiers who were part of failed missions, including missions such as Blackhawk Down, where hundreds of American soldiers were killed in Mogadishu and in addition to two of their helicopters shot down and tens of their armored vehicles were destroyed.
While this movie and more of its types will sell well in the US and the Western world, in order to justify its inhumane war, it will not change the reality of the war in which the US is bleeding to death and the anger and outrage it continues to evoke in the Muslim world.
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