FRONTLINE Episode 4: Taliban Country

FRONTLINE Episode 4: Taliban Country

Nothing too weird to report on the corona-virus lock down today. The kids all had a relatively light day of school work and I have given up on trying to fix some of their technical issues. I do have a trip to the ABC Store in my future.

For today’s Speaker Series publication I want to highlight an episode of Frontline that I just watched. It is Episode 4 of the 2020 Season titled: Taliban Country/The Luanda Leaks. If you are a cord cutter you can download the PBS app on your T.V. or you can watch on Amazon Prime Video. If neither of those are an option, you can watch for free at this link,

The episode follows Najibullah Quraishi a veteran Afghan journalist and film maker. (The first link brings you to an interview he did with Frontline in 2010 after he produced a previous film for them about the Taliban the second to the interview for this publication.)

Quraishi shows some real stones in this episode by conducting interviews with both, Taliban and ISIS fighters in Afghanistan. The interviews were conducted in November, 2019 in Ghazni. While they were gathering Taliban commanders for the interview, they were concerned about staying to long and becoming a target for a drone strike!

 In the interview, the Taliban claimed to control 80% of Afghanistan, a number that is disputed by Afghan government which claims it controls 94% of the population. Interestingly, Afghanistan is so sparsely populated that both of these claims can essentially be true.

Quraishi speaks to a local teacher and he states that he does not care who controls Afghanistan, he just wants peace. On this point, I think that most people there would agree. On top of the 18 years of fighting the current coalition, the people of Afghanistan have been pretty much in a constant fight since the 1970s. The interview continues with the Taliban commander who does not care much for President Trump. He states that they will continue to fight until the last American leaves and that we know that we have lost the war….

Quraishi then travels to Mazari Sharif and on to Baglan Province to interview ISIS fighters. The ISIS fighters claim to have walked 10 hours and are located in a much more remote section of Afghanistan. They showed off some of their weapons and some hand to hand combat drills. The important part of the interview was the discussion about what life would be like after a Peace Deal. The ISIS fighters think that much of the Taliban will defect and join ISIS to create the Caliphate.

Quraishi continues the interview with the top Taliban negotiator in Doha. The negotiator was a close confidant of Mullah Omar and spent 8 years in a Pakistani prison before being released in 2018. Quraishi asks what would Afghanistan look like under Taliban rule and they basically say that they will follow their interpretation of Sharia Law. The negotiator shows no love for ISIS, calling them a heresy and stating that they have already been fighting them, not the Afghan government. Regardless, it looks like a fight is coming between them.

The second part of the broadcast talks about high level corruption in Angola in the Luanda Leaks. If you like the Netflix show Ozark you will enjoy this as Isabel dos Santos could make Mary Byrd blush with envy on the amount of money that she has moved around.

Both are really good segments that I think you should checkout. And after you do, drop a comment below to tell me what you think.

One thought on “FRONTLINE Episode 4: Taliban Country

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    May 6, 2020 at 2:39 PM

    […] to all 85 minutes twice! Listen to the podcast, watch the Frontline piece that we discussed here and read the foundational […]

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