Qari Jamal has returned safely from
a reconnaissance mission in Kabul. Short, thin, and immaculately
dressed, the fresh-faced 25-year-old relaxes in a house near the
Afghan-Pakistan border and tells how he toured the city with his digital
camera, looking like an innocent civilian as he scouted sites for
future Taliban attacks. “The work is both easy and difficult,” he says.
“We have to photograph and survey the area, get the exact GPS
coordinates, and note the daily movements of the security forces
guarding the installation, without getting caught.” Polishing his
glasses on his long, spotlessly white shirttail, he mentions one of the
targets he and other undercover Taliban have been casing near NATO
headquarters: the Ariana Hotel—a CIA operations center, Jamal calls it.
“This is a most attractive target for the fedayeen,” he says. He’s
talking about suicide bombers.
young Afghan belongs to a dangerous new breed of Taliban militants. He
grew up in a city, not in a mud-hut village in the backcountry, and he
got his education not only at a madrassa but also at a public high
school in Pakistan, and then at a college where he majored in
information technology. His beard is neatly trimmed, and he doesn’t even
carry a gun. Instead, he says, his weapons are a MacBook computer, a
clutch of mobile phones, and an array of IT gadgets, from digital
cameras to webcams and GPS devices. Citified techies like him are
playing an essential role in helping the guerrillas to reshape their
strategy with attention-grabbing surprise assaults in places that
previously were spared from the heaviest fighting.
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