Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Lest we forget, Osama's Friends are Like...Well...

Technorati Profile

From a CNN story this month:

"A kinder, gentler Taliban?

The Taliban rose to power in the 1990s in response to corrupt warlords who were busy tearing the country apart.

Corruption is once again a serious problem, this time for the U.S.-backed government of President Hamid Karzai, and the Taliban code of conduct is aimed at exploiting that advantage.

"Taliban may not use Jihad equipment or property for personal ends" reads rule nine, while rule 10 says each Taliban is held "accountable to his superiors in matters of money spending and equipment usage."

This is clear PR, Brachman says. "The Taliban recognizes that it has the reputation of being a band of brutal barbarians interested only in clubbing women back to the Stone Age. This rule sheet reads like an effort to put a kinder, gentler, more moderate and professional face on the movement."

Until you get to rules 24 and 25, which make it clear that the Taliban's current campaign of destroying schools around Afghanistan and terrorizing teachers will continue as long as schools dare teach something other than the Taliban version of Islam.

"It is forbidden to work as a teacher under the current puppet regime, because this strengthens the system of the infidels," says rule 24. And if a teacher refuses a warning to give up his job, reads rule 25, "he must be beaten."

"If the teacher still continues to instruct contrary to the principles of Islam, the district commander or a group leader must kill him," it continues.

When schools are burned, the Taliban rules say it is important that religious texts be removed from the buildings first.
Defining the Taliban

Journalist Rizvi says that each of the 30 rules reveals much about the Taliban and how it has evolved over the last five years.

One rule, notes Rizvi, says that only the highest levels of the Taliban can approve work for an NGO (the non-governmental organizations that do much of the aid and reconstruction work in Afghanistan). Rizvi says this means "they have planted people inside NGOs."

One reason for the handbook is to put the Taliban's religious views front and center to its members, adds Brachman. "The first rule is classic in that it welcomes believers of Islam into their movement. Punishments and judgments are stated as playing out according to Islamic law. "

He also sees it as a move -- as the Taliban raises its military profile -- to set a certain standard of professionalism and behavior.

Along with rules about not smoking cigarettes and not allowing murderers to join the Taliban, there also is this entry: Taliban "are not allowed to take young boys with no facial hair onto the battlefield or into their private quarters."

Sexual abuse, says Rizvi, has always been a problem for the movement, especially in some of the madrassas (religious schools) that feed recruits to the movement.

Controlling bad behavior, according to Brachman, is just one of the ways "the Taliban are aggressively seeking to update their organization inside and out."

And that, he says, is a worrying sign, as worrying as their increased presence on the battlefield."

Just when you thought it couldn't get any wierder !

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