My Life with the Taliban
Abdul Zaeef describes growing up in poverty in rural Kandahar province, which he fled for Pakistan after the Russian invasion of 1979. Zaeef joined the jihad in 1983, was seriously wounded in several encounters and met many leading figures of the resistance, including the current Taliban head, Mullah Mohammad Omar. Disgusted by the lawlessness that ensued after the Soviet withdrawal, Zaeef was one among the former mujahidin who were closely involved in the emergence of the Taliban, in 1994. He then details his Taliban career, including negotiations with Ahmed Shah Massoud and role as ambassador to Pakistan during 9/11. In early 2002 Zaeef was handed over to American forces in Islamabad and spent four and a half years in prison in Bagram and Guantanamo before being released without charge. My Life with the Taliban offers insights into the Pashtun village communities that are the Taliban's bedrock and helps to explain what drives men like Zaeef to take up arms against the foreigners who are foolish enough to invade his homeland.