On air: The Taleban answer your questions

It’s happened. We’ve just recorded around 45 minutes of a Taleban spokesperson answering your questions. And the BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner was able to join us to chair the discussion. On today’s show we’ll play you what we’ve recorded and then hear your reaction. In the mean time, do you think we should even have invited the Taleban onto WHYS?

149 Responses to “On air: The Taleban answer your questions”

  1. November 13, 2008 at 13:46


    Assuming that you managed to get responses to some of the very searching questions I’ve seen proposed then of course it was right to invite the Taliban onto WHYS. The best troops and weapons available to both the Soviets and the Americans have tried to defeat them militarily and they’re still a force to be reckoned with. Maybe it’s time for discussion even if the answers are unpalatable.

  2. November 13, 2008 at 14:11

    Inviting a Taliban onto WHYS isn’t a propaganda for this organization. It’s better to give them
    time on air and to ask them challenging questions rather than keep the audience in the dark about what they stand for.

    Refusing to have them on air can be viewed as an anti-Taliban position by the BBC. The BBC had many interviews with the IRA. That didn’t sway public opinion in its favour despite its high rhetoric. What put an end to its armed conflict was the political settlement it had with the British government through international mediation, especially from former US president Bill Clinton.

    What matters in inviting any spokesperson for any group, criminal, political or terrorist, is to maintain a balance and to expose different views, leaving the audience take their decisions.

    After all, the Taliban have their means to speak loud an clear through websites, followers and “spectacular” operations. Banning them from the BBC altogether will reinforce their view that the West is altogether against them and it is a reason for them to continue fighting through arms and propaganda.

  3. 3 Philippa
    November 13, 2008 at 14:25

    Of course you did well in inviting the Taleban to speak.

    This will maybe undo some of the harm caused by your recent proposition: Is the death penalty essential to fighting terrorism?

    This is a main question at the moment: Are we moving forwards towards discussion, more civilized behavior, etc, or backwards towards the death penalty, institutionalized torture… all the way back to our ancestors the cavemen… ?

  4. 4 rash
    November 13, 2008 at 14:43

    i think BBC should bring taliban to us listeners all around the world…let the world decide if what they are doing in ruining other’s lives is a worthy cause or not.
    if im not mistaken, the likes of taliban use religion as the tool,commonly islam unfortunately, to justify their criminal acts, which is unjust to the rest of the muslim population in the world.

    so please, if you can, bring taliban to WHYS

  5. November 13, 2008 at 14:49

    lol, To the editors/ moderators. I find it frustrating when you do this. You have posted the same topic twice in a row. There are now two conversation streams going on about the same topic at once. It leaves to much room for valid debate to get overlooked. It would happen on the old format all of the time.

  6. 6 Donnamarie
    November 13, 2008 at 14:56

    Hi, World Have Your Say Team,

    Of course WHYS (and government and religious leaders, psychiatrists, the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker) should talk with the Taliban. The only way to defeat them is to understand them. Their arrogant and violent creed that the lives of human beings who do not follow their narrow religious tradition are worthless and that those people who disagree with them–or who merely get in the way of their bombs–can be killed with not only impunity but with rewards in the afterlife must be extinguished.

    Talk to them. Understand them. Fight them. Annihilate them. The world has no place for random, sanctimonious murderers.

    All the best,

    Donnamarie Leemann
    La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

  7. 7 Bruce Sickles
    November 13, 2008 at 15:00

    Of course. Discussion is essential to any situation. To deny anyone their right to speak is a decrease in the basic freedoms that we are trying to protect.

  8. 8 VictorK
    November 13, 2008 at 15:06

    Of course it was right to talk to the Taliban.

    They are a force to be reckoned with. We generally hear about them at second-hand via the propaganda of their enemies. They are genuine players in Afghanistan, and are at least as entitled to have their position heard as those who have invaded and occupied their country.

