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|Taliban are shaken but defiant as bombing fails to instill terror|
|11/08/01 at 08:14:40|
|Taliban are shaken but defiant as bombing|
fails to instill terror
By Justin Huggler in Dasht-e Qualeh, Afghanistan
08 November 2001
We could see the American special forces team guiding the bombs in, five men watching from a ridge just a few
hundred metres from the Taliban front line, within range of Taliban rifles. And, less than an hour after the bombs
ploughed into the hills, sending great columns of smoke into the sky, we saw the Taliban emerge unscathed from their
The tiny figures were clearly visible against the golden sunset, where only a short while before there had been smoke
and flames. And there was no mistaking what they were doing. They were praying.
It could have been a gesture of defiance, the way they knelt and rose in prayer, keeping the regular hour of evening
prayer, despite the bombs that seemed to make the hills burn in slow motion where they stood, less than an hour
A Northern Alliance radio crackled. The voice of a Taliban soldier came across the static. "We are alright," he said. His
voice was shaken, but defiant. These are the soldiers who are supposed to be dying, or fleeing in terror before the
Sherendel Sohol, a Northern Alliance general, said he often heard men screaming and crying out for help when the
American bombs fell. They have bombed this ridge of hills relentlessly in the last week, wave after wave of
Only 20 Taliban soldiers have died in the bombing on this front line, Saeedjalal Saeedi, a senior Northern Alliance
commander said yesterday, and only 15 have been injured. More than 100 bombs fell here on Sunday, but only six
Taliban died in the onslaught that day, according to General Saeedi.
Often the bombs only succeed in blowing chunks out of the hillside. You can see a white crater where one landed
close to the Northern Alliance positions.
The Northern Alliance soldiers watched from beside the rusting hulk of a Russian tank destroyed more than a decade
ago in the war with the Soviets, and left in position. A functioning Northern Alliance tank was sandbagged in beside it.
Across the wide valley, where the sun glinted off the many snaking streams of the Kokche river, that has seen
countless invading armies come and go, from Alexander the Great to the Russians, was a perfect view of the
Americans' war in Afghanistan.
We could see the US ground forces in Afghanistan through the crosshairs of an old pair of Russian military binoculars
mounted on a tripod: five men crouched among the sandbags of a Northern Alliance position on the near ridge of hills.
Just a few hundred metres beyond were the Taliban positions, on a second, higher ridge called Kalaqata.
A B52 circled lazily overhead, dropping bombs that sent great columns of black smoke rising in neat rows each time it
passed over Kalaqata. There was an occasional stutter of anti-aircraft fire as the Taliban tried to shoot it down, but it
was thousands of feet above the range of their guns. All that technological sophistication, that could allow the
Americans to rain devastation from the safety of the skies, was being guided by five men crouching on a perilous
hillside, within easy range of the Taliban's snipers. When the B52 had finished its work, the special forces raced down
from the hillside in green Russian military truck, driving straight through the deep streams of the Kokche that most
people here ford on horseback. They use a different vehicle every day, to avoid detection. Another day, we saw them
use two jeeps with blacked out windows.
Once they had gone, the Northern Alliance started trying to radio the Taliban. The soldier we got through to they knew
only by his call-sign, Omari, but they seemed almost concerned that he was alright. They speak whenever there is a
bombardment – and only then. "Once, Omari's commander came on the radio, and asked me why I didn't defect to
them and fight against the Americans," laughed a Northern Alliance commander.
On another frequency, Northern Alliance propaganda started up. "You are not brave people," someone intoned in a high
voice. "You have brought shame to the name of Islam."
A Northern Alliance soldier sat and stared moodily at the hills. "Once, some of us in this army fought against the
Russians, and some fought with them," he said. "Now we are together against the Taliban. And I think that soon we will
be together with them," he gestured towards the Taliban positions, "fighting against..." he hesitated "...some one". Did
he mean the Americans? "The Americans are imperialists," he said.
The US special forces had disappeared into the gathering night. Up on Kalaqata, the Taliban were still prowling around.
|Re: Taliban are shaken but defiant as bombing fails to instill terror|
|11/08/01 at 09:35:43|
|Jaazaakullah Khair Kashif for that! It certainly brightened up my day! May Allah reward you. |
Its so god to hear from the Taliban. We rarely get to see or hear the taliban guys and what they say. Al-Jazeera show a lot, but as i dont speak arabic (shamefully) its hard to understand whats going on.
So news like this keeps the morale of the muslims high. I liked the bit about the NA guy saying one day they will probably be siding with the Taliban!
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