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May 22, 2011
"Taliban is Afghanistan. Afghanistan is Taliban."
Canadian journalist Melissa Fung has written what is described in the Vancouver Sun as a "chilling memoir" of her experiences in Afghan captivity for 28 days -- stabbed, confined in a dark prison hole, and raped, while being held for ransom.
Arriving at a remote village, she was thrown into the hole that would be her prison. Six feet by three feet by five feet high, it had a light bulb rigged to a car battery for illumination and a bucket for bodily functions. She survived the next four weeks mainly on murky water, juice and chocolate cookies. In that space, tiny even for one person and hidden by a canopy of dirt, she was constantly in the company of one or another of her captives [...] "[U]ncle" Abdulrahman, an older, fat man whose "breath reeked of garlic and onions," [...] raped her at knifepoint on the one night she was left alone with him. She spent the next few hours rocking "back and forth in a fetal position, hoping I would wake up and realize this was all a horrible nightmare" as Abdulrahman slept beside her. When he woke, he asked, "You want to interview me?" and she did, to distract him, try to get information out of him - and because she's the consummate journalist.
One of Melissa Fung's captors, opining proudly about his girlfriend, "showed photos of her and her family he took with Fung's camera. Then he chillingly told her that they plan, a year or two after their marriage, to both become suicide bombers and go to heaven together."
As it transpires, her captors were not "hardcore" Taliban. Fung characterizes them all too benignly as a "cunning" family business that abducts foreigners for ransom. Most importantly, one of her captors shares this honest and pathognomonic observation which our deranged military policymakers, who demand tea-drinking and goat-eating with the irredentist Afghan tribesmen, must be forced to heed:
We are all the same. Taliban is Afghanistan. Afghanistan is Taliban.