9/11 was “beautiful, delicious to hear [about], everyone was happy”
A (sympathetic, almost glorifying) portrait of a terrorist. “Abdul the Taliban, on the hunt for American ‘infidels,'” from AFP, January 29:
KABUL (AFP) “” Abdul Shafiq is around 30 years old and has sacrificed his family life for two things: reading the Koran and fighting.
After years in exile following the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan, this Taliban commander is back in the mountains of his birth, having left behind his old life with his family for one mission: chasing out the “infidel” Americans.
It takes several cups of tea in a house next to a snowy hill, somewhere in southern Kabul, before the fighter with a thin face and the features of a Pashtun from southern Afghanistan, agrees to tell his story.
What “story”? Why must everything always have a “story”? Here’s a version: Having been indoctrinated by the Koran and its mandate for fighting, Abdul has opted to lead a life of “chasing infidels”?
Abdul Shafiq — an assumed name — looks like any other Afghan, except that he has never been as unhappy as in times of peace.
He wears a long cream shirt and leather jacket; his hair and beard are thick and black, his clear brown eyes sparkle as brightly as his silver Pashtun cap dotted with shiny plastic beads.
Who cares? Get to the point — whatever that may be.
In hiding in Kabul, he rarely spends two nights in the same place, taking a break before returning to the fight.
In the mountains, he heard of new US President Barack Obama “who will change nothing” and of Palestine “where something is happening”.
His future seems set: “As long as the Americans are here, we will fight them,” says the Taliban militant, whom AFP could only meet through local intermediaries.[…]
Nice, clear, and decisive; would that American leaders had the same tenacious spirit — would that they would say “As long as radical Muslims are here, we will fight them.”
It was in the northern mountains that he heard, over Taliban combat radio, on September 11, 2001 that planes sent by Al-Qaeda, had struck at the heart of the United States.
“That was beautiful, delicious to hear, everyone was happy,” the warrior says with a smile.[…]
Iran took in Taliban in their thousands, according to Shafiq. He stayed there for four years, without guns and without combat. He was despondent 🙁
“I didn’t want to do anything,” the fighter remembers.
“Anyway, I didn’t know how to do anything except fight. We read the Koran but life wasn’t that interesting.”
At the start of 2006, Afghanistan elected a new parliament. In Kabul, the US army, sure of itself, branded the Taliban finished.
It was then that Shafiq slipped quietly home to Wardak. “They told us that the Americans were stopping the Taliban much less,” he says.
He took charge of a group of 30 men who lived on the move, going from one safehouse to another, he says.
Even before then, the Taliban started to regroup. “Everything is structured. The orders come from our leaders in Pakistan,” Shafiq says. He is less forthcoming about how they obtained weapons and money.
In villages crowded with unemployed men tired of US bombings and disappointed by international aid that never arrived, Taliban rhetoric slamming the American “invaders” who “plunder Muslim soil” won some support.[…]
And what sort of “rhetoric” did the Taliban use before the US had any discernible role in Afghanistan?
Claiming to be a fighter for Islam above all, Shafiq hardly ever sees his wife and three children, under five. He condemns television as “against Islam” and has never used the Internet.
That’s ok, since he probably has possession of several conquered concubines [ma malakat aymankum] who make up part of his spoils of war (ghanima) — also promised him by the Koran (e.g., 4:3).
When it comes to the war, he calls suicide attacks a “good weapon” and says they should avoid harming civilians — which they almost most never do.