Nasir Shansab was Afghanistan’s leading industrialist throughout the 1970's. His success put a bulls eye on him and his family; even though Shansab harbored no political ambitions, he was singled out as a threat and told he would be arrested and could face execution. Shansab and his family were forced to flee the country, first settling in Germany, then the U.S. where he was granted political asylum in 1980.
In 1981, a native Afghan resistance had begun and Shansab traveled to the region to advise the Mujahedeen. He developed relationships with resistance leaders and even had a breakfast meeting with Osama bin Laden, who was giving money to the resistance. Shansab took notice of bin Laden’s arrogance and contempt for the Afghan people. Shansab also advised American officials. He told the Congressional task force on Afghanistan that the resistance was failing and that their greatest need was advanced weapons to neutralize Soviet air superiority. This helped put in motion a strategy change, culminating in a ceremony at the White House and Shansab was among the guests when President Reagan signed a commitment that the U.S. would actively support the defeat of the Soviet Union.
As the resistance succeeded in driving the Soviet army out of the country, a new concern emerged: infighting between the factions. He expressed his misgivings to resistance leaders, urging them to work together. Shansab warned of a coming civil war, arguing that only with intervention from the West could it be avoided. Unfortunately, his predictions were correct. Shansab has consistently called for a different government in Afghanistan, rooted in freedom and opportunity instead of tribalism and repression. He now focuses on improving the lives of the Afghan people through educational and industrial projects, and splits his time between homes in Virginia and Kabul. Get more information at www.shansab.com.
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