It was a dark cave which served as their board room. 20 Old dusty Taliban warlords had assembled there. A group mail was sent to all of them from SHQ for their monthly review.
Target Vs Achievement excel sheets were being prepared and filed. Their one –eyed boss was busy getting his beard dyed nth time by his wife no. 14 who was just 25 years younger to him.
All 20 warlords were trained by CIA way back in early 80s when America wanted them to fight against the Russians. It used to be a big class, but then the American invasion in the next century made sure that only few alumni survive to attend this monthly review.
The meeting was scheduled for 11 am but it was not before 2 pm that everyone was seated cross-legged on the sand, getting bashed by their master. The one-eyed boss was angry to the point of bursting. None of the warlords had completed their monthly target of killings and bomb blasts. They were also behind their opium off take from the head quarter. Their revenues had fallen to a 2 year low. Only 10 suicide bombings against a target of 20, this was not acceptable by any standards to the boss.
Plus their training centers had not received fresh supply of dumb pupils from the remote tribal areas.
“If you cannot brainwash uneducated tribal youth in NW frontier area, what is the fun of having you, tell me. Have I have not supplied you all with the latest DVD players to play the propaganda videos of atrocities being committed on our brothers across the world. Tell me…. then what is the matter with you all, look at ISIS, look how they are reaching their targets.”
“But….” one of the Warlords gathered courage to speak.
“What ….speak up”, that one-eye was fixed on the target now. Trigger finger was about to receive order from a taut nerve, to pull.
“ISIS pays well……and….”
AND BAM….a lot of dust rose up and then settled.
One warlord less; the meeting continued. Nobody even dared to pick the dead body which was lying spread eagle in front of them. The shot was echoing in the cave, but then it was not the first time these walls had heard shots.
“Any more questions” One-eyed boss asked.
All 19 held their breath…afraid by the noise of their own breathing.
“Relax my brothers, it was HIS plan; we are just actors. But remember…..I am the boss”.
After the meeting it was decided to conduct a mass operation which would help them to complete their pending targets.
The cave started buzzing with new ideas.
Idea no. 1: Bombing Indian Embassy in Kabul.
Boss replied,” We have done it only last year, think afresh, be innovative, we are the bloody Taliban. Plus I have heard Modi is not like Man Mohan”. Last sentence was a spoken a bit softly
Idea no. 2: Kidnap American Soldiers.
“And give them another subject for an Oscar movie, how they sent black hawks and rescued the hostages and killed half of you in bed , where are your brains, Khabhiso”,Boss was livid with anger
Idea no. 3: Pick a weak spot in Pakistan and gain publicity.
“Now you are thinking”.
Boss started to play with his freshly dyed beard. Dye was coming off to his hands though.
“Years ago, when I was a kid, my father wanted me to study in a famous Peshawari school…(no one could control laughter )…. So, he took me to the Army school for admission; as usual the Army buggers couldn't judge my extra-ordinary talent and rejected me. Since then ,I have a grudge against the school. Why not we attack the school? This should teach those old snobs a lesson.”
“Sardar, I wanted to say something”, the oldest and the dumbest of them raised his voice.
May be he has AIDS; hence he is not afraid to die. That was the general conclusion everyone reached.
He began. “Sardar, if you remember, it was an Army school alumnus who had shot that bullet from 800 yards to take your one eye. I think we should catch them young and then no more well trained snipers to take our eyes out. We will finish an entire generation of Army officers, in Pakistan, in one swipe. It is a long term strategy.”
“How can I forget him? We will do it. My lions , wake up, and start preparing .Minimum target is 100.”
On the day of operation Sardar received a number of congratulatory calls from Who’s who in the jihadi universe. Prominent in those were Abu Al-Bakr Baghdadi -ISIS chief, Hafeez Sayeed -26/11 mastermind and also Syrian PM and on and on.
It was nearly midnight when his private telephone rang; it was unusual for him to receive calls at that point of the night.
There was no hello, salaam or anything. Only sobs, uncontrollable sobs. The croaking of the voice was such that as if the other caller was being stifled.
Somehow the caller took control of her voice and said Salam.
Immediately the voice recognition software of Sardar switched on and identified the caller.
“Speak up my Noor, why are you crying? Has Irfan again come home drunk?”
Irfan was “Noor’s” husband.
“Tell me what has happened, I will move heaven and earth for you. Tell me, my daughter, why are you crying?”
“What why? Please stop crying”.Sardar was no longer the man in command; he removed his turban and kept it besides the telephone table. His temples were sweating. He was the “defeated man” as our Hindu scriptures like to brand the “Father of a daughter”. He had umpteen daughters but Noorie was the noor of her eye.
“Why did you attack the school….abba …why….”.This time she was wailing, her nails were scratching the walls, her vision was failing her.
“That is our strategy to hit them at the weakest and most sensitive point, have you forgotten how many of your uncles were killed in the Zarb-e-Azb operation by Pakistanis”.Sardar was back on offensive.
“But why that school…why not some other school……did you forget? Where your grandson …….”.Her voice broke off, she was no longer on earth, her body was cold, the poison she had swallowed had begun its action, she was cold blue and dead. Yes dead, the grief of burying one’s child in one’s lifetime is inconsolable.
“Noorie.. Noorie.. Noorie………please speak up…hello hello….”
Sardar immediately opened his laptop and logged on to Facebook (which was haram in his sermons though). Blood was pounding in his ears. There, on his news feed, was the image of his grandson smiling in front of the gate of the Pakistan Army School Peshawar, a couple of months back.
His left arm was stiff; suddenly his breathing began to falter. His heart failed him and he fell off the edge of his bed, his face contorted like a Japanese demon mask.
PS: "Khabis" is a Persian word, often used to insult someone, It means Swine.
There's a natural law of karma that vindictive people, who go out of their way to hurt others, will end up broke and alone.