Kabir Mohabbat was an Afghan-American businessman from Houston, Texas. He was born in Kabul on October 10, 1956, to a prominent and politically active Afghan family. After graduating from high school in Afghanistan, he was sent to the United States to sharpen his English skills and to obtain a university degree. In 1979, within days of receiving a B.A. in Political Science from Southeast Missouri State University, the Soviet Army invaded Afghanistan. He immediately volunteered to fight. During that war he had extensive involvement with various Afghan Mujahidin groups and supporting governments in their struggle with the Soviets. Because of this experience, after the bombing of the USS Cole he was asked by the U.S. to help with the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.
Kabir acted as a temporary extraordinary envoy of the United States to the Taliban in the negotiations for the delivery of Osama bin Laden. It was his responsibility to facilitate talks and act as mediator between the two governments. He succeeded in the negotiations. Toward late February 2001, the Taliban curbed any and all activities of bin Laden and stripped him of all of his communications equipment and limited bin Laden's contacts to those of his "immediate refugee life" in Afghanistan. When the Taliban placed bin Laden and some of his men under house arrest near Kandahar, the U.S. was granted permission to arrest, capture or kill the Saudi on Afghan soil. The Afghan Government's representative even suggested that the U.S. hit bin Laden and his men with Cruise Missiles since the U.S. had fired them at Afghanistan once before.
Although invited, the U.S. failed to act. Instead Kabir was flown to Afghanistan again and again to apologize for the U.S. Government's inability to act. Toward the end of these frustrating missions, Kabir asked U.S. authorities if the problem was the cost of fuel for the Cruise Missiles and he volunteered to pay for it. The last time Kabir was sent into Taliban territory at the behest of the U.S. Government was August 2001.
On 9/11 Kabir was in Pakistan. He was asked by the U.S. to help negotiate the surrender of Osama bin Laden and the Afghan Government, but the U.S. demanded that bin Laden be turned over immediately - within 24 hours. The Afghans argued that it was an impossible task to do since bin Laden had an army on their soil. They asked for a week to capture bin Laden and his men, but U.S. negotiators refused.
Several days later when a representative of the Afghan Government called Kabir and surrendered to the U.S., Kabir immediately called U.S. authorities and explained that the Taliban had capitulated to all U.S. demands. The response from U.S. authorities: "I will convey your message, but I am afraid that the train has already left the station." To Kabir's sorrow, within days Afghanistan was bombed and the war began.
Sometime thereafter Kabir was asked to become President of Afghanistan, but he refused. He replied that, in all conscience, he could not work solely for Afghanistan or the United States. He loved both countries and, "I would be caught in the middle between two stubborn mules."
A history of Kabir's negotiations with the Taliban is documented in his biography, Delivering Osama. Extensive original documents that support Kabir's life story are in his book.
Kabir Mohabbat died of a coronary event in Houston in 2007.
Famous quotes containing the word kabir:
“When a sparrow sips in the river, the water doesnt recede. Giving charity does not deplete wealth. Saint Kabir says so.”
—Punjabi proverb, trans. by Gurinder Singh Mann.