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  Talibans and Osama: A tale of cowards


Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston and


By all accounts, the war in Afghanistan against the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Mullar Omar, and Osama bin Laden, have been won and lost. Yet again, America has demonstrated its superior military and technological might to the entire world. There is no doubt in the minds of any sane human being on the face of the earth that American military might is second to none and the resolve to use this force is a matter of course anytime its citizens and interests are threatened.

We have also seen the face of the enemy; its resolve and dexterity in the face of the American war and diplomatic machine. While the face of the enemy reflects cowardliness, the face of America displays determination and pride. Proud men and women of the American armed forces are routing Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters from caves, mountains and valleys of Afghanistan.

The plight of the Taliban and Al Qaeda leadership brings to mind the early days of the Gulf War.

Saddam Hussein, in a broadcast to his people, called American Forces cowards and declared that the '91 war would be the "Mother of All Battles." Few days after this declaration, he went into hiding while his countrymen, women, and children were slaughtered by the allied forces lead by the American war machine.

Commentators and talking heads had predicted a long tedious war. Everybody feared it might turn out to be another Vietnam. Russia's humiliating defeat at the hands of the Afghans was a constant refrain repeated by the so-called experts. Retired generals and military men suddenly became the hottest commodity in the media world as news organizations scoured America looking for them to analyze the war.

The Taliban and Al Qaeda leadership declared they would fight to the last man. While we held on to the belief in the triumph of good over evil, we feared that American blood may flow freely on the battle fields of Kandahar, Tora Bora, Kabul, Mazara-e-Shariff, and other remote areas of Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants kept releasing fiery videos, threatening the West and complaining of the killing of innocent civilians. As the bombing intensified, they made hurried departures from their caves to undisclosed locations, leaving their men to fight to the "last man."


History books are replete with stories of men and women who oppress and deprive their citizens in the guise of religion, nationalism or ideology. While such leaders employ draconian laws to instill fear in their people and stifle dissent, they are often cowards who would run at the first hint of danger. From their heavily fortified palaces, they send others to do their bidding, and if necessary, die for them.

Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar and the rest of the Taliban and Al Qaeda leadership encouraged young men to carry out suicide missions for Islam. They promised them virgin girls in heaven and martyrdom on earth. American and British forces gave Omar and bin Laden a chance to enjoy what they promised their followers. What did they do? One only hopes that these misguided young men, who are duped by the charm and promises of people like Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders, will see that they are not messiahs or saviors of the Islamic faith but rather cowards who would ask others to do their evil work.

It came to pass that the great battles of Kabul, Kandahar, Tora Bora, Mazae-e-Shariff, and the white mountains were figments of the imagination of the talking heads. These places were overrun by the American Forces with little or no resistance from the Taliban and Al Qaeda forces. The leaders of the Jihad had made deals with local warlords to give them clear passage to their hiding places. Their calls for Muslims all over the world to join in their Jihad fell on deaf ears. The new reality had dawned on everybody.

Life in Afghanistan finally has a semblance of normalcy. A 29 member interim administration has been installed to run of the affairs of the war ravaged country. Former deputy foreign minister turned warlord, Hamid Karzai, is the chairman. Afghans have tested their new found freedom by staging on protest marches. Women are discarding their veils as they move about freely. They are no longer required to be accompanied by men to venture outside their homes.

Those who can are seeking gainful employment. Michael Jackson is back on the charts there, while hidden television and stereo sets have been liberated and are blasting away.

Although Afghanistan is a country plagued by hunger, diseases, joblessness, and other dangers, everyone recognizes the smell of freedom in the air and people are savoring it.

Where is Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden? Where are their families? Someday, when these men are captured and killed or they die by natural causes, their epitaphs should read:

Here lies a coward

who called for the

mother of all battles

and ran while others

shed blood for him.

Elendu is a contributing editor of and This commentary will appear in the print edition of USAfrica The Newspaper. He writes every Friday, exclusively for

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