September 27, 2009


During wars and after them, the real voice of the enemy is rarely heard. Propaganda is plentiful, as are prideful boasts—and the Taliban have certainly been quick studies at the modern art of information warfare. But the fears and ambitions of ordinary fighters are too often buried under statistics and theories propounded from thousands of miles away. That’s been even more true in Iraq and Afghanistan, where reporters who might accurately convey the other side’s perspective are at risk of being kidnapped or killed for their efforts.

After eight long years of war in Afghanistan, however, America and its allies can ill afford not to understand who the enemy is and why they fight. To put together this remarkable oral history, told through the words of the Taliban themselves, NEWSWEEK turned to contributing correspondent Sami Yousafzai, who has been covering the conflict for the magazine since 2001. Over that time he has developed and maintained contact with dozens of Afghan insurgents, including the six whose stories are told here...

UPDATE: Now I have had time to read it myself- very interesting. Not surprising that a lot of this seems to have been directed by Arabs at first, or that Karzais Police are loosing the people with their corrupt behaviour now. I was surprised how often Chechens and Uzbeks are mentioned as I had a diferent concept of these countries, well Uzbekistan anyway. I was also surprised how little suicide bombing is mentioned.

Reading the whole article you get an idea of how fragmented these pockets of resistance are, but how as a whole they are bloody dificult for a superpower to deal with. It seems the Americans can't really stay and expect things to get better or leave, and "Your enemies enemy" isn't necessarily your friend for them in the long run either is it.

Also- Some really good pictures of the international forces in Afghanistan in the Big Picture here.


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