24 January, 2021

Charlie's Guns Are Still Smokin'

The Taliban regroup, a war comes full circle for the US. It can't lose focus.

Charlie's Guns Are Still Smokin'
"It was just very, very exciting to be in that room with those men with their huge white teeth." Afghan warlords have often formed unusual alliances in times of conflict, but even by their standards, holding a war council with a clearly giddy beauty queen dressed in a pink jumpsuit and answering to the name of 'Snowflake' was hardly standard fare. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has now been formally designated, by Executive Order 13224 of the United States government, a 'Global Terrorist'. But in January 1984, in the Pakistan frontier town of Peshawar, Hekmatyar, who later became perhaps the only serving prime minister in history to bomb his own capital, was busy charming Snowflake's boyfriend. Congressman Charlie Wilson was, according to his excellent and apparently authorised biography, a notorious drunken philanderer. He was a man who represented everything that the hard-line Islamist Hekmatyar despised. But Wilson, more than any other man, was determining the course of the Afghan war against the Soviet Union. With messianic fervour, he had used his...


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