Friday 12 February 2010

US archives hold cache of Taliban documents

I missed it when it was first published in November last year, but the US National Security Archive has published The Taliban Biography: The structure and leadership of the Taliban 1996-2002. For those of you interested in understanding the personalities that were once/are still in the Taliban leadership, this document is very useful.
In particular the National Security Archive staff have pulled together a comprehensive chart compiled entirely from US government sources that details biographical and professional information on more than 40 important Taliban officials. The report itself links to a large number of primary intel documents.
It mentions the obvious figures such as Mullah Omar (one of whose four wives was a daughter of Osama bin Laden, it says) and mentions that the now-deceased Mullah Mohammad Rabbani, his deputy until 2001, disagreed with the policy of sheltering bin Laden. We also learn that Abdul Rahman Zahid was the Taliban's director of banking. At the start of the anti-Soviet jihad "he was in Dubai as a young man collecting funds from traders." I wonder where he is now.

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