A local author who claims he infiltrated the Taliban whilst on an aid mission to Pakistan will be giving a free talk at Bo’ness Library on November 12 at 7.30pm.
Cal Sarwar, who grew up in Bo’ness and attended the Academy, was engaged in human rights work in Pakistan in 2012, where he witnessed brutal acts of violence by religious clerics.
A Muslim, Cal became increasingly concerned about the risk of Islamic terrorism after 9/11.
“I wanted to find out more about what was really going on in these groups,” he said.
After being driven north by a fellow aid worker, Cal went ahead alone, posing as a British Muslim who was disillusioned with the West.
He said he met with a ‘fixer’, a former Afghan army soldier, who escorted him to a Taliban settlement.
There, he endured a terrifying 45 minute interrogation before being “welcomed and accepted” by the fighters.
Cal said he spent a day and a half observing the comings and goings at the settlement, an experience he described as “like being in Sherwood Forest with Robin Hood and his men – but with Kalashnikovs instead of bows and arrows”.
He then escaped the camp on the pretext of procuring £1000 funding for the group.
Cal, who is a father of three, said his family had no knowledge of his trip.
“It was a really stupid thing to do,” he admitted. “US forces could have conducted a strike on the camp or I could have been captured and locked in Guantanamo Bay.”
On returning to the UK, Cal wrote a novel based on his experience. ‘The Cell, The Wolf and The Faith’, published last month, a thriller which includes a preface about Islam, quotes from the Koran and a list of terrorist groups.
Cal also met with counter-terrorism officers in the UK to discuss his experience and pass on information.