My grandpa was unjustly imprisoned when he was only 6 years old.
His imprisonment lasted 20 years.
Later in life, when the PDPA (Communist party) in Afghanistan had seized control, many people were being unjustly imprisoned.
My grandpa found himself in a position where he was able to leverage the power of high ranking PDPA officials to free innocent people from unfortunate and unjust fates.
On today’s episode, he shares one story about saving a family…and one of the members of that family being the sister-in-law of the same King who imprisoned him.
Here’s the twelfth segment of the SHACKLED interview series.
Adam: You experienced what happens when a leader or ruler of government becomes corrupt. What do you think is important for leaders and governments to know to take care of their people?
Khaled: Yeah…it was a time of a lot of change. They took a lot of people to prison. And one day Zaid (my brother) came to me and said, “My sister-in-law, her husband, his mother, and his son went to the jail last night. Do you know somebody from this government?”
I said, “Yeah, I know Babrak Karmal.” He was the Secretary-General of Taraki. And he lived, not in our neighborhood…in our section. “I know him. Let’s go to him. I want to tell him about it if he’s not out from his house,” I said. My brother Zaid and I went in the car and left for Babrak Karmal’s house.
There was a lot of people waiting outside his house waiting for him to come outside. I sent Babrak one business card through one soldier who was by the door to his house. The soldier told me, “He is coming now.” And I said, “Ok. Give him this.”
I saw Karmal come out the front door and my business card was in his hand. He said, “Khaled jan, can you give me the time?” He thought I was asking about something regarding my family’s properties in Afghanistan. “Yeah. I’m thinking about it,” he said.
I said, “No. This is something else. This is very important!”
Then he gestured for me to wait so he could say his hellos to everyone waiting for him. And then he came and told us, “You and Zaid jan go in my car.” He had a Russian jeep. I went in the car and waited until he joined us. He started talking to us about the jail he was in before with the commander.
“What’s happened?” he asked.
I said, “Yeah, the sister-in-law of my brother Zaid is the granddaughter of King Habibullah. She’s in the jail. She’s very young.”
“Okay. I will introduce you to the leader, Taraki. I have another thing to attend to, there is a minister waiting for a meeting with me…I have to go there,” he said.
He told one officer there, Taroon, “Take these two gentlemen to Taraki.”
Then we went to Taraki. I asked Taraki, “Mr. Taraki, do you want to have credit in this land or not with this revolution or coup d’etat?”
He said, “Yeah. I want to have credit.”
“That is not credit, that every night the car of the military minister comes and takes the people into the jail. It’s not good.”
“Yeah, sometimes…well, what has happened? What happened?” he asked.
I told him the story. Then he told Taroon, “Whatever these two gentlemen tell you, do it all.”
Then he give them the order.
Then we come out and he took the telephone and call the jail, Pul-i-Charkhi, and he said, “Please let Mahboob free.”
After a half hour, the Pul-i-Charkhi prison warden called and Taroon answered. He turned to us and said, “Mahboob is refusing to leave unless her husband is freed too.”
Taroon called Taraki’s office and relayed the situation.
He received approval to free Mahboob’s husband too. Her husband had a little boy from a previous wife. Then, the prison called again and said her husband is refusing to leave unless his son is freed too.
I told Taroon, “Please, he’s just a child.”
He said, “Ok, let the child free.
Then the husband of Mahboob said, “My mother is here.”
His mother was the sister-in-law of Zahir Shah.
Adam: The same King that put you in prison.
Khaled: Yea, the same King. Taroon asked me, “What shall we do with his mother? The mother is the Queen’s sister!”
I said, “She’s an old woman. Taroon, please call and let her free.”
He called and let her free. Then, Zaid and Taroon went to bring them to Zaid’s home. It was altogether 4 people, one of them being a child.
Adam: So how did it make you feel to free a relative of the same person that put you in prison?
