A tumultuous history has embroiled Afghanistan since the 1978 communist coup d'etat. After more than 40 years of civil war, peace remains as elusive as ever. What if an Afghan hero had emerged, who with brilliant foresight had transformed the 1979 Soviet invasion into a success for the Afghans?

You can find the book here.

I will not answer any questions that can be used to personally identify me. I finished writing this book a year ago, but did not have the courage to publish it. In order to process the generational trauma, I had to unpack a lot of delusions and propaganda. I worry for the safety of my family that still live in Afghanistan if my writings were associated with them. Recent events have convinced me to publish.

I will be happy to answer any questions about the book or my journey through the trauma. I can make a copy of the e-book and the pdf version available for free if there is interest. The book is self-published using amazon kdp.

I have created an instagram page where I shared some sections of the book and information on people I consider the real heroes of Afghanistan. I am also looking to get the book on audible, if anyone wants to get involved with that please email me directly at [email protected]

Comments: 96 • Responses: 29  • Date: 

darshilj9755 karma

Where do you feel that things started going wrong for Afghanistan? Was there are a way in Hindsight that could have avoided the current condition. There are multiple countries grasping with thier own extremist elements.

laleh_pishrow65 karma

I would like to answer your question more specifically. I think Abdul Ghaffar Khan offered us a way to avoid the current situation. As a nation we rejected his appeal and instead embraced violence.

darshilj9712 karma

I have heard of him he was in as Frontier Gandhi if i am not mistaken.

laleh_pishrow23 karma

Yes. Unfortunately, he is more well known in India than in Afghanistan today.

setting-mellow43321 karma

I also think a lot of Americans aren't aware of Afghanistan's connections with British India and the country's role in the 1947 partition. It's a very important point because it was the roots of political developments that led to the wars up to and including the events of the past weeks.

laleh_pishrow11 karma

Here is a scene from this alternate history that you may enjoy:

Abdul Ghaffar Khan visited the Indian parliament, stood beside a newly reelected Indira Gandhi and declared that "Hindustan has repaid its debt to the Khoda-i-Khedmatgar." This was some three decades after he had declared to the same parliament "You have thrown us to the wolves," when the Indian parliament accepted partition. An old stain worn by every Indian politician wearing a Nehru suit or a simple Sari was washed clean that day.

Norwedditor1 karma

Is anyone known in Afghanistan these days? It feels like a country with a secluded past and well it's a "country".

laleh_pishrow4 karma

Yes. The focus is on people like Ahmad Shah Massoud, Zahir Khan, Ahmad Shah Abdali, etc.

laleh_pishrow29 karma

Yes! This is the subject of the book. I think we Afghans could have avoided this fate. It would have been a hard road, but one with a better ending than this one.

skrulewi33 karma

Whats one thing that you think Americans, with our attention on Afghanistan largely fixated on Al Queda and the Taliban and 911, don't understand about Afghanistan?

laleh_pishrow74 karma

Everything. Afghanistan is a puzzle to Afghans themselves. It has been very difficult for outsiders to understand us.

I find something basic that most westerners are surprised by is the landscape of Afghanistan. I have surprised many people by searching "Afghanistan landscape".

RemDress5 karma

I clicked the link and audibly gasped and said "beautiful"

inckalt8 karma

The silver lining is that this beautiful landscape won't be sullied by hordes of tourists for now.

laleh_pishrow23 karma

Abdullah would agree with you! Haha! This is my favourite comment so far. Here are some relevant quotes from the book:

Quote 1:

The crowd was made up of students and people that lived in the valley. Mostly Afghans. Abdullah didn’t mind the central Asian students who studied at Dawlatyar university. After all, they too were a part of a shared heritage. He didn’t even mind the Russian students and professors. Afghanistan had been an Islamic centre of knowledge in the past and it was only fair that it was becoming one again; he reasoned many things with himself thus. The tourists, however, he did mind. They would wake up at lunch and roam around the city. At night they would be loud, and worse yet, they would be drunk.

