Kolkata teacher surprised with Taliban’s 'politeness'

Kolkata teacher surprised with Taliban’s 'polite' behaviour; doesn’t want to return to Kabul

Bhattacharya said that when he saw the Taliban men arrive with firearms such as the AK 47 and rocket launchers he feared for his life

Representative Image. Credit: AP/PTI Photo

Everything was going well for Tamal Bhattacharya when he joined as a teacher at a school in Kabul in March. But within months he saw the situation changing with the rapid advance of Taliban fighters towards Kabul and locals telling him to return home before it was too late.

He grew more anxious when he saw thousands of people running around in the streets in a desperate attempt to flee the country while returning from school.

However, Bhattacharya, a resident of Nimta on the northern fringes of Kolkata, was in for a surprise when one day a group of Taliban fighters visited the temporary accommodation where he was living with some other teachers.

Bhattacharya said that when he saw the Taliban men arrive with firearms such as the AK 47 and rocket launchers he feared for his life. However, after speaking to the school authorities, the fighters assured them of safety and said that they posed no threat to their lives.

"Surprisingly, the Taliban fighters were rather mild-mannered. I don’t know what their real intention was but one of them asked me not to worry and urged him to continue to teach at the school,” said Bhattacharya.

Also read: 'Taliban a Pakistani project, not going to be a permanent phenomenon in Afghanistan'

He also said that not only did the Taliban provide protection to him and other teachers but also urged them to continue to teach the students of the country addressing them as “bhaijaan.”

"Even when I declined to continue with the job at the school, the Taliban fighters did not turn hostile and continued to behave politely with me. But I don’t trust them,” said Bhattacharya.

With his parents in Kolkata worrying, Bhattacharya finally resigned on August 14. But his return home turned out to be an uphill task. He tried thrice to enter Kabul Airport but failed. Finally, he contacted the Centre and the West Bengal government to ensure his return to India. He landed in Kolkata on an Indian Air Force plane on Sunday.

"As of now I have no intention of going to Kabul again," said Bhattacharya.

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