I decided to go and meet the Taliban in the spring of 1999, two years before the 9/11 attacks. Most of us, including me, didn’t know much about the Taliban back then, nor did we want to. A decade earlier, the CIA funded and trained Muslim rebels to kick the Soviets out of Afghanistan after ten years of occupation. That made America happy — the Soviet Union defeated! Humiliated! Our pundits called it “their Vietnam!“ like we had actually learned a single damn lesson from Vietnam. As for what was left of Afghanistan, well, who friggin’ cared?
So in 1999, the Taliban landed on my radar. They had banned kite flying and made it illegal to watch TV, two of my favorite pastimes. What was wrong with these people? I decided to go and ask them.
I couldn’t figure out how to get over there without four plane changes and a couple of rented mules, so I settled for a meeting with one of their top leaders, Abdul Hakeem Mujahid, their ambassador to the United Nations.
At that time, the UN hadn’t officially recognized the Taliban-led government of Afghanistan, so Ambassador Mujahid couldn’t take his seat in the UN Assembly.
Undeterred, the ambassador and the Taliban set up their own UN consulate — in Queens. Next to a nail salon and an endoscopy clinic. So I headed out to the borough that gave us Donald Trump and Archie Bunker to hold a one-on-one meeting with the Taliban leader.
When I walked into their consulate, Ambassador Mujahid and his staff of all male secretaries were overjoyed to see me. My first thought: I think I am the first American to stop by and pay them a visit. I was their one-man Welcome Wagon, but without the banana bread. I did, though, bring other gifts: a parakeet, a kite, some Queens swag, a Mets t-shirt, a terminal map of LaGuardia and JFK (if you tell a joke before the tragedy occurs, is that too too soon?), and a portable television set. He accepted it all in good humor (though he wouldn’t touch the TV).
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Source: Michael Moore