Quote 2:

It irritated Abdullah that the Russians had imposed their notion of architecture on this beautiful Afghan valley. They had replaced small mud homes, each completely unique, by raising lifeless apartments that were perfect rectangular prisms. They had replaced the banks of the river which had meandered so enthusiastically with straight concrete walls that never changed. To get his mind off this travesty, as he saw it, Abdullah imagined that the river was as it had been two generations ago. He imagined that he and his sister were leaves flowing slowly on the sides of the river, as the current rushed through the middle and waves hit the clay shores. He imagined a small canal that weaved off the Hari-Rud and flowed gently past a mosque made of mud, hay and coves. This was a place Abdullah often fantasized about finding.

Attygalle27 karma

It's probably in your book but since I haven't read that - do you think a multi-state solution, breaking up the country in several smaller countries, would help things? I know the idea was discussed a decade ago (and without a doubt before and after that as well). Afghani regions seem to be quite ethnically distinct and decentralization might help some regions in getting some form of peace and stability. But it might also leave other regions to the whims of local warlords, even more than already is the case. Any insights from an Afghan perspective?

laleh_pishrow40 karma

I think our problems run deeper than what politics can solve. Another political system might be more efficient, but I don't think it will fundamentally solve our problems.

drop_panda16 karma

I live in a country with many refugees. Is there something I should know or can do to be more empathetic to the experiences and likely trauma that many people carry with them? How does the experience of learning to live in a new country differ when you come as a refugee compared to when you voluntarily move to a foreign country/culture?

laleh_pishrow50 karma

Every experience is unique. I think if you listen to the stories of people you will help them to carry the pain. Asking someone to sit over a cup of tea and tell you about their life is the best way to empathize. Forget the grand stories and abstract ideas. Talk to the person directly. Talk to them about what is alive in them. Their needs, hopes, fears, etc.

GotSmokeInMyEye12 karma

Haven't read the book so I'll ask, what do you think is the one single most simple thing that could have been done differently to change the history of Afghanistan? Like if you could only go back in time for one day or maybe one week, what could be done differently to change the country for the better?

laleh_pishrow14 karma

I propose such an event in the book. It is called the "War of Reunification". I set out to write about such an event. Then the plot and the characters challenged me back. I don't want to spoil it too much, but I found that my ideas when I first started writing the book were misguided.

_Wyse_11 karma

Any plans to have it put out as an audio book on Audible soon?

laleh_pishrow15 karma

I just made an edit to the original post to say I am open for collaborating on that.

charliemuffin7 karma

Publish under a Pen Name and DON'T give information that can identify you or your family in the book.

  1. Where do you see the direction of Afghanistan?

  2. What do you think of USA pulling out?

  3. Do you live outside of the country?

  4. What are your plans for life and future?

laleh_pishrow13 karma

  1. I don't like to predict the future.

  2. I think it could have been handled better, but I see it as only one of many terrible events in Afghan history.

  3. Yes.

  4. This book is my farewell to Afghanistan. I would like to move on from the pain now. I will see what the universe brings to me next.

charliemuffin6 karma

Thanks for the replies. Wishing you and your family the best.

laleh_pishrow8 karma

Thanks, I wish you and your family the best also.

CheesyFrogErotica7 karma

How do you feel about the current situation.And what do you think the ideal solution is?

laleh_pishrow22 karma

I am saddened by the current situation. I don't think there is any simple solution. I discuss a long term approach for a solution in the book.

Penny_D7 karma

What do you feel draws other nations to Afghanistan? Sure America's War on Terror might have been the reason for 20 year occupation of the country but it isn't the only country to have to have tried to control the region.

Best of luck!

laleh_pishrow27 karma

What do you feel draws other nations to Afghanistan? Sure America's War on Terror might have been the reason for 20 year occupation of the country but it isn't the only country to have to have tried to control the region.

This is an amazing observation. Sometimes people talk about opium. Other times they talk about an oil & gas pipeline. Now they are talking about minerals. I don't know what draws other people to Afghanistan. The mountains draw me there. Here are some quotes from the book:

Quote 1:

‘The city is dead with lies. The barren mountains and hills are alive with Truth,’ Abdullah kept thinking as he walked back into the city.

