A Different Vantage

From the front lines, the Taliban still looks strong

The Taliban likes to portray itself as just, resolute and pure. But accounts coming out of Kabul these days depict it in a very different light--as corrupt, abusive and, with expectations of a U.S. attack mounting, increasingly vindictive. Dust-caked refugees fleeing the capital say streets are sealed off and soldiers go from house to house, press-ganging men of military age. "There is a jihad against the Americans going on. Why aren't you fighting?" the Taliban asked Kandaqa, a worker from Kabul, last week. He pledged his house as surety, then collected his family and fled across the mountains.

Northern Alliance officials...

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