    I’ll be interested, though, to hear how robustly their spokesman was dealt with by his BBC interlocutor. I’ve noticed over recent months that whereas BBC reporters can behave like rabid pitbulls on steroids when questioning Western politicians, they have can be remarkably deferential when interviewing people from ‘scary’ countries. I’ve watched with dismay as Russian, Sudanese, and Chinese spokesmen have been treated kid gloves by BBC (and Channel 4) reporters.

  9. 9 rash
    November 13, 2008 at 15:09

    sad but cold truth is that the humans involved in taliban have been brain washed by extreamists with in themselves to “put things right” in their view.

  10. November 13, 2008 at 15:19

    Perhaps we should in fact be answering their questions and explaining why it is that when they allowed Al Quaida to have training camps around them to put right the fact that Palestinians were being brutalized by superior Israeli might that we just ignored their grievances? Perhaps we should have to explain why we allow a small nation like Israel to upset the balance in the ME and to occupy areas not their own. Why we allow this nation to build ‘Berlin like’ walls to disturb the lives of innocent civilians in their own country? Why we act as if all that Israel does in the name of ‘defense’ is supposedly ‘ordained’? Why are they allowed to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut and why is a ‘United Nations Force’ not ensuring the rights of Palestinians as they do in Cyprus for example to ensure the rights of Greeks and Turks?

  11. 11 Ramesh
    November 13, 2008 at 15:31

    There is nothing wrong in inviting the Taleban to WHYS. But I am skeptical about their coming out honestly with their views and beliefs. WHYS would be just another tool they try to make use of in their propaganda.

  12. 12 Anonymous Coward
    November 13, 2008 at 15:33

    How can a religion, who’s name literally means ‘peace’ condone murdering people in the name of Allah? Isn’t that a blatant contradiction of everything it means to be Muslim?

    Doing someting because “God wills it” is, and always has been justification for fanatical, ignorant and superstitious people to commit horrible acts of depravity and barbarity against their fellow man. It is a rationalization so the perpetrator can feel good about himself and his ‘immortal’ soul. Because clearly the Christian/Islam conflict has brought peace, prosperity and happiness to so many people all over the world.

    And for those who believe that the Taliban and suicide bombers are not representative of muslims, I suggest that it doesn’t matter. These men call themselves Muslims, therefore as far as I am concerned they are muslims and thus represent the religion. If true muslims want the global attack on Islam to stop, perhaps they should start dealing with these people who give it such a bad name.

  13. 13 Steve
    November 13, 2008 at 15:44

    Having lived in NY during 9/11 I’d like to wish to all Taliban members BURN IN HELL for providing the training grounds for the 9/11 terrorists. Shame on the BBC for interviewing these monsters.

  14. 14 Mandie in Cape Coral, FL
    November 13, 2008 at 15:54

    I agree with a lot of people here. There is nothing wrong with brining the Taleban on the program, but I, too, wonder how forth coming they are and how the actual interview was conducted. I don’t see why they feel they have to be so violent in their attempt to make their point heard. My main question, I hope that they answer in this interview, is what exactly is their point?

  15. 15 Dinka Aliap,kampala
    November 13, 2008 at 16:01

    No. it was not bad for Talibans to air on the BBC media but the should have talks to us dirrectly on the programme insteads. Bravo BBC.

  16. 16 selena in Canada
    November 13, 2008 at 16:03


    Having lived in NY during 9/11

    Then I guess you would understand how the Afghans feel about the battleground outsiders have made their country since 1826, in order to advance their (the outsiders) own pernicious agenda.

  17. 17 Vijay
    November 13, 2008 at 16:06

    Nobody bothered the Taleban prior to 9/11,after all there are no singing ,no dancing, beard wearing communities still in the USA.

    The worlds problem with the Taleban centres around Al Queda and Osama Bin Laden,will they expel them or give them up to the Americans?

  18. 18 Brett
    November 13, 2008 at 16:07

    @ Selena:

    But didn’t you get the memo? American lives are worth more than anyone elses.

