At Solomon2's prompting I've read Michaels' account of meeting the "Taleban" near Sarobi, which I know well. It is very revealing.
That area has always been under Engineer Gulbuddeen, known to Afghans as "Butcher Gulbuddeen". He is nothing to do with the Taleban, in fact they have always been bitter enemies. He even fought against other Mujahiddeen groups in the time of the Soviet occupation. I never had anything to do with his party since it had such a bad and cruel reputation.
Looking at the photographs as well, none of the people look anything like Taleban to me either. Taleban hate to wear the pakhool, the round Chitrali hat that everyone is wearing in these photos. They only wear turbans, and they look upon wearers of the pakhool as their natural enemies.
I doubt they are so duplicitous as to wear pakhools in order not to be taken as Taleban.
So this all goes to show that the label "Taleban", because it has been given such a bad name in the west, is being applied indiscriminately to any Afghan and even the enemies of the Taleban like these pakhool-wearing villagers, who may or not be HIG, and who might well still have attacked the French just becuase they are armed invaders on their soil and Pashtun Afghans in the countryside )not in Kabul) klike nothing better than shooting up foreign invaders and need no excuse to go out and have a good old battle.
In other words my point is that Michael's intervies and findings in Sarobi indicate the truth of the theory that whoever holds Kabul is attacked by the countryside people whenever they get the chance. "Da Zamung Dastur day" say the Pashtuns, which carves it in stone in a way that cannot be changed or questioned. Translated this means "That is our tradition". It over-rules all other ethnic, religious, cultural and communal values. Whatever they do, if there is a question about it, they follow their tradition. Another of their traditions, when they kill foreign invaders, is to castrate the bodies and stuff the penis in the corpse's mouth, and I suppose that Michael felt this was a little indelicate to mention, although he's happy to write elsewhere about "the human dog", "chewing off victims testicles" - that's about Afghan's testicles, so it's OK to mention.
So good luck, soldiers, watch your backs.
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