Taliban's inspector general has compiled a scathing report that charges the
organization's leaders with recruiting too many men who can read and write,
Pashtun insiders familiar with the document said yesterday.
internal study notes that the Taliban's greatest gains have come when its
members are uneducated, and questions as "fundamentally unsound" the recent
decision to permit university graduates to join the organization, albeit on
double secret probation. "Who knows what thoughts may have been put in their
heads?" asked the Taliban official, Gulam Nabi, who is Afghan but who like many
Americans goes by two names.
report, which was provided to the Best Defense by a usually reliable source in
an unreliable mud hut near Lashkar Gah, also discerned weak oversight and
accountability in preventing educated men from joining. Yet it also questioned
the goal of Taliban chief Mullah Omar to achieve 100 percent illiteracy within
three years, saying that target may be "unrealistic and unattainable."
Addressing the issue of whether forces unable to keep written records could
keep reliable track of their weapons inventory, the Taliban IG noted that there
is not one instance over the last 2,500 years of an illiterate Afghan ever
losing track of his weapon: "His women? Perhaps. His sheep? It happens. His
sword or rifle? No. Not gonna happen."
report concludes by warning that if current trends in literacy continue, parts
of its fighting force could become as ineffective as Afghan National Security Forces.
related story, al Qaeda yanked the accreditation of its Syrian affiliate, stating
that the branch had fallen out of compliance with several key tenets of
membership. Some of the violations were purely technical, such as killing rival
leaders without first informing its higher headquarters.
Author's note: Yes, this post is
my salute to DuffelBlog.
Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images