Khaled: Because for me it was not very important that one wife, one woman, one old woman should be an enemy to me.
Adam: So you couldn’t even imagine her as an enemy?
Adam: No grudge?
Khaled: No. Only I wrote in my book everything that he did, but no revenge…it is not about the revenge.
Adam: Did he ever thank you for freeing his relative? Did Zahir Shah ever say thank you?
Khaled: No (chuckling).
Adam: But she’s his sister-in-law.
Khaled: No. Never did he say anything to me about that.
Adam: How did it make you feel to free the boy?
Khaled: The boy yeah, he told me, “I owe you Khaled jan.” Then, I asked Taroon to get him a passport to go out from Afghanistan. Then a passport was ordered for him to be able to leave the country. At the airport, his son told me, “Khaled jan, I owe you very much.”
I told him, “Don’t think about it.”
He knew that we were the enemy of the King Zahir Shah. That our family was destroyed by this King and his family. He knew everything. But I told him, “Don’t think about it. Don’t think about it. You don’t owe.”
Adam: Do you have any last messages you’d like to share with the people?
Khaled: Don’t think about the revenge. Excuse the people, and bring them to the right direction. It’s better to bring them in the direction than revenge. We have in our Qur’an, “Excuse is much better than the revenge. Excuse is much better than the revenge.”
Khaled: Forgive, yea.
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I wrote SHACKLED alongside my grandpa, as it chronicles his life from being imprisoned for decades when he was six-years-old.
The book has been receiving some incredible praise from readers already.
Here are a few reviews from readers:
A beautiful, spellbinding historical account of Khaled Siddiq’s life with photographs throughout the book. Adam Siddiq, the author, captured the essence, magnificence, and radiance of his grandfather, Khaled Siddiq, in this remarkable and awe-inspiring true story. It takes place in Khaled’s homeland, Afghanistan. A government takeover results in terror used as an instrument to control people, and led to the imprisonment of thousands of political prisoners for many years including the very young Khaled and his many close family members. Khaled’s life, along with his family, was about survival, sorrow, bereavement, injustice, grief, and a love that transcended broken dreams. Adam’s grandfather is the embodiment of resilience powered by patience, hope, and the gift of love bestowed upon him by family and generations of ancestors. He learned patience at a young age, and held on to hope and love while he and his family endured unimaginable hardship, deprivation, and imprisonment. He witnessed indescribable cruelty and inhumanity. This story, for me, was about surviving unending darkness through the light of love. Adam Siddiq, how fortunate you are to be a recipient of your grandfather’s legacy of love.
– Ilaann W.
If you’ve enjoyed books like Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl, or Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandela, or any book or movie or story that has a profound depth to it with overcoming a horrendous situation….you will enjoy reading SHACKLED. Written by Adam, the grandson of Khaled, there’s an extra dimension that makes this book so special.
– Daniel P.
This is an amazing, inspiring, heart-wrenching and heart-opening story of a man who walked in courage and love even amidst the harshest treatment and circumstances from a tender young age. Masterfully and lovingly written by the equally inspiring Adam Siddiq, this book addresses the ultimate question we all face in life: How do we find inner peace and spiritual freedom when faced with hate and difficulty as we walk as human beings in this world? The bond and collaboration between elder and grandson shine through the pages of this book. If only we could all find the courage and honor to share the stories of our elders in such a devoted way.
– Donnaah S.
Gripping story, beautiful imagery and a necessary literary contribution to the global library… Also a unique perspective on this historical account for those seeking to delve deeper into Afghanistan’s truth from the 1932 coup to the 1979 Soviet invasion. The story reinforces the idea that our time is precious and nothing may be taken for granted, while encouraging generational bonding… Many complements to the author as this is a “must read.”
This was a Fantastic read!!
I literally couldn’t put the book down!
An inspiring tale that shows us how grateful we can be in life for everything that happens in our lives.
Recommended read for all.
– Holyworld Productions