A symbol of massacre, rape and pillage

It is, of course, richly ironic that the first achievement of the war on terrorism has been to install in Kabul the Northern Alliance, for whom terrorism has been the entire line of business and way of life for more than 20 years.

But it remains a fact that from 1992 to 1996, the Northern Alliance was a symbol of massacre, systematic rape and pillage. Which is why we – and I include the US State Department – welcomed the Taliban when they arrived in Kabul. The Northern Alliance left the city in 1996 with 50,000 dead behind it. Now its members are our foot soldiers. Better than Mr Bin Laden, to be sure. But what – in God’s name- are they going to do in our name?

Why, I wonder, do we always have this ambiguous, dangerous relationship with our allies? For decades, we accepted the received wisdom that the B specials were a vital security arm of the Northern Ireland authorities on the grounds that they knew the territory just as, I fear, we rely upon the Northern Alliance because it knows the land.

Taken from the website of the Revolutionary Association of Afghan Women based on reports for The Guardian and The Independent, 14 November 2001

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