The Talibans occupying the territories of today’s Afghanistan has become a global problem, a problem that the modern world is not able to deal with yet. How is it possible that the most modern and powerful army in the world has not emerged victorious from Afghanistan? The answers should be sought in the history, the history of those who conquered and subjugated these areas, and were able to eliminate terrorists, whose scheme of operation remained unchanged.
„It was another night operation of Alexander and his mounted infantry, and another carried out with unbelieveble speed.” Insane speed was the key of his army’s military operations. Speed generates surprise, surprise generates success. From the rebellion of Thebes through the conquest of Bactria up to India, Alexander’s victories were based on an incredible army displacement. The ability to convince his soldiers to long strenuous marches and to endure inconvenience and hardships was invaluable. He was able to persuade them to do anything and although they had a grudge against him, they followed him. The most spectacular was the passage in 330 BC. the Chawak Pass, which opens the way to the present-day Panjsheer Valley (at the time of writing this text, this province is the only one that has not surrendered to the Taliban).
It was the middle of winter when Alexander and passed over the Khawak Pass with his army. It took him only two weeks. The march through the icy pass, in deep snow, in frost and wind, was an incredibly difficult journey. In addition, in the second week, the food ran out and in order to survive, pack animals had to be eaten, and because there was no firewood, the meat was eaten raw.
The sylphion juice, a herb that grows and is used as a medicine until now, protected them from getting sick. When the soldiers reached the summit of the pass at an altitude of 3,800 m above sea level, the view of northern Afghanistan appeard to their eyes. The usurper of the Persian throne, Bessos, was so amazed at Alexander’s winter crossing over the Hindu Kush Pass that, despite the 30,000 cavalry he had under command, he escaped via Oksos (Amu Darya), burning all the boats so that Alexander could not him pursue.
However for Alexander, there were no obstacles, not even rivers with swift currents and wide channels, or unconquered fortresses. He built rafts of skins and grass, and he threw bridges over chasms, at the mere sight of which enemies often surrendered their strongholds. Usually, after conquering the land, he handed over power to the defeated enemy, expecting only the loyalty to him as a ruler. Disloyalty was punished severely. „Alexander at all costs wanted to show that submission to Macedonian rule should be a priority option for his opponents.” The conquest and subjugation of the lands of today’s Afghanistan took Alexander two years. In an effort to prevent revolts, he left the satrapies of Bactria with a powerful unit of 10,000 infantry and 3,500 cavalry. He also took advantage of the thousands of people he had settled in his new cities. ” He also got married (for the first time) with the Bactrian princess Roxana, daughter of Oksyartes. This marriage strengthened his dominion in these territories more than any military conquest.
As a result of the actions taken by Alexander in these areas, after his death, Hellenic culture not only did not collapse, but survived until our times. As a result of the battles of the „heirs” after Alexander, Bactrian satrapy went to Seleucus I, one of his closest companions, who founded more cities, strengthening the Greek culture in the far east of the empire. After the Parthian uprising, the Bactrian Kingdom lost contact with the rest of the Seleucid Empire and became an independent state for over a hundred years, expanding its borders, maintaining its Hellenic profile, adapting the Greek alphabet to the Bactrian speech. The local doctors in Kandahar (hakim) trace their origins to the doctors who came here with Alexander’s expedition, and his influence on these lands is still felt today.
“The members of the sect adhered to an apparently simple and reliable strategy: to kill everyone, especially the leaders of powerful nations, who in any way opposed them. They dragged young men to their side, ready to die in battle in exchange for the promise that after death they would immediately go to paradise as martyrs for the Muslim faith. ” In the nearly 100 fortresses they founded, on impregnable peaks from Afghanistan to Syria, they set up special gardens in them, “where young men were intoxicated with a great amount of hashish and other otherworldly pleasures. Later, young people were provided with permanent access to hashish in order to obey them and make them fearless murderers. ” The use of drugs made the local people refer to them as hashashins, smokers of hashish. This is where their later name „Assassins” comes from.