    To the BBC:

    Congrats, I look forward to todays programme!

  19. 19 Vijay
    November 13, 2008 at 16:10

    @Donna Marie
    Are you advocating sending Swiss troops to Afghanistan?

  20. November 13, 2008 at 16:18

    @ Dinka Aliap,kampala
    No. it was not bad for Talibans to air on the BBC media but the should have talks to us dirrectly on the programme insteads. Bravo BBC.“.

    The Taliban spokesperson didn’t talk directly on air for security reasons. Usually Taliban spokespersons take great precautions when talking to foreign journalists, especially those from the West, which they may believe to be secret agents. For them being on air live means getting arrested while speaking as their phones will spot their whereabouts.

    However, it’ s appreciated that the BBC WHYS managed to “dug out” one of its members and to bring him to the world audience.

    Personally, I am looking forward to listening to the show this evening to see what the Taliban spokesperson has to say. After all this is World Have your Say . He’s free to have his say although the majority of the listeners can contradict him on all he has to say.

  21. 21 Mandie in Cape Coral, FL
    November 13, 2008 at 16:20

    @ Brett

    No Fair! Not all Americans feel that way. A lot of us are opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I do not feel that my, our my country men’s lives, are worth more than others. I think the people who harbor terrorists should have the mind set that what they have done is wrong and turn them over to authorities. But, a lot of people may be scared of the back lash from doing so. In either situation, it will all work out in the end. I do not condone the terrorist attacks, but I do think we answered it incorrectly. Just like lumping people because of race, religion, or back ground.

  22. November 13, 2008 at 16:22

    I believe since the first word in the acronym is “World” that that would include pretty much anyone on the show, including the Taleban. I have confidence that the team has created a thoroughly engrossing and informative interview.

    My only dilemma is that we’ve just had layoffs — Hello Global Financial Crisis! — and I’ve now inherited a great deal of work. I don’t know if I’ll even be able to listen in today, but I’ll give it a go.

  23. November 13, 2008 at 16:28

    @ steve

    I lived in London for more IRA terror bombings than I can remember. Shame on the BBC for allowing Americans onto WHYS since they supported the IRA through Noraid.

    Silly post, isn’t it?

    You can’t make a problem go away by ignoring it. Obviously I haven’t heard the interview yet but I’d wager it’s not a puff-piece propaganda item. Let’s listen to what’s said.

  24. 24 jamily5
    November 13, 2008 at 16:31

    What was the BBC’s motives?
    If the objective was to distribute information about the taliban: from one of their own spokespersons in an effort for most people to better understand the Taliban:
    then, it was a valiant effort on the BBC’s part.
    However, if the BBC was making an attempt at brokering a more peaceful stance between the Taliban and others, then, I fear that the goal will not be met. I doubt that the Taliban or regular bloggers will have a different perception about each other after the broadcast.
    We might be happy and enjoy the additional information.
    However, changing one’s perceptions about a group of people requires constant personal contact.
    Minority groups can attest to this!

  25. 25 greg
    November 13, 2008 at 16:34

    Of course, who wouldn’t want to know what they think and why? Maybe Bush? Personally I would like to know who we are sending our young (and older) people up against and why.

  26. 26 Ogola Ben
    November 13, 2008 at 16:35

    Yah! Sure, the Taleban should be invited more to these WHYS shows so that they are able to participate in open dialogues with people instead of spending decades in caves and being covered with the perfume of smoke! I don’t know the last time they visited a clinic?

  27. 27 Fazeela from Trinidad
    November 13, 2008 at 16:38

    Yes, the Taliban should have their say too. I’m eager to hear how their spokesman responds to the questions.

  28. November 13, 2008 at 16:43

    Given how far not talking to the Taliban has gotten us until now, a new strategy may well be needed. Talking to them, seeing where they stand and what can be done to bring peace to Afghanistan may show much better results than raging war there forever and ever.

