“Of course, they’re going to deny. They’re in the unfortunate position of having cried wolf so often that it becomes hard to know quite what to believe.”
Abdul Qadir waits for business in his spartan subterranean office. Anywhere else, Qadir would work behind a computer in an anonymous cubicle. But here, Qadir buys and sells his dollars with a handshake and a smile.
Just one seat away on the helicopter sits Commander Masood himself. As I prepare to introduce myself, I notice his lips are moving in silent prayer. I wonder if I shouldn’t be doing the same.
“We want to turn Afghanistan into our base and bring Islam to the whole world,” says Salahuddin Khalib, a Taliban fighter whose bright eyes shine through his oversized glasses. “We know that many Muslims will die. But if 10,000 are killed in the process, we’ll make 5 billion new ones.”