Skip

This is not what the travel agent told me Kabul looked like!
November 2, 2001 11:35 AM   Subscribe

This is not what the travel agent told me Kabul looked like! Report in London times of British Muslim who went over to join the Taliban war effort and found out they were nothing but "lunatics and liars." Question: Should he be allowed back into Britain and if so, should he be tried for treason?
posted by prodigal (31 comments total)

 
Yes. Yes.
posted by yesster at 12:13 PM on November 2, 2001


be easier to try him for treason if he is in the country....since his intent was to join a nice organised military unit to join--he didn't have a change of heart, he was unhappy with what he ended up with, he still wanted to go kill The Enemy, which in theory could be brittish troops or their allies. Correct?
posted by th3ph17 at 12:20 PM on November 2, 2001


i didn't see any remorse in his quotes. i doubt they can legally not let him back in...but no way should they let come back. and he is definately guilty of something which should involve lenghty jail time. as is every one of the recruiters. maybe the english should bring back the stockade (i'm feeling especially vindictive today...MeFi stone me if you wish.)
posted by danOstuporStar at 12:27 PM on November 2, 2001


Pretty clear case to me. If he's stupid enough to try to re-enter the UK and gets caught, he ought to look forward to a lifetime in prison. He's lucky it's the UK -- in the States if you're convicted of treason during wartime, that's an automatic death penalty.
posted by mrmanley at 12:32 PM on November 2, 2001


This article paints the Taliban like they're a bunch of backwards hicks. I'd like to think that the opposition is as disorganized and just plain stupid as this guy says they are...but if that's the case, why haven't they fallen apart yet?

God, this stupid crap needs to just end. I want to take a break from current events and stop reading/listening to/watching news for a week or so, but I can't. do. it.
posted by andnbsp at 12:35 PM on November 2, 2001


Lunatics and liars can be determined too.
posted by techgnollogic at 12:39 PM on November 2, 2001


I don't believe he ought to be mistreated for acting out his beliefs. But since he was seemingly a member of the Taliban, he ought to be jailed as a terrorist/spy...how do we know he is not a double agent at this point? Cut off his nuts, skin him, amputate an arm and leg and then set him free. In the Atlantic and tell him to swim to shore.
posted by Postroad at 12:46 PM on November 2, 2001


This article paints the Taliban like they're a bunch of backwards hicks. I'd like to think that the opposition is as disorganized and just plain stupid as this guy says they are...but if that's the case, why haven't they fallen apart yet?

From everything I've read (including before Sept 11th) they *are* a "bunch of backwards hicks." The problem is that when you're as disorganized as they are, you don't have a competent central authority to declare and orchestrate a surrender. Even retreats require some level of organization and they just don't have that. This is going to be one of those situations where even when we get rid of the "Taliban leaders" or whatever formally consistutes the Taliban government, we're still going to have problems with makeshift militias that didn't get the news that the battle was over or choose not to recognize the authority of the Taliban leadership because they feel they have nothing to lose by continuing to fight.

I think that several of the Taliban forces will become deserters as soon as it is established that the new regime will protect them. Several of them would do it now if there were readily available safe havens.

In addition, some of these people are fighting because they feel fighting the "great Satan" - whatever that means at the moment - gives their lives an importance they wouldn't have otherwise. When their raison d'etre is gone, they're going to resent it being taken away from them. Some of them have been fighting the opposition (through its various incarnations) for most of their lives, and it's not clear that they'll know what to do with themselves if the fighting ends. The "Taliban forces" are so fragmented that we're probably going to have to organize them ourselves just establish the fact that the Taliban is no longer in power.
posted by lizs at 1:00 PM on November 2, 2001


"No wait! You don't understand! It was a.. uh, double spy kinda thing. I was trying to do a spin on 'em! Yeah that's it! I was doin' the old bait n switch! I'm still an Englishman at heart! I'm like James Bond! Don't put me in jail!"

Put him in jail. Throw away the key.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:03 PM on November 2, 2001


“I was a Muslim, I did pray regularly at mosque but I wasn’t some kind of zealot,”

I don't know. The Taleban seem like a bunch of zealots by definition.
posted by haqspan at 1:04 PM on November 2, 2001


Is genocide always wrong? If your adversary is crazy and won't back down, is there another path to peace?
posted by BentPenguin at 1:05 PM on November 2, 2001


Is genocide always wrong?

Uh, dude, shut up before you make yourself dumber than you already do.
posted by solistrato at 1:08 PM on November 2, 2001


BTW, he can't be tried for treason, because we're not officially at war. (OK, he can be *tried* for treason, but no treasonous act has been committed.) They could try and get attempted murder, conspiracy to murder or something similar to stick, but not treason...
posted by benzo8 at 1:16 PM on November 2, 2001


Is genocide always wrong?

Extending an invitation to Mr Godwin?
posted by liam at 1:16 PM on November 2, 2001


Sounds to me like the Lori Berenson case—idealistic youth consorts with terrorists, finds it’s not so much fun as she thought, then complains about being held responsible for her actions.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:22 PM on November 2, 2001


lizs: Abdul Haq's remarks before embarking on his ill-fated mission provide a decent sense of how the Taliban "leadership" works. Lots of what might be called the "officer corps" aren't actually Afghans, but Saudi and Pakistani imports. The undercover documentary filmed by a BBC correspondent last year demonstrated this really well:

The Afghans beside me pointed at his back and showed their disdain for the outsider. They all gave their so-called Muslim brother the thumbs down and gestured the universal sign for someone who is obviously mad. These Afghans loved a good fight, but it was equally clear that they didn't like the kind of fanatical war now being waged by foreign fighters on their soil.

