Friday, August 14, 2009

Book Quotes: The Taliban

From Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin:

Peshawar is also the gateway to the Khyber Pass. Through this pipeline between Pakistan and Afghanistan historic forces were traveling. Students of Peshawar's madrassas, or Islamic theological schools, were trading in their books for Kalashnikovs and bandoliers and marching over the pass to join a movement that threatened to sweep Afghanistan's widely despised rulers from power.

That August of 1996, this mostly teenaged army, which called itself the Taliban, or "students of Islam," launched a surprise offensive and overran Jalalabad, a large city on the Afghan side of the Khyber Pass. Frontier Corps guards stood aside as thousands of bearded boys who wore turbans and lined their eyes with dark surma poured over the pass in hundreds of double-cab pickups, carrying Kalashnikovs and Korans.

Exhausted refugees, fleeing the fighting, were flowing east in equal numbers, and straining the capacity of muddy camps on the margin of Peshawar.

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