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.”