“”
“If I had a nickel for every No. 2 and No. 3 they’ve arrested or killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, I’d be a millionaire.”
“”
“Yesterday I read the categorical ‘invading Iraq clearly made us a target’ from someone who continued, ‘it diverted our attention and resources from the very people that we should have been fighting — al-Qaeda’, but who just after 9/11 argued that if the US starts bombing Afghanistan, young Muslims will almost certainly rally behind the Taleban and Osama bin Laden in a new jihad. In other words Iraq diverted our resources away from something they shouldn’t have been dedicated to in the first place, because that first thing would lead to a new jihad.”
“”
“If the government will let us peacefully return to our villages and our children, we will come. We are tired living on the run in these snowy mountains.”
Abdul Rahman Akhund, Taliban fighter
“”
“The Americans made a very bad mistake in Uruzgan. But we do not want the Americans to leave until we are prepared. The whole world knows that they are here to crush the terrorists, who are the enemies of all people. They did not come like the Russians to conquer.”
“”
“They should have saturated Afghanistan with liquid LSD and got everybody goofed out of their minds. Then they should have sent the military in dressed as Teletubbies. They would have just cleared it right out.”
“”
“The United States of America has just succeeded in bombing a country back out of the Stone Age.”
“”
“Even under normal circumstances, it’s necessary for camera crews to be surreptitious in Afghanistan. According to [CNN’s Nic] Robertson, the Taliban forbids the filming of any living creature, so crews must shoot from inside cars or from interior locations.”
“”
“Still, in terms of their efficiency as an army, their biggest problem was the mullah influence over them. Because of the doctrine that it’s a great honour to die in a holy war, they were fearless and took risks that western soldiers perhaps would not. This is not the point of a military exercise, which is to defeat the enemy and live to fight another day. If you are reckless with your life, you risk depleting the army before it has won. But it was almost impossible to raise this issue with them; it would have invited a lot of trouble.”
“”
“We have suffered so much. Every night so many children go to bed hungry. What do we have to live for? Let the rockets come and set this whole country on fire once and for all.”
Zalmai, Afghani teacher
“”
“A long-term air campaign is a possibility -- but against a country such as Afghanistan, the targets available do not support such a campaign, nor is it clear where the air bases for waging such a war would be based. Finally, a conventional invasion of Afghanistan is out of the question. There are no bases in place and nowhere to build up the force, and the logistical requirements would be nightmarish ... To destroy terrorist cells requires the United States to rely heavily on covert operations in conjunction with an air campaign. The paradigm for this comes from Israel, which combines air attacks on enemy facilities with a global covert campaign designed to disrupt and destroy enemy capabilities.”
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“If there are Americans clamoring to bomb Afghanistan back to the Stone Age, they ought to know that this nation does not have so far to go. This is a post-apocalyptic place of felled cities, parched land and downtrodden people.”
“”
“The CIA probably doesn’t have a single truly qualified Arabic-speaking officer of Middle Eastern background who can play a believable Muslim fundamentalist who would volunteer to spend years of his life with shitty food and no women in the mountains of Afghanistan. For Christ’s sake, most case officers live in the suburbs of Virginia. We don’t do that kind of thing.”


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