Quote 2:

What then is an Afghan? Afghans are a people who have lived for centuries in the valleys, nurtured by rivers that stem from the mountain ranges west of the Himalayas. These mountains are old and sacred; they have been a centre and crossroads of human civilizations for many millennia. The waters that flow from them have flowered Afghans, a most hospitable people and a most inhospitable people. Every Afghan is born with two hearts, one tempered with the gentleness of a child and another with an endurance like their mountains. This is true of all people, as we are all born of the same mother, the earth. It is exaggerated in the Afghan, because the Afghan is formed in an exaggerated geography within the earth. The mountain peaks capture the eyes right away, then as one lowers their gaze the towering, solid, gray and static mountains give way to arid cracked land with a buff color. This then gives way to lush green fields, which are fed by a hundred canals on soil so rich in nutrients that plants will grow with only a hint of water.

Quote 3:

The warm spring breeze found its way past the mountains and hills and passed over Dawlatyar, layer by layer, wave by wave. It covered the rectangular buildings, the detached homes, the duplexes, and the old homes. The breeze made little waves over the Hari-Rud as it danced through the canal. Then it made its way back up into the hills and through the mountains which had stood there for as long as anyone remembers and will for as long as there will be anyone to witness them.

Scary_Refrigerator907 karma

How would you say that writing the book helped you process the generational trauma? Is it that it slowed down your thoughts to think about what had happened to Afghanistan over the years or viewing the situation through a fictional character allowed you to imagine a wider range of experiences or something else? Also I want to congratulate you for finishing the book on such a personal subject!

laleh_pishrow19 karma

I started the book with the aim of showing which side was "wrong" and how things could have been better if the "right" side had won. I had a lot of pain and I wanted to express it. It was meant to be a rebuttal of certain ideas that I considered responsible for the disaster in Afghanistan. Abdullah was meant to be the antagonist.

I wanted to stay honest as I was writing but found it extremely challenging. This led me to examine all of the narratives, both the ones I believed were true and the ones I believed were false. I tried to stay faithful to the characters themselves and that drove the plot to a place I did not expect. When I reread what I had written I saw that the rebuttal was not just against those whom I believed were "wrong" but also against myself. The personal solution that the characters offered was far better than the abstract one that had motivated me to write the book.

Seregrauko415 karma

Very happy for you that you decided to publish. Sounds like the right thing to do.

I'd like to know your view on the American invasion in 2001; the way in which it happened, the reason for it, and if you agree with it or not?

I'm an EU infantry veteran who deployed to the Balkans but declined Iraq and Afghanistan deployments for political reasons and ideological convictions, so hearing the reflections of an Afghan national holds particular interest to me.

I wish you and your family all the best in future endeavours!

laleh_pishrow16 karma

I think violence is a tool that sometimes produces an environment in which progress is encouraged. Other times it produces an environment in which progress is discouraged. As a general rule, I believe we use violence too often and could do better with less of it. We Afghans are accustomed to violence and don't shun it. I think it would serve us to learn more about non-violent approaches to conflict resolution at this time.

I would like to see an improvement in the quality of life for Afghans. I want peace and prosperity in my homeland. I don't care about the politics anymore. The 2001 invasion improved the lives of a lot of people because a lot of money entered Afghanistan and the economy improved. Almost all of it was lost to corruption but the lives of people did improve. A limited amount of freedom did enter the lives of people. I can't be against that.

What I would have liked more than the 2001 invasion would have been a movement that brought about personal changes in individuals. I would like to see domestic violence decrease. I would like to see child nutrition to improve. I would like to see unemployment to decrease. I would like to see people be kinder to each other every day. I would like to see literacy to increase. Those are the kinds of changes I can support wholeheartedly. A lot of that did happen as a result of the 2001 invasion, but I wonder how much more could have been done if those things were the stated goal instead of "defeating the Taliban".

Frenzy_MacKenzie2 karma

What does 'success for Afghans' look like for homosexuals?

laleh_pishrow1 karma

I am not sure I understand the question. Success for Afghans means that Afghans would live prosperous lives.

