As the morning sun rays reflect across the lofty peaks of mountains overlooking Kabul and bring in the dawn of a new morning every day, the Hindu Kush range stands sentinel as it has watch Alexander’s army marching through deep gorges and rocky deserts of Afghanistan and the British troops huddling back through the passes to India, as well as the Soviets crossing the Oxus River on their way back home. Hindu Kush has seen many a foreign warriors and their kings, and military captains of war, coming and perishing in the land of the Afghans.Is it a redoubt of history, an empire smasher, a shattered zone of superpowers, the abode of Afghan spirit, or an enigma most misunderstood in the history of mankind? It seems that the Hindu Kush and its Afghan people will always remain a mystery. Spanning the good part of Pakistan’s tribal areas and Afghanistan’s eastern halve, the Hindu Kush draws its name from the power struggle that led to Central Asians colonising good old India and taking away the captive Hindus through the harsh and unkind freezing mountains to Central Asia, some of them dying en route, thus giving it the name Hindu Kush or the killer of Hindus.But the Hindu Kush and its people have the culture of freedom nurtured by nature and history over a period of number of millennia. Irrespective of who tried to come here as an occupier, the Afghans have fought with the spirit of a tiger and the patience of an elephant; and made sure that the occupier leaves their land, lock, stock and barrel even at the cost of long wars, and suffering of the Afghans and their children, spanning decades. Today, it is the turn of Yankees and their cohorts to learn it the hard way! Intoxicated with notions of invincibility, the US-led Nato came into the historical trap with slogans of ‘shock and awe’ and Bush doctrine, and with an apparently benign role of liberators of Afghanistan, having smashed the rule of Taliban regime and installing Hamid Karzai, the Nato commanders thought they had proven history wrong. Probably, they did not read the treatises and epitaphs of British and Soviets engrained on the tombstones of erstwhile superpowers written with the Afghan blood, despite having firsthand knowledge of the strength of Afghan spirit in the Afghan jihad.The Hindu Kush today has become Nato-Kush; the mightiest superpower of our time with the latest military technology and virtually with support of the international community is packing up and preparing to leave the Hindu Kush mountains in disgrace. The Afghan freedom fighters are everywhere, from the Camp Bastion of the Brits in Kandahar to the very heart of the green zone in Bagram Airbase manned by Yankees, and from the desolate desert of Herat to the lofty peaks of the Nato-Kush mountains. The so-called ‘green on blue’ attacks are becoming the order of the day. Despite denial of this phenomenon, as individual acts by reactionary Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers, by Isaf’s senior commanders, it is a well known fact that the freedom fighters have already penetrated the rank and file of ANA through an elaborate strategy spanning the last decades or so; some of the Taliban sympathisers have reached the rank of colonels. The current wave of ‘green on blue’ attacks is just the unveiling of a new strategy of the freedom fighters and is likely to play a major role in the coming days and months. The Afghan resolve for freedom from Nato’s occupation has been further strengthened by the Holy Quran’s burning by American troops in Afghanistan and recent telecast of a blasphemous film targeting the personality of our beloved Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in the US. The fear factor is overtaking the US and Nato troops, and officer cadre alike! The freedom fighters’ ability to track each and every move of Nato can be gauged from the recent attack on Camp Bastion and targeting of British troops and aircrafts on the birthday of Prince Harry, who after a controversial voyage of Las Vegas last month, was performing his ‘Royal’ duties there. The Nato troops have been given some strange orders and rules of engagement. Yesterday every man and women, boy and girl, old and young Afghan was a suspect and could be killed on grounds of suspicion (less the ANA officers and soldiers); today every ANA officer and solider is to be looked as a suspect with orders to shoot to kill. Today, the Nato soldier cannot sleep with his eyes closed; cannot move in his own camp freely; and cannot rely on the ANA soldier when he goes out on joint patrolling. The Nato convoys and logistic bases are unsafe and the aircrafts parked in hangers or taking off from Bagram and Kandahar or Mazar-i-Sharif are no surer of a safe landing or takeoff.The fear factor gripping Nato soldiers can be compared with the fear of British soldiers in the Second Afghan War in the late nineteenth century. Out of thousands of British and Indian soldiers killed by the Afghans in the Hindu Kush range and its subsidiaries, the surviving British stragglers were intentionally left out to go back alive and tell the story of Afghan revenge so that no British soldier would walk into the Afghan land with the aim of occupying it. History seems to be going in circles and repeating itself time and again; the Hindu Kush becoming Nato-Kush, reminds all future adventures that the Afghan land belongs to the Afghans and they hate any one sharing it as an occupier. The article ends with some lines from Rudyard Kipling mourning the rout of 66th British Regiment of Foot in the Battle of Maiwand at the hands of Afghans, which was fought on July 27, 1880. An' there ain't no chorus 'ere to give,Nor there ain't no band to play;But I wish I was dead 'fore I done what I did,Or seen what I seed that day!

The writers are freelance columnists based in Zimbabwe.Email: yalla_umar@yahoo.com