  29. 29 Jeff in Cleveland Heights
    November 13, 2008 at 16:46

    I think it’s good to have discussions with them but I have a feeling that the answers are going to completely infuriating. Their complete disregard for human life is something I’ll never be able to understand.

  30. November 13, 2008 at 16:47

    Why, after the Americans helped Afghanistan people to rid the country of Russians, who really had no intent to further the goodness of life for all afghan people, did you give support and help to foreign Arabs who had every intention of attacking Americans in their homeland?

    Why would Allah not be discusted with the Taliban for causing the deaths of so many Muslims?

    What is it that you want?

    If you insist on being strange, is there any reason why Allah would not cheer to see the Americans drop in 2 or 3 million federal and state prisoners plus all illegal alians to comb through the rocks looking to wipe out all strange bad guys who are in fact the enemy of Allah, because they give holy Islam such a horrible reputation.

    The fact that the Palistinians attacked and killed innocent young athletes at the olmpics in the 70s ended any hope for American support for their cause.

    The fact that the Taliban and Bin Ladin were behind the 9-11-01 attack on our innocent people ended forever any hope that you have any reasonable hope for support from any American Government and most all Americans in general.

    You should have immediately rounded up and executed all followers of Bin Ladin, as an enemy of Allah.

    You Taliban folks who kill mostly children and women really ought to be ashamed of yourselves, and realize fully that Allah is truely against the idiotic thinking of your organization.


    out here on the Oregon coast, come on out, we’ll have tea together and visit, get to know each other!!!

  31. November 13, 2008 at 16:47

    Does this interview give us any clue as to how we can end terrorism?

  32. 32 VictorK
    November 13, 2008 at 16:48

    It’s worth remembering that the US financed, armed and (it’s alleged) trained the Afghan anti-Soviet Jihadists who preceded the Taliban, the Mujahideen. I suppose that back then the meaning of the phrase ‘Islamic fundamentalist’ wasn’t as well understood as it is now, since Ronald Reagan praised the Mujahideen (whose name literally means those engaged in Jihad) as ‘freedom fighters’.

    Amongst the Mujahideen’s supporters were Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran, i.e. three of the world’s most Islamically crazed countries. That should have been a clue as to whether the US was backing the right people. A then unknown Saudi financed a group of Arab Jihadis who fought alongside the Mujahideen: his name was Osama bin Laden. He was a US ally in those days, when he was financing and organising the slaughter of the right sort of people. Many muslims from all over the world volunteered for Jihad in Afghanistan, were they were ‘radicalised’ and trained in a variety of insurgent and terrorist techniques (doesn’t that sound familiar).

    The US is caught up in an unwinnable war that it unwittingly laid the foundations of when, out of sheer political spite, it decided to unleash the worst of Islamic militancy and insanity in order to give the Soviets a bloody nose. History is full of unpleasant ironies, isn’t it?

    US moral bombast about Afghanistan is tripe, I’m sorry to say. The only plausible objective the Western coalition can plead is the capture of their former good friend bin Laden.

  33. 33 roebert
    November 13, 2008 at 16:55

    To WHYS I can only say: Formidable! (as in for-mee-dah-bleh).

    I was one of those fortunate enough to put a question to the Taleban directly, and I won’t say anything specific about that now. But in a general way I can say the following:

    I asked the question. It was understood and answered in no uncertain terms. I understood much more from the answer than was contained only in the spoken reply. Among other things, I understood that, for the sake of the Afghan people, it is time for the American led coalition to talk to the Taleban now.

    As for the BBC or the media in general talking to the Taleban: somebody has to do it, so why not lead the way?

  34. 34 Anthony
    November 13, 2008 at 17:04

    It’s very important to talk to these people!!! Why wouldn’t you want to talk to people like that, wouldn’t you rather TRY to come to a diplomatic solution instead of war and terror?

