Sunday 19 November 2017

Robert Fisk: The first thing we teach our children is 'Allah'. The second is to fight against the Americans

Robert Fisk

It's sleek, it's glossy, it's in eloquent Arabic, Pashto and Dari, and it pours derision on American and Nato forces in Afghanistan; it is the brand new propaganda wing of the Taliban -- its professionally produced magazines, carrying stories of the Taliban's own "martyrdom" operations and the names of its dead fighters. For once, the cliche "well-oiled publicity machine" is correct.

Nureddin, or Abu Ahmed, as he preferred to be called, to denote that he is Ahmed's father, is one of the creators of Al-Samoud, which roughly translates as "Resistance". The latest front page of the Taliban's monthly house magazine is adorned with photographs of a grim-faced General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan, and the headline: "A surprise is awaiting the enemy in Helmand." Inside, an editorial asks: "Is the battle of Marja as decisive as they claim?" while an article on casualties is accompanied by a colour photograph of a British military cortege passing through the village of Wootton Basset.

Abu Ahmed is from Logar and his arguments are straightforward. "In the West," he says to me, "they say they have freedom of speech, so why shouldn't we have freedom of speech?" We are talking over lunch in the weird company of three pink storks and a peacock that prowl the Afghan-Tajik-Uzbek restaurant in Islamabad where he has chosen to meet me.

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