Taliban v. "Camels"

by Michael Crowley | October 5, 2009

Also noteworthy from that Newsweek oral history is this view, from a former Taliban deputy minister, of the trouble Arab "camels" brought to his cause:

Two days before the September 11 attacks on America, we were all celebrating the death of [Northern Alliance commander Ahmed Shah] Masood, [who was assassinated by Qaeda agents posing as television reporters]. His forces were already on the verge of defeat, so his death all but assured us of total victory in Afghanistan. But the September 11 attacks turned our cheer into deep concern. We gave those camels [a derogatory Afghan term for Arabs] free run of our country, and they brought us face to face with disaster. We knew the Americans would attack us in revenge.... As far as I know, Al Qaeda is weak, and they are few in numbers. Now that we control large amounts of territory, we should have a strict code of conduct for any foreigners working with us. We can no longer allow these camels to roam freely without bridles and control.

We can't read too much into the view of one midlevel Taliban operative. But this sentiment does support the theory that a restored Taliban might be deterrable--via the threat of another 2001-style overthrow by the U.S.--from again providing al Qaeda with safe harbor.

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/the-plank/taliban-v-camels