Taliban targets descendants of Alexander the Great

For centuries, the blond-haired, blue-eyed people of the Kalash tribes of North West Pakistan have lived a libertine lifestyle.

Dean Nelson in New Delhi and Emal Khan in Peshawar
Telegraph
21 Sep 2009

Children of the Kalash tribe in Northern Pakistan Photo: EPA

The group, believed to be descendants of Alexander the Great’s invading army, were shielded from conservative Islam by the steep slopes of their remote valleys.

While Sikhs, Hindus, and Christians were slowly driven out of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province by Muslim militants, the Kalash were free to drink their own distilled spirits and smoke cannabis.

But the militant maulanas of the Taliban have finally caught up with them and declared war on their culture and heritage by kidnapping their most devoted supporter.

Taliban commanders have taken Professor Athanasion Larounis, a Greek aid worker who has generated £2.5 million in donations to build schools, clinics, clean water projects and a museum.

They are now demanding £1.25 million and the release of three militant leaders in exchange for his safe return.

According to local police, it was Professor Larounis’s dedication to preserving Kalasha culture that Taliban commanders in Nuristan, on the Afghan side of the border that made him a target.

Confirmation of the Taliban’s role in his kidnapping came as their leader Mullah Omar urged American and NATO leaders to learn from the history of Alexander the Great’s invasion of Afghanistan and his defeat by Pushtun tribesmen in the 4BC.

He was kidnapped on Sep 8, when five masked Taliban broke into the three storey museum where he was living, killed a policeman guarding the building, tied a teacher to a post and grabbed the professor from his bed.

Ajmeer Kalash, a Kalash teacher who witnessed the incident, said he had saved his own life by pretending to be a Muslim.

Read the complete article at the Telegraph.

Related: Revisiting War Upon Alexander — Dominos Again

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