How I Broke 9/11 News to Taliban Fighter


One of the Taliban prisoners-of-war I met at the Do-Ab detention center in the Panjshir Valley in mid-September 2001 was a bespectacled man with refined manners and fluent English.

He looked and sounded like a university professor who was here by mistake but his long beard and white skull cap belied his affiliation with the Taliban.

Incidentally, Salahuddin Khaled was a theology scholar in Pakistan, who arrived in Afghanistan to implement with sword and fire the ideas of a true Islamic state.

Dr. Khaled had not heard about the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, but when I told him what happened he was more than pleased: “Good job. I’m not sure if that was ben Laden or the Palestinians, but the work was well done.”

Like most other Taliban fighters turned POWs, he, too, was prepared to continue the armed struggle if the Northern Alliance let him go.

PS. I do not know if Dr. Khaled was ever released from captivity and, if he was, whether he continued his struggle.