The goals of Afghanistan’s insurgency are national, and even many Taliban leaders resented al-Qaeda’s presence on their turf
As the sun rose, the men from the raiding party chanted verses from the Koran, spread their checkered scarves on the dirt and prayed for Osama bin Laden’s swift passage to paradise. It was a ritual they’d performed a hundred times for their fallen comrades. But there were no outbursts of grief or pledges of vengeance. Bin Laden had been a good Muslim, said the small, wiry Taliban judge leading the ritual. Bin Laden had surrendered a life of luxury for one of hardship, and his “death on the battlefield” was befitting. Beyond that, as far as the Taliban are concerned, “his death had no impact,” said the judge, who goes by the nom de guerre Khanjari (and whose identity was confirmed by a member of Afghanistan’s security service).
“Every member of my group is as brave as Osama,” Khanjari continued. “The only difference is he had more money … My friends mean more to me than him. Any one of us would take a bullet for each other.” For the Taliban, bin Laden’s death has been far less important than some in the West may have hoped. Continue reading