    @ steve

    How DARE YOU for funding America in the terrorization of Iraq. BURN IN HELL (that you don’t believe in, hehe) for giving your taxes in order to fund the massacre!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  35. 35 Lydia
    November 13, 2008 at 17:09

    Yes, WHYS should have invited the Taleban on air. Demystify them, humanize them, put their actual articulated beliefs on the table so that people can judge or decide or accept on the strength of who and what they and their representatives say they are and want and stand for, rather than taking the spin and running with it. The way forward is through inquiry, through transparency, rather than through the 20th century way of fear and bashing and sensationalization.

    Oakland, CA

  36. 36 Steve
    November 13, 2008 at 17:09

    @ Selena

    I don’t give a damn what the Taliban feel. And if they have such problems with outsiders, why did they invite IN al qaeida? Last I checked, arab muslims are not Afghans.

  37. 37 Steve
    November 13, 2008 at 17:14

    Oh, here are some links for the people who think having the Taliban on the air was a good idea. I wonder if the people they murdered for not being proper muslims would have supported this show. You all should be absolutely ashamed of yourselves:





    Again, everyone who thinks this show, giving these scumbag monster murderers a forum, should be absolutely ashamed of yourselves, and BBC, wow… I’m at a loss for words here.

    What would you all say to the people the Taliban have murdered?

  38. 38 Nelson Isibor
    November 13, 2008 at 17:14

    Well, the name of the programme is “world have your say” so there is absolutely nothing wrong with them featuring on the show. Any one who has a problem with that can simply boycott today’s show.

  39. 39 Steve
    November 13, 2008 at 17:16

    @ Lydia

    All the understanding, and hugs, and whatever you want to offer these monsters, they would STILL kill you. These people are absolutely insane, and the world would be a better place without people this insane. If you want to live in a 9th century society wher eyou get killed for how you dress, then understanding the taliban is a great idea!

  40. 40 Steve
    November 13, 2008 at 17:17

    @ Anthony

    The americans aren’t the ones terrorizing Iraq. Last I checked, americans aren’t conducting suicide bombings. However if you want to blame the actions of insane religious fanatics who kill themselves over the sky fairy on americans, then more power to you.

  41. 41 Christopher in Ohio
    November 13, 2008 at 17:19

    Just a few questions:

    1. Do you have any “real” leaders or spokesmen?
    2. If so, please accept this generous gift of GPS devices, to help you and your Talib leaders more easily find your way around the countryside.
    3. And, please, pass out the extra GPS devices to your Talib friends and relations.
    4. Oh, and don’t forget to give OBL and his close companions a few of these, too – we want everyone to share in this gift.
    5. Just what threat did millenia-old stone Buddhas present to the Talib?
    6. Were the stone Buddhas armed to defend themselves against the Talib offensive?
    7. Is there any place in particular the Talib like to frequent? Any special gathering place?
    8. Would you please reference the passage in the Quran that blesses the cultivation and distribution of opium and heroin?
    9. Would the Prophet (SAS) be proud of the Talib?
    10. Are your mothers proud of you?

  42. 42 Nelson Isibor
    November 13, 2008 at 17:20

    @ Steve, “Burn in Hell” which hell? The real or imaginary one? the one you [dont] believe in?

  43. 43 Jennifer in New York
    November 13, 2008 at 17:24

    Absolutely!! I applaud WHYS for doing so. They share the planet too, and isn’t the whole idea of World Have Your Say about a global conversation? If you can, you should have them on more often…..the more information you have, the better armed you are, no matter the opponent.

  44. 44 Dolapo Aina
    November 13, 2008 at 17:25

    BBC must make it a point of duty to hear and broadcast from all parties good, bad, holy, evil, pretty or down right ulgy.
    aThe audience wants to hear all.
    Dolapo Aina

  45. 45 Jennifer
    November 13, 2008 at 17:35

    Oops, maybe my last question should have went here! I don’t mean to double post but please ask if they had anything to do with the acid occurrence. If so, why would they do something like that. How do they think bullying, intimidation, and fear are productive… How do they believe these actions will give them popularity as anything other than horrible bullies?

