The Color of Passion

Three days after the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar fell in December last year, I ventured out to an al-Qaeda camp in the pale-gray flatlands behind the airport. This was where Osama bin Laden kept his horses. By the time I got there, the terrorists were long gone. Prowling around the bombed-out stables, I found a pile of dented steel lockers, maybe 30 of them, filled with chunks of lapis lazuli. There were booby traps all over the campóone of them had blown the head off bin Laden's grazing stallionóbut I opened one of the lockers anyway. The lapis stones had a...

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