Afghanistan: The Enemy's Enemy

Fractious Afghan warlords ally to fight the Taliban. But should the U.S. rush to join them?

Black mourning banners still wave across the steep gorges, pockmarked villages and invisible redoubts that make up the thin sliver of Afghanistan not conquered by the Taliban. They honor the "Lion of Panjshir," Ahmed Shah Massoud, revered commander of the anti-Taliban forces, assassinated two days before the attacks on the U.S. Yet the loose collection of Northern Alliance fighters now calling themselves the United Front, who have doggedly held their narrowing ground for five years, are filled with high hope. American bombs are coming. America will help them win the victory they couldn't win themselves.

Since Sept. 11, big powers...

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