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A True Friend of the Afghan People

Bruce G. Richardson –

It’s with great regret to learn that a great journalist, researcher and writer and a true friend of the Afghan, Bruce G. Richardson passed away on Wednesday 6th of April 2016 at the age of 83.  He leaves behind not only a daughter and a wife, but the whole of the Afghan nation.

Bruce was a sincere and a dedicated journalist.  Once he got hold of the reality of a situation, he was never discouraged by others whose fame and gain was to be touched by his writings.

He started as Marine in the US army and was a true patriot, but he never hesitated to tell the truth about the shortcomings of the American government, despite being asked several time by  government officials to moderate his criticisms.

He was one of many journalists who traveled with the Mujahedin to the most remote parts of Afghanistan, but unlike most others, who forgot Afghanistan, Bruce remained with the Afghan issue and wrote three books and hundreds of papers first about the Soviets and their invasion 1979-1989 and then about the American invasion 2001-2014.  My two colleagues Dr. Daud Miraki and Dr. Rahmat R. Zirakyar in their remembrance of him,  pointing to his books summarize them as : “His last book published was: Afghanistan: A Search for Truth. Fourth Revised  Edition. Free Forum Publications/New York-Free port-London.  Printed in Canada, 2009. Major parts of the book are: 1. Afghanistan-History-Soviet Occupation-Ahmad Shah Massoud: 1779-1989; 2. Afghanistan-History-2001-U.S. Occupation-World Power Rivalry; and 3. Afghanistan-Current Affairs-2001-2008. 456 pages.” But his major work , on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was: Afghanistan, Ending the Reign of Soviet Terror, 1996 was considered one of the best first hand book after Bruce’s several trips to Afghanistan.

Bruce was an avid reader.  He told me he has about 150 books on Afghanistan and when my book:  Afghanistan, Political Frailty and External Interference, came out he wrote a three page review and called my book “his bible of Afghanistan.”  He quoted and mentioned my book in his numerous articles, for which I remain grateful.

I and some of his other Afghan enthusiast decided to invite him to Kabul, but he has been ill over the past year and a half and we never fulfilled our wish.  I hope we can still name a department in one our universities after him and thus pay our respect to this wonderful man who spent the last 30 years of his life, bringing the issue of Afghanistan to the world’s attention. No researcher of the two super-power (USSR & USA) invasions of Afghanistan can afford not reading his books and hundreds of his articles that he wrote between 1980-2016 about Afghanistan.

Bruce found out in the mountains of Paktia that not all Afghans were fighting the Soviets Red Army.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKZCKzaXFG8

Having discovered the truth he stuck to it and wrote about such issues untiringly till a couple of months before his death.

Once about four years ago of party of us drove from Virginia to Rhode Island, where he lived to pay him our respect for what he was doing for Afghanistan.  He showed us his photographs of the Jihad period and impressed us how much he was affected by the affections and bravery of the Afghans inspire of the formidable war machine of the Soviets.

A few years ago he asked me who he should give his books on Afghanistan to and also these rare photographs of the war.  The books were an easy project and he decided to donate them to the University of Nebraska who has an Afghan Studies department.  But the photographs were difficult to find the right place for. Eventually after writing to an number of Museums he donated them to the UNESCO and was happy they were in the right hand and will be displayed for many years to come, to tell the story of the Soviet invasion of a poor country like Afghanistan, and then in the process, losing their empire and the communist way of life.

Bruce Richardson’s article first start appearing in Professor Hashemyan’s  Afghanistan Mirror and then they were filed in Dawat website without fail and also at the same time in Tolafghanistan and Larawbar websites, all three of which are visited by hundreds and thousands of Afghans every day.

I hope Afghans everywhere will, in our hospitable way, remember this true and great journalist.

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