“So in 2001, when the United States chose to intervene or invade Afghanistan, my grandfather took a principled stance, and he said that we would defend the sovereignty of our country, and he went into hiding and started his armed resistance. [M]y father was the political head of the party, and it was his job to be the mouthpiece and declare our stance… My father was put through the learned helplessness torture program devised by the United States. He was waterboarded. He was buried alive. He was kept in sensory deprivation. He was kept in isolation for almost a year. The United States refused to declare holding him. So for almost two years, he was basically gone, he was missing.”

My name is Obaidullah Baheer. I’m a lecturer at the American University of Afghanistan and Visiting Scholar at the New School in New York. I hold a postgraduate degree in International Relations with a thesis on the ideational and structural factors hindering negotiations with the Taliban from the University of New South Wales, Australia. I’m a vocal political and social activist who refused to leave Afghanistan despite the Taliban takeover. I have since then given lectures and talks at Oxford Uni, LSE, SLU Madrid, University of Sydney, Norte Dame University, USIP, and Wilson’s Center, among others. I currently run an aid effort under the title of “Save Afghans from Hunger”, which has provided thousands of families much-needed help throughout Afghanistan. I am a regular guest on and writer for major media outlets such as CNN, BBC, AJE, The Economist, the Guardian, The Washington Post, TRT and others. I come from a family that played a role in the resistance against the Soviet Union and later the civil war, but I stand for non-violent political action, and I aspire to seek sustainable peace in Afghanistan. I also hold the Prize Fellowship, the highest honor offered to a student, at the New School for my PhD studies starting this fall.