Wednesday, November 14, 2001
Two scenes jump out of the news from Afghanistan to underscore the promise and the plight in that stricken land.
One towns triumph,
When the town of Taloqan, in northeastern Afghanistan, was liberated from its oppressive Taliban rulers, men shaved off their beards, women walked from their homes into the streets without male escorts, people dug up and turned on long hidden TV sets and music blared from restaurants. People clapped and cheered.
In grim contrast, troops of the northern alliance murdered and looted as they advanced toward the capital in Kabul, on the other side of the country. Eyewitnesses reported seeing wounded Taliban soldiers pulled from hiding places and executed on the spot. Others stole shoes, sugar, flashlights and money from dead Taliban soldiers. A northern alliance troop commander, told of the killings, shrugged: "The soldiers must have been very angry."
Surely the Afghan people, after years of conflict, deserve a little peace and dancing in the streets, but it will not be easy to come by.