Unsavory – Continuing to read Taliban. The hisory of Afghanistan and Central Asia over the last few thousand years makes the Balkans look like a church. The Taliban rose to power with bribery, backstabbing, smuggling, opium traficking; and they look like saints compared to the people they defeated. It is shocking that Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United States, and others actually ever trusted them enough to negotiate anything. As far as I can tell, the Taliban have broken every promise they have ever made to anyone outside of their realm.
To add to my comments yesterday about how hackers are pretty deluded if they thought they could do anything “computer” to stop Bin Laden, the book talks about how the top leaders of the Taliban coordinated most of their troop movements and negotiations via instructions written on pieces of paper from the back of cigarette packs. It is only recently that they have become wealthy enough to use normal pads of paper to write their directives. Their leader, mullah Omar and his second in command have never been photographed. You can, however, recognize them based on the former's missing right eye and the latter's gouged wooden pegleg and missing finger. Mullah Omar in 1996 donned the cloak of the prophet Mohammed (yes, the actual 2,000 year-old piece of cloth) and was declared by a few thousand Islamic teachers to be the leader of Islam. Some other interesting facts: Zoroastrianism is still alive today in parts of Afghanistan. Christian followers of the heretic Nestor were centered in Afghanistan. The Turkic language first took on a life beyond Persian in Afghanistan. Afghanistan was the seat of government for Timur the Lame.