GreatMarta2 karma

Have you met other Afghani authors? Are there some you would like to meet, if it were possible?

laleh_pishrow3 karma

My favourite Afghan author is Atiq Rahimi. I think A curse on Dostoevsky is a masterpiece that every Afghan should read. He says in it that the solutions for Afghan problems can be found in Crime and Punishment. I would agree with that. His other book, the Patience Stone, is more accessible for non-Afghans. I would love to meet him one day.


Do you consider a return to monarchy a solution to disunity in Afghanistan and other countries in similar situations?

laleh_pishrow2 karma

I don't think any type of political reorganization imposed from the top will offer meaningful solutions to our problems.

whokillerthedogwas2 karma

How has writing this book helped you process the generational trauma? What were the recent events that convinced you to publish?

laleh_pishrow2 karma

I answered a bit about this in another question. I was motivated to publish this because I want my people's suffering to come to an end. I am tired of seeing images of Afghans in pain because we keep making the same mistake over and over again.

GISP1 karma

I think you can relate to the book New Blood.
The Auther is a Danish journalist whom tells the story from many perspectives to open the eyes of us westerners to the daily struckles the youth of Afghanistan faces.

Anyways, now that Taliban is mostly in control, how is your daily life changing?

laleh_pishrow2 karma

I will check out the book. I am not in Afghanistan anymore.

chrisdrinkbeer1 karma

Is this a sequel to Belson’s Lament? He was a creature of the Beltway the whole time

laleh_pishrow1 karma

I don't get this reference. What is it from?

unidos19941 karma

What do you think of Shah Massoud? Do you think, had he survived assassination, the situation would be better?

laleh_pishrow2 karma

There are a lot parallels with an "alternate" Massoud in my book. I don't want to spoil the book by giving my opinion here.

MajinFlasher1 karma

I hope you had an uneventful trip and find yourself safe. On a personal level, do you feel a sense of defeat due to the current events? Are you holding out hope that the situation for your fellow Afghans will improve sooner than later?

I was in Afghanistan multiple times in 2012, we flew medical missions to Bagram Air Force Base and two other bases in Kandahar and Mazar. Your country is beautiful, I was in awe with the snow covered mountains in the winter and then the green in the spring. I wish you and your family the best.

laleh_pishrow2 karma

I left Afghanistan long ago, I was not one of the recent refugees.

I don't like the predict the future. I will try to accept what comes in the future as it comes.

The country is very beautiful. Thank you for your kind words and I wish you the best as well.

AntiquePangolin1 karma

Why do you think Ashraf Ghani could not ally groups that had good reasons to oppose the Taliban behind him?

laleh_pishrow1 karma

I am not interested in specific politics. I am more interested in what made Afghan such a mess for over four decades now.

ventsyv1 karma

Probably missed the train on this one but here it is anyway:

How is the Massoud clan perceived in Afghanistan? Do they have good reputation or is their support limited to a particular ethnic group and/or area?

How much popular support do the Taliban actually have? Or is everyone else so divided / corrupt that they just couldn't stand up to them?

laleh_pishrow1 karma

There are people who are better qualified to answer these questions than me. I tried to not look at the details of the current situation. Instead I focused on a holistic view of the last 40 years.

deviantelf-1 karma

It sounds like something I'd like to read. But why do you think ten dollars is justified for a less than 300 page book?

laleh_pishrow3 karma

PM me your email. I can share the pdf or the e-book with you for free.

Strong__Belwas-23 karma

Why is this self-published no name Amazon book getting upvotes? Seems quite opportunistic, exploiting the outcome of this war and liberal guilt to peddle what is probably a not very good book

laleh_pishrow27 karma

Your concerns are valid. I invite you to read it. I have been writing this book for many years. I finished it last year. Recent events made me overcome my fear of publishing it. It is probably not a very good book by any standard. I spent a lot time on it and it helped me to grow. I have received positive feedback from others who share the same pain as me. Some have said that it helped them also. I want to share it with the world.