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And, yes, I DO take it personally: A tale of two Taliban warlords, the Luddite* and the techno-geek
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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A tale of two Taliban warlords, the Luddite* and the techno-geek

the luddite* in pakistan...
Taliban cleric Faqir Mohammed is tall, thin, very serious and very religious. His eyes are hard and he speaks slowly. He never smiles.

And when you hear what he has to say, you won’t be smiling either.

"If we get hold of nuclear weapons – which we hope to get very soon – then we will safeguard them until Allah Almighty guides us when and against whom to use them," he told NBC News in an interview at his mountain hideout.


Faqir explained how he and his men avoid detection. He said never carries a cell phone and never uses the Internet or any other form of modern communication. And he demands his men do the same. "Most of the top al-Qaida fighters have remained safe because they do not use any electronic devices," he said.

Faqir Mohammed, left, speaks with
NBC News Mushtaq Yusufzai, center

"All messages are conveyed through trusted couriers and the letters are immediately burned with a lighter that every fighter keeps in his pocket," said Faqir.

that part about the nukes is a tad disturbing, altho' the article goes on to state this...
And as for those nukes – Pakistan's generals aren't too concerned over Faqir's bluster. They say the nukes are locked up and in control of the army. The warheads are kept separate from their detonation components making it impossible to seize a complete nuclear weapon. And they say there are only a few trusted generals who know the key to the elaborate system of command and control. Even the Bush administration is on record saying it believes that Pakistan's nukes are in safe hands-for now.

then there's faqir's comrade-in-arms, the techno-geek in afghanistan...
Close to a year ago, Afghan warlord Nissam Udin kidnapped two German engineers and allowed one to be shot and killed.


Kidnappers like Mullah Nissam are pursued less zealously than, for example, Taliban sympathizers who have committed an attack on Germany's military, the Bundeswehr, in Afghanistan. Because of this policy of little or no follow-up, Nissam is probably the first kidnapper who German investigators not only know by name, but can also call at any time without Nissam himself having to feel any reason for concern. "I have also given my number to the German Embassy," the Pashtun boasts.

Mullah Nissam Udin

Those who dial Nissam's number will find themselves talking to a polite warlord who promptly invites his callers to pay him a visit in Wardak, where he owns a few hundred sheep and commands anywhere from 30 to 50 fighters. At the agreed meeting place, visitors must hand over their mobile phones and switch from their vehicle to the backs of mopeds. From there, they are driven around for hours until two young men lead them to a mobile tent camp where Nissam Udin is currently staying. A red-and-white mast supporting wireless antennas serves as a beacon of a civilization reachable only by days-long marches.
* Luddite

Main Entry:

: one of a group of early 19th century English workmen destroying laborsaving machinery as a protest; broadly : one who is opposed to especially technological change

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