By Amar C. Bakshi
The Washington Post and Post Global
August 20, 2007
Lahore, Pakistan – “I’ve promised myself I won’t go back to America until the Bush administration leaves . . . It’s hopeless with them there,” PostGlobal panelist and Taliban expert Ahmed Rashid tells me in his bulletproof library outside Lahore.
For three decades, Ahmed has been investigating the nexus between the Pakistan military and extremist groups, roving tribal lands in between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Over the years, his books and articles have been translated into all local languages, spawning many enemies “bearded and non-bearded” who accuse him of undermining his religion and his state. He’s received so many death threats that he lives in a house encased in sheet metal. A spindly man with a fat shotgun guards the iron gate entrance.
Knowledge is a dangerous thing for Ahmed. When I told the Pakistani Press counselor in DC that I would be visiting Ahmed, I was told “not to put that in writing because Islamabad won’t accept your request.”