The Mongol armies conquered and subjugated the territories where the Assassins appeared during the times of Genghis Khan, but when his grandson Mongke Khan decided to conquer Baghdad, the cultural and financial capital of the Arab world, on the way of an army led by Mongke’s brother Hulegu, one of the greatest commanders of those times, the Assassins appeard. The Great Nizarite Master sent envoys to Karakoram with an offer of alleged surrender, but they were rather assassins who would kill the great khan. The Mongols prevented the attack, and the Khan decided to completely destroy the sect and demolish its fortresses. Hulegu used the tactic of scare by the power and the benefits of grace. The troops attacked the Alamut, the most important fortress of the Assassins from all sides. At the same time information of grace in the event of surrender was sent to the imam of the sect. On January 19, 1256, the imam surrendered to the army of Hulegu. In the spring of 1257, all the assassin fortresses fell. „After the destruction of the Assassin sect, Hulegu’s army paved the way for Baghdad, the largest and richest Muslim city.”
The siege of Baghdad once again revealed the Mongols’ ability to improvise. They used date palms to throw missiles and began bombing the city. Hulegu destroyed the dams and diverted the Tigris river to flood the Caliph’s camp. The siege, which began in the last week of January, ended with the capitulation on February 5, 1258. “515 years have passed since the city was founded. In the era of its hegemony, Baghdad swallowed the whole world like an insatiable leech. The city was finally punished for the bloodshed and the evil it had done; the harm was avenged.
In just two years, the Mongolian army accomplished a deed that, despite efforts repeated for two centuries, was unsuccessful for neither the European Crusaders in the West nor the Seljuk Turks in the East. The Mongols conquered the center of the Arab world. No foreign troops were able to occupy Baghdad afterwards, let alone all of Iraq – until the US-British invasion of 2003. Forty years from the occupation of Bukhara by Genghis Khan to the fall of Baghdad is the darkest page in the history of Muslims. „
Vigilia Pretium Libertatis
The two stories shed different light on the today’s Taliban, whose Assassins were moral and religious ancestors, a light which, however, somehow permeates and complements each other. Courage, consistency, creativity, improvisation, panache, and fearlessness are the qualities that neither Alexander’s nor Huleg’s army have lacked. They acted by surprise and with a clear plan. They knew what they were going for, how to win and how to organize the life of the conquered territories after the victory. They offered peace, freedom of belief, religion and culture, but for the betrayal they show no mercy by murdering the rebels to the last and destroying the cities they occupied. Ruthlessness towards evil scared the followers away. What have we learned today from our ancestors? What can we learn from Alexander and the Mongolian khans? Where did we go wrong? I am writing because Poland is a part of not only NATO, but above all of the Western World, this civilization that brought freedom to the world, which today may not always be understood correctly in the tolerance that is blown up to the point of absurdity, but this is a freedom about which the inhabitants of most of the world can only dream.
In a few days, we will be celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center. It will be the saddest of anniversaries. More sad than the former, because two decades after the attack on the free world, due to the decisions of American democrats, the sense of relative security, which we had so hard to rebuild, in just a few days collapsed like Baghdad under the pressure of the Mongols. There will be no elections in the fall in the US, there is no hope for changes. The Taliban have time, they are like a thief who calmly waits and watches to break into our lives at the best moment. We will not be prepared for this moment. You cannot be afraid that each day may bring death in an attack. So far, Panjshir has not surrendered yet. Afghanistan’s last hope, the West’s last hope, Freedom’s last hope …
Taliban revenge will not wait. For twenty years they had been preparing to take the power. They have gained a lot of new tools, they have support from abroad, not only from countries that want to weaken the position of the US or the EU, but also individual terrorist organizations. When and from which side will retaliation take place? They will not be in a rush. They have time. The last twenty years have been technological advances in various spheres, not bypassed by the Taliban. WTC, with what they prepared for us, was only a small firework.
And those who urge us to accept refugees today should be aware that this is going drawn death or anger of the Taliban. With the support of Putin, who de facto rules Belarus, the only option to save human lives in Europe is the EU’s decision to build a wall along the entire eastern border. The wall not against refugees, because those from Afghanistan did not fly to Minsk, but against terrorists whose presence in Europe is in interest of China, Russia and several other regimes. Otherwise, we’ll start counting the casualties on our side.
It was not possible to create the Greek-Bactrian Kingdom in Afghanistan, as did Alexander, where two cultures of the East and the West lived together and for each other. It was not possible to destroy the sect of modern assassins like the grandson of Genghis Khan did. We have to protect ourselves, to try to protect those who remained there, abandoned by their allies, by us, by the decision of one man – Joe Biden.
There is no hope of peace. That is why you need to prepare for war, because, as the inscription at the entrance to the NATO headquarters in Mons says: Vigilia Pretium Libertatis.
Text: Simon White