Leah Farrall’s second round of dialogue with Abu Walid has been translated and posted. In this one, he comes across as a disgruntled blog commenter, chiding Farrall for picayune misimpressions or perceived inaccuracies in her account of Taliban/al-Qaeda relations at the expense of substantive engagement with her broader points. This might be my favorite example:

The consultations thing is not an organised job. And if this consultation or advice occurs, it can be accepted or rejected very freely and with a sporting spirit. When I see a mistake that may cause damage I go directly to the party responsible and I speak quietly or not quietly, and it may come to a result or it may not, but we don’t leave the sites of friendship and love at all.

Well sorrrrrrrrr-eeee! If I were a communications consultant to Abu Walid, I’d remind him that the Taliban doesn’t exactly disclose its org charts. And then I’d take another hit and giggle about how this colloquy has gone down the rabbit hole of bureaucratic exactitude. (That’s not a slight to Leah; it’s about her interlocutor.)

Still, there’s something barometrically significant about Abu Walid’s lack of engagement. For instance, here’s Abu Walid turning to the question of why there is a “political trend in the West” to “accuse opposition movements of working for the benefit of external parties”:

And second was a big block of elements of the Islamic work across the world, against the movement {trans: means Taliban}.  And in particular the International Organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood, who saw the Taliban’s victory over the Kabul regime, which was headed by symbols like the President Rabbani, Sayyaf, the regime priest, and Mujaddadi the first President to the government named al Mujahideen in Afghanistan. And Iran also suffered from the victory of the Taliban because Rabbani (and with him Ahmad Shah Masoud, the Minister of Defence) were very important parts of the Iranian policy in Afghanistan. As for the Arab media it is always a spontaneous reflection of and a permanent consumer of the poisonous media the West throws at it.

Or maybe it’s because the Taliban hosted and embraced an international extremist organization explicitly devoted to the violent overthrow of so-called “apostate” regimes and vowed publicly to attack U.S.interests wherever it could. I’m just spitballing here.

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman

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