  46. 46 Jennifer
    November 13, 2008 at 17:44


    After reading through some of the posts I have to say it’s nice that the BBC is taking the step to interview and speak with the Taliban. However, I am not sure that it will be conducive to anything. Obviously, people who have no problem with taking innocent lives and blowing themselves up are not in the best mindset. Who is to say that they would not say something to your face then turn around and do something else?

    As for caring about their feelings…I am a caring person but I REALLY don’t care for how they “feel”. If they cared about human life and wanted to reach an agreement they should have stepped up a long time ago to reach a common ground. They haven’t. Talking to them is going to accomplish nothing.

  47. 47 Dan
    November 13, 2008 at 17:45


    How many times must it be said that one make alliances with another country to fight another evil. We armed the Mujaheddin against the Soviets who were on full tilt to take over the Oil fields of the Middle East. That would have meant immediate WW-III. It was a time of the Cold war.
    When Russia collapsed the Democrat Liberals in Congress denied spending another $3-$7 million to stabilize the country.
    Instead the Taliban, born from the Pakistani Intelligence service, came to power and systematically started destroying the country, infrastructure and people then was the base from which bin-Laden launched his 9/11 attack. That was a declaration of war and we retaliated.
    Bush thought he could mollify Democrats by waging a politically correct war and thus bin-Laden escaped and we are in the damnable mess we are in today.

    There has been NO country that is or has been perfect or lived up to the standards you profess we should follow….none that lived at least.

  48. November 13, 2008 at 18:00

    Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Saudis Must Accommodate Taliban!
    TEHRAN – Ask them challenging questions, as Abdelilah Boukili says, but regional countires must come to terms with Taliban if 4.5 million Afghan refugees are to be repatriated. The economic crunch will sooner or later affect us and we will no longer be able to employ Afghan refugees. There is a slump in the construction industry which employed a lot of Afghans. Instead of wasting money on the Afghan war, UN and NATO forces should start a reconstruction program to repatriate refugees.
    Taliban, Mojahedin, Jahadis and Muslim fundamentalists know the terrain and can put up with impossible conditions. The are ensconced in their positions and there is no other way but to negotiate. The prevailing lawlessness in Waziristan province proves that law and order has broken down since Parviz Musharraf was ousted.
    “Warning barbers against shaving their clients’ beards” is not a terrorist act but a backlash and token sign of outrage at what has happened.
    Who else can curb the drug trade but the Taliban? Even some sort of law and order once a ceasefire is in place, but all efforts must be coordinated, including Iran’s $500 million investment in Afghanistan, for a comprehensive peace accord to be successful.

  49. 49 viola
    November 13, 2008 at 18:04

    It depends. Who instigated this interview? Not knowing either WHYS’s or the Taliban’s motives for wanting this interview, and the motives being critically important, I can only speculate about whether it’s a good idea, really all anyone can do. So, a cautious “maybe.”

    I have three suspicions about why the Taleban wants to be interviewed on BBC:

    1. They need the publicity and status to recruit more fanatics to their cause
    2. They are being gutted by the U.S.’s successful kills of several of their leaders
    3. They want to stir up world-wide anti-U.S anger
    4. They want to sue for peace

    The fourth I consider a very unlikely motivation, considering their history.

    As for WHYS’s motives, it’s probably a combination of “Whee! We’re getting an exclusive!” and a genuine desire to foster dialogue.


  50. 50 Dan
    November 13, 2008 at 18:05

    @Jennifer in New York

    “they sahre the planet too”

    Is there any limit to whom you talk to? Are we to countenance all evil no matter how heinous? Are there no standards?

  51. November 13, 2008 at 18:10

    Here are my questions, as a Muslim to a Muslim. Assalamu `alaykum.

