Encouraged by this blog’s first-ever incoming link (thank you, Mr. Marton) I went down memory lane and dug up my notes from my trips to Afghanistan in the early 90s.
It turns out my interview with Hekmatyar was worse than I remembered. I must’ve written it hunkered down in the cellar of the BBC house in Kabul (the safest place for reporters those days), dead tired and sick from the Romanian canned chicken (don’t ask…) myself and Mirwais had bought from the only vendor still operating in the rocket-blasted bazar.
Published February 28, 1993, the interview features pearls of wisdom such as:
The jihad will continue. It is not just a holy war against foreign invaders. It means any kind of struggle to create an Islamic system of government. That is why jihad is not over in Afghanistan.
I want an independent and non-aligned Afghanistan with a government chosen by the people — no more, no less. The Afghan people deserve this after fighting for it for 14 years.
To those struggling to stay alive a few miles up the road in the ruins of the capital while Hizb rockets rained down on them, Hekmatyar had this to say:
Do not flee. We fight for your human rights.