Response to Episode 4 of Serial 2

In the fourth episode of Serial 2, many aspects of the Taliban came to surface. One of the things I learned was that they had alliances with various names, such as the Haqqanis. I also knew that they used Toyota vehicles, but I didn’t know how much other items they used, and that they more or less had their own little cities. Another aspect that was a little surprising was that the Taliban paid people to store prisoners in their houses; it makes sense that they would keep them in houses, but it doesn’t make sense to me that people with such power would use anything other than force to get the citizens to do what they wanted.

The interesting part about the Haqqanis is that the Pakistani army knew who they were at the checkpoints and they didn’t have to get out of their car. They weren’t searched, and they were feared. It’s interesting that it was just a known thing, that they could identify who was what. They’re a family run group, so they might be known by the Pakistani army. Even though they’re Afghani, they’re headquartered in Pakistan, which is extremely interesting, but it might be because they knew the U.S. couldn’t get in the country without major issues ensuing. The way they were positioned, they could protect Pakistan, and Afghanistan from India’s influence, which they were against.

One of the captives named David Rohde was interviewed for Serial 2. He mentioned hoe the captors gave him Dasani and a newspaper, even though it was Pakistani, it was still something that was done for him as an American, something he recognized as an American. This is interesting, because the captors are supposed to be treating their prisoners terribly, and they did, but they could have given them water. Perhaps it was a religious belief, so they gave him good, clean water. They saw him as unclean because he was sick and not Muslim. Later in the story, they were concerned that he wasn’t eating, even though they thought he was dirty, but an old man brought him a spoon in case that’s what he needed. One of the men in particular gave him bread, because he believed that all men should be treated equally—he was an elder whose fellow men were young and great radicals. The change in the age of a culture truly played a role in how prisoners were treated. Radicals, who had ideas that don’t go hand-in-hand with what Muslims truly believe, were worse to prisoners, and older men were better to prisoners, because of the belief that all human beings should be treated the same, which is an interesting shift in the culture and mannerisms of the captors.

Rohde said that the Taliban paid people to use their houses. Often times, they used families and houses of men in Taliban leadership, but they also used the houses of people they felt as if they could trust. If anyone were to release or tell the searching soldiers where the prisoners were, I’m sure it would be disastrous for the family. Maybe paying them off was used with fear, something to secure their loyalty. The fact that they paid citizens to keep quiet and allow use of their homes for the prisoners is interesting, because it shows how severely they felt about having their captives. It makes sense that the soldiers couldn’t find Bergdahl, because if it wasn’t the rough terrain, he could have been hidden in a secret part of a household or the people simply didn’t give them access out of loyalty to the Taliban, yet maybe they had to do that in order to survive themselves.

No matter what the Taliban did—how they treated the men they held captive, how many divisions of members they had, or how many citizens they paid, they did it to torture the men, to ensure they would remain captive. The true citizens, the older citizens, relied on what they were taught, not treating them as if they were in Guantanamo, as one Taliban soldier had suggested. The treatment of the captives was poor and miserable; they tortured Bergdahl. This episode didn’t really influence my current understanding of the War on Terror, because treatment does vary and the beliefs of one soldier may be different than the next. At the end of the day, terrorism is terrorism, and the captives were fearing for their lives.

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