    I am curious as to whether the Taliban has broken into smaller groups now that they are on the run.

    I would also like to know whether they get more of their religious ideas from Saudi Arabia (salafist) or the Indo-Pak region (Deobandi).

    And why have you not bothered to end to opium trade but have actually participated in it, when intoxicants are clearly haram in Islam?

    If a group of people stone to death, shoot, or otherwise kill a woman for adultery (where is the man?!?) without the requisite four just witnesses who saw the proverbial cork enter the proverbial bottle, what punishment is due on that group? Why did the Taliban insist on taking such a spiritual risk upon their own souls? (Keeping in mind that the Maliki madhhab, not the Hanafi madhhab, allows for pregnancy to be proof of wrongdoing – do not forget Hadrat Maryam Umm `Isa, `alayha salam.)

    Prove to me using Qur’an, ahadith, ijma`, and logical analysis that it is halal in the Islamic Shari`ah to injure a ghayr-baligh girl who is not even your own daughter.

    What is the punishment for the man who causes injury to a ghayr-baligh girl who is not even his own daughter? Why are those punishments never implemented? Is it only women who get “punished” in your (twisted) version of the Shari`ah?
    see me After Hours

  52. 52 Steve
    November 13, 2008 at 18:12

    Okay, if this show is about openess and sharing ideas, then why doesn’t the BBC invite on guests that advocate rape and pedophelia? If you think that the Taliban should be on the BBC to give them a voice, then the voice of those who advocate rape should be heard as well. I don’t see how you could possibly object to this if “global conservation” is the real reason rather than political correctness.

  53. 53 adam in portland
    November 13, 2008 at 18:13

    @ everybody

    finally a topic of some interest.
    yep, World Have Your Say, the show name would imply that anyone in the world that will speak politely is welcome in the conversation. That’s one of the reasons the show is worth listening to in the first place.

    @ troop

    next time your in Forest Grove give a shout I’ll buy the tea.

  54. 54 Steve
    November 13, 2008 at 18:17

    Isn’t the UK at war with The Taliban right now? There are British troops in Afghanistan now, fighting the Taliban, or am I mistaken? Yet the BBC interviews them? Did the BBC interview Nazi officials during WW2? Did the BBC care about giving the Nazis a “voice” back during WW2?

    I doubt it. So why the double standard?

  55. 55 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    November 13, 2008 at 18:26

    I worked for United Airlines during 911 and lost my good paying job because of it! I would like to know more about the Taleban and what makes them tick. So, I think this is good. However, don’t think for a moment that I forgive them for what they did to America. They will have to be totally repentant for me to do that. Even then I may not believe them.
    Thea Winter
    Indianapolis IN

  56. 56 jamily5
    November 13, 2008 at 18:34

    This is the first day in quite a long time that my schedule permits me to listen to the BBC. Now, I have been waiting for more than 90 minutes because I just can’t remember who changed time and when.
    Well, I certainly know lots about Europe!
    (although, as all news goes: I have heard these stories at least three times now).
    But, I can’t wait to hear the interview.

  57. 57 Dan
    November 13, 2008 at 18:36

    Hello Ros,
    Is there no moderator or are some comments too politically sensitive to use and some questions too sensitive to ask?

  58. November 13, 2008 at 18:36

    Yes it was a good idea to do the interview, after all it is constructive to know their point of view and see if there can be some common ground to come to a mutual end of hostilities.

  59. November 13, 2008 at 18:53

    Be careful Ros/Mark – the Daily Mail may have a phone-in marathon to get you fired!

    I wonder how many complaints they can make up that you instigated a discussion with the Taleban – of which I agree with by the way.

    Of course it is right to talk to them – anything to stop the merciless killing of innocents, on both sides!