And yes, there's no chance of bringing the charge of treason, but it certainly comes under the auspices of sedition, or the new Terrorism Act.
posted by holgate at 1:25 PM on November 2, 2001



Let him back in.

Try him for treason.

Make sure it's in _all_ the newspapers.

Aside from that, did anyone else note the incorrect use of the term "ricochet"?
posted by silusGROK at 1:54 PM on November 2, 2001


“Some of the others were shouting victory slogans but we hadn’t done anything except get ourselves shot”

stupid hicks indeed.
posted by nobody_knose at 2:21 PM on November 2, 2001


Vis10n, I believe they meant 'recoil'. Kind of a big error, any editor should have spotted it.

Another thing to fit into the mix-- how does anyone know this person even exists?
posted by cell divide at 2:33 PM on November 2, 2001


"Uh, dude, shut up before you make yourself dumber than you already do."

that would be are actually.

looks like someone just got an e-mail from a kettle.
posted by jcterminal at 2:44 PM on November 2, 2001


Yeah, JC, solistratos typo puts him on the level of the "genocide" guy.
posted by Doug at 2:55 PM on November 2, 2001


The usual way of handling persons like this is to charge them with as many nasty crimes as you can with very long potential sentences, then to squeeze him like a sponge for intelligence, after which -- assuming he cooperates -- there are convictions and token sentences.
posted by dhartung at 3:32 PM on November 2, 2001



Sounds to me like the Lori Berenson case?idealistic youth consorts with terrorists, finds it?s not so much fun as she thought, then complains about being held responsible for her actions.


No. Lori Berenson is probably innocent and the reason she's in jail is because Fujimori wanted to prove he was tough by throwing an american in jail. You're right about her being idealistic though.
posted by rdr at 3:52 PM on November 2, 2001


Whether the story is true or the guy made it up, he's an idiot either way. He'd be better off having a nice cup of tea and a good sit down in a comfy chair and never mind all this Taliban nonsense.
posted by daragh at 4:11 PM on November 2, 2001


squeeze him like a sponge for intelligence, after which -- assuming he cooperates -- there are convictions and token sentences.

YEP, yep, yep.

and then he can write a book about it and make big $$$. Which he can spend while living in hiding. Fair trade to get the organization.
posted by th3ph17 at 4:30 PM on November 2, 2001


Why is everyone so eager to convict and punish this insignificant bit player? On the scale of international conflict, this guy is the equivalent of a moronic teenager scrawling anarchist slogans on the back of his school notebooks. If the whole narrative about his "conversion" is not just B.S. (and it does bear some signs of fantasy), this is as good an example as you could name of the kind of person who needs to be co-opted by the U.S. and its allies. ("Milk for intelligence and then lock up in prison" is not exactly a promising formula for pursuing cooperation from torn Muslims who listen sympathetically to Islamist appeals but can't finally hack the stupidity of it.) Consider for a moment: the propaganda front is at least as important as any other, and it's the one where at the moment the U.S. is doing most poorly...
posted by Zurishaddai at 4:56 PM on November 2, 2001


This sounds more like Patty Hearst, who did indeed serve prison time (and deserved to) when she went over to the SLA.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 9:13 PM on November 2, 2001


oh dear... i miss one day, and look what happens. why hasn't anyone pointed out that this person should be shot for desertion?

i mean, it's one thing to follow your convictions to a holy war (though i loathe the taliban, i understand why he went off to war,) it's quite another thing to abandon those convictions after the first shots are fired. the man should be hanged for treason, then shot for desertion, and finally boiled in tar for being such a squishy, morally confused fucktard.
posted by phalkin at 1:23 AM on November 3, 2001


kill! kill! kill!

You people disappoint the hell out of me today.
And I'm not even going to touch the Genocide Guy.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:26 AM on November 3, 2001


And I'm not even going to touch the Genocide Guy.

Begging the question, why would anyone even want to?
posted by lia at 5:46 AM on November 3, 2001


Y'know, cell divide has a point. If there are in fact 'recruiters' out on the streets in London, this is just the sort of knuckleheaded propaganda one might put out to counter it. The very first paragraph, in fact, is not an ordinary 'news' graph, but a 'warning' to would-be recruits.

There are no facts listed - unusual in a news story. Where's stuff you'd expect to hear; the air carrier's name, plane numbers, departure dates. No quotes from his wife and father? How hard could it be to track a Muslim mechanic in East London who's gone missing since September? It's not like this story is time-critical, but there's no real background. He reads like an urban legend, more than a confirmable source.

Too many unanswered questions. If he didn't know where he was, how did he get out of there to get back to Pakistan? We're supposedly talking about an Englishman, a CITY Englishman, no less, wandering alone across country in what amounts to a war zone in mountainous country where no one speaks his language. (Language barrier assumed since his 'commander' had to give orders via hand gestures.)

This really does seem like a pretty peculiar news story, and warrants some skepticism.
posted by Perigee at 1:46 AM on November 4, 2001


« Older Five Salem Witches Exonerated - 300 Years Later   |   Salman Rushdie weighs in. (NYT) Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post