Gul, the elder brother, was the first to choose. With no gun or money, he walked out of his home one summer day and into the ranks of the Taliban. Razziq soon followed, but down a different road: to the barracks of the U.S.-backed Afghan national police. The brothers’ decisions have transformed them into enemies and forced them to consider a day they had never imagined.
“I don’t know when I will face my brother on the battlefield, but it’s only a matter of time,” Gul said. And when it happens, Razziq said, “I will have no choice but to fight him back.” …
The safest territory in Afghanistan is the neutral middle, a space that the expanding war has eroded. Forced to take sides, Afghans have divided into factions, complicating any attempt to end the war — and chipping away at any hope of bringing warring brothers home to the same family again.
From a depressing and heart breaking story about families picking sides in the war in Afghanistan. The usual tropes are there: the government kinda sucks but is on the side of “good,” the insurgency is functional and responsive but they’re vicious. No one really has a good choice when it comes to this.
I won’t bore all of you with the research on families splitting up in civil war. It happens all the time, everywhere, whether the U.S. Civil War 150 years ago or the mujahidin war of the 1980s. But commonality doesn’t make family hedging any less painful, or disruptive. And Partlow is absolutely right that the longer this war drags on, the harder its constituent issues will be to resolve.