Monkeys are not the terrorists

Photos by Naved Akram Abbasi

The population of monkeys in Pakistan is estimated around 15000. They are found in Chitral, Swat, Nathia Gali and other mountain forest areas in Northern parts of country. The monkeys are even found in Margala Hill forests of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.

When someone passes through the roads near thick mountain forests, the branches start shaking and dark objects scattering across the treetops. If someone is standing in the forest, he would hear monkeys over his head. Agile and acrobatic monkeys easily leap through the forest but difficult to be seemed. I had experienced this few years back in Nathia Gali hill forests while travelling from Pakistan-administered Kashmir to Khyber Pakhtoonkhaw province.

Generally the passing people do not disturb these harmless animals and enjoy the creatures, and often offer them things to eat. Such a gesture makes monkeys human-friendly. But some professional poachers catch the monkeys and sell them to the circus companies and gypsies who train the monkeys making them a source of livelihood for them. The gypsies could be seen all over the country roaming the streets earning some money by acrobatic activities of monkeys. At some tourist resorts in hill forests like Nathia Gali, Swat, Chitral and Margala, the monkeys, finding no harm from the visiting people, come out of the forests and sit at the roads.

Photos by Naved Akram Abbasi

Two years back, a foreign journalist had reported that Afghanistan’s Taliban warlords have trained monkeys to be killers. According to the report Taliban forces taught monkeys how to use the Kalashnikov, Bren light machine gun and trench mortars. They also teach them how to identify and attack soldiers wearing U.S. military uniforms, according to report.

Ironically, the idea of training monkeys to fight was first invented by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA in the Vietnam War initiated a program that used the peanuts and bananas as prizes to train some “monkey soldiers” to kill Vietnamese in the jungle.

A British journalist went to Pakistan and Afghanistan border of Waziristan’s tribal region where he witnessed a few of the monkey soldiers armed with an AK-47 rifle and Bren light machine gun.

Photos by Naved Akram Abbasi

The photographs, wherein the monkeys were shown holding the sophisticated weapons, looked like it was all arranged for a photo-session. Moreover, no incident of killing of any US soldier by the ‘monkey soldiers’ was ever reported in this area. It had been a universal observation that the monkeys attack the humans when irritated by their any action, and otherwise they are very peaceful and cannot be termed as terrorists, as they are seen in this photograph taken at a road in Nathia Gali hill resort.

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