The New York Times: 11 years after they tried to kill each other during the battles, an American soldier meets a Taliban commander

Told by Thomas Gibbons, the New York Times reporter in Kabul and a former US Marine; How did a Taliban field commander meet in the Afghan Marga district of Helmand province after 11 years of trying to kill each other on the battlefield.

Kibbons Neff-Ve described lengthy report Him – the moment of his meeting with Mullah Abdul Rahim Jalab in one of the dark and dusty rooms over a cup of hot tea in Marga, recalling the details of their battle that took place in the cold winter weather on the morning of February 13, 2010, when they were almost together at the same age, i.e. 22 years old.

Kibbons Nef said that Mullah Jallab was at that time part of a group of Taliban fighters who tried to defend the area from thousands of elements from the US, Afghan and coalition forces who were sent to control this place, which was then an important stronghold of the movement.

He pointed out that Mullah Jallab did not know his identity before their meeting. Where he was a corporal in a company of marines that his fighters attacked that morning about 11 years ago.

Kibbons Neve and Mullah Jalab, now a high-ranking leader of the movement, met in a county government building that the Americans had renovated years ago before they were forced to leave the country after a brutal decade-long war.

He stated that he and two of his colleagues from the New York Times were “guests” to the Afghan field commander and that he told him during their meeting that the Marga battle was important in the eyes of the United States and that most people had only heard one version of her story and not from the perspective of the Taliban.

This military operation, which the US military called a “joint operation” (Operation Moshtarak) – according to the author – was important to impose control over the region and the first decisive and failed battle in the context of the efforts of the Marines during the administration of former President Barack Obama to contain the movement’s rebellion.

“After 11 years, Mr. Jallab and I still remember the call to prayer that morning in Koro Chara, a small village in the middle of almost flooded poppy fields near the center of Marga. The surrounding leafless trees looked like dead outstretched hands,” he added.

Mullah Jallab describes that day, saying, “The sky over Marga was full of helicopters and they dropped American soldiers in different areas… It was a very difficult battle.”

Kibbons-Neff recalled the moment he moved with a team of 7 infantrymen to a small brick hut, after landing with more than 250 other soldiers from hovering helicopters. On the other hand, Mullah Jalab gathered a group of the movement’s fighters in a nearby village with the first moments of sunrise. After they prayed in the mosque, the shooting started.”

The writer asserts that Mullah Jalab’s description of that battle as “extremely difficult” is not wrong; By the end of that day, many American and Afghan soldiers had been killed on the battlefield and the Taliban had lost lives.

With the curtain coming down on the last chapters of the war and the US Army withdrawing its forces from the country last August – concludes Kibbons-Neff – “It is now possible to reach again to places where I once fought as a Marine, and to areas of land where friends of mine died, and I watched In it, my country’s military failures intensified as they unfolded.”

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