FRIENDS OF THE TALIBAN

AS FIGHTING NEARS KABUL, TWO POWS TELL TIME THAT PAKISTAN SENT SOLDIERS TO HELP THE EXTREME ISLAMISTS

The 26 men sit in grim isolation, huddled in a darkened cell of a former Soviet-built prison deep in northern Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley. They are sequestered from nearly 600 other prisoners, but even if they were allowed to mingle, they would still stand apart. The style of their clothes, the color of their skin, their very language mark them as outsiders. They are not Afghans. They are Pakistanis, captured while fighting against the forces of the Afghan government that was driven from the capital five weeks ago by the group of Islamic fighters known as the Taliban. The presence of these...

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