The Taliban letters
By Steve Coll I have a new post on my New Yorker blog. My attention has been drawn to an amazing exchange of letters between an Australian academic and Abu Walid al Masri, the nom de guerre of an apparently Egyptian-born writer for the Taliban. I’m told that Al Masri is one of the more ...
By Steve Coll
By Steve Coll
I have a new post on my New Yorker blog.
My attention has been drawn to an amazing exchange of letters between an Australian academic and Abu Walid al Masri, the nom de guerre of an apparently Egyptian-born writer for the Taliban. I’m told that Al Masri is one of the more prolific and talented contributors to the official Taliban magazine, whose articles have to be vetted by leadership, and that he has also independently published his own book on war strategy and related issues. He is evidently one of the few jihadi writers with a sense of humor and self-awareness.
His correspondent is Leah Farrall, about whom I was previously unaware. Her blog biography discloses that she had been an intelligence analyst for the Australian federal police and is now completing her doctoral dissertation. Her exchange with al Masri is still developing, and we non-Arabic readers only have access to the first of the Taliban writer’s letters. Farrall promises to translate four more but says she is currently snowed under with edits of her dissertation. The photograph of Farrall on her blog — she is a blonde — seems to have attracted al Masri’s attention. This is from his initial letter to her:
In our minds are the horrible images of the beautiful female solders and their exercise on our brothers of a torture sport in Abu Ghraib. We don’t forget the image of the beautiful American, as she draws one of our brothers from his neck with a rope like a dog while he was naked and lying on the floor.
For the rest, visit Think Tank.
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