  60. 60 Steve
    November 13, 2008 at 18:56

    Interest the BBC won’t publish my comments, but will publish the personal attacks on me. What did Nelson’s comment contribute? And even if I don’t believe in God, I don’t kill people over my lack of belief in God, whereas the Taliban kills people over God, a fictional entity. what is worse? Fact is, the BBC interviewed (1) a terrorist organization (2) a terrorist organization that British troops are currently fighting.

  61. 61 Robert
    November 13, 2008 at 19:01

    Yes, off course you should have invited them on. It is a global show that aims to bring people of opposing views together in discussion.

  62. 62 Dan
    November 13, 2008 at 19:07

    So the Taliban are saying that if all foreign forces leave Afghanistan they will murder everyone they can get their hands on, throw acid on women, hang children for flying kites and again wage their war against America.
    I believe we should remain in Afghanistan add hundreds of thousands of troops and kill all the Taliban including those in Pakistan.

  63. 63 Dan
    November 13, 2008 at 19:10

    Do any of you people not remember the lies out of the Taliban immediately after 9/11?
    Do you remember when they destroyed the 1500 year old Buddhas and then blamed America for not giving money to educate their children?

    What make any of you think that we can believe anything the Taliban says?

    Moderate Taliban!!??…How about tame and moderate rattlesnakes.

  64. 64 selena in Canada
    November 13, 2008 at 19:13

    @ Will

    You have made a very good point. People will likely be very angry about this show.

    But perhaps we might be able to get a better understanding of the people who do not wish to promote peace by talking. Who are those people? Why do they permit their anger to erase any shred of compassion that might reside in their hearts? Why do they see themselves as superior?

    Who are the vocal people who talk so much about the others that they are clearly unable to see themselves and their groups’ contribution to the evil that exists everywhere?

  65. 65 Livia
    November 13, 2008 at 19:13

    Dear Ros,

    Well, this is unusual! Yes it’s a good idea to have interviewed a member of the Taliban. Not for what he will tell us – we know plenty about their barbaric ideas – but what we may say that might influence his thinking and turn him away from murderous activities.

    All the best, Livia

  66. November 13, 2008 at 19:19

    As an American serviceman with friends who have gone to Afghanistan and returned changed, scarred or not at all I feel that the BBC has missed an opportunity to triangulate the coordinates of this Mujahid Talaban representative and report it.

    After he finished answering your polite questions, went back to his enclave and encouraged his brethren to continue to shoot my friends. You know this, right? Badly done, WHYS.

  67. 67 Brett
    November 13, 2008 at 19:20

    The Taliban wants ‘freedom’ so they can have ‘control’….
    I was confused for a moment, but I get it now…
    We fight for freedom from you, so we can oppress our own people…
    They just want to be top dog and they’re upset that they can’t get their way.

  68. 68 Steve
    November 13, 2008 at 19:21

    This Terrorist on the air sounds like the iraqi information minister. So WHYS gave a bunch of free air time for the taliban to blast their propaganda for the world to hear. I’m sure the coalition soldiers in Afghanistan must be really happy about this. They’re risking their lives to help the Afghanis fight these terrorists, and you give these murderous thugs a forum to spout their garbage.

  69. 69 Dan
    November 13, 2008 at 19:21

    This on-air Taliban is a better liar than Goebbels.
    As Steve so adroitly pointed out…the Taliban only offer more suffering, poverty and illiteracy and wars against civilization.
    The Taliban are a scourge against humanity.

  70. 70 Steve
    November 13, 2008 at 19:22

    I’m curious, it’s too late to ask the question, but too bad they didn’t ask the Terrorist if he would kill his translator if she weren’t covered from head to toe?

    Yup, we need to “understand” people that would kill for a reason like that. Time to throw the PC “understanding” where it belongs, in the rubbish bin.

  71. 71 Steve
    November 13, 2008 at 19:24

    @ John

    It’s sedition what the BBC is doing right now. They should be obligated to provide any information on location they know to NATO forces or be charged with Sedition. They are giving a megaphone to a group their own nation’s military is currently fighting against.

  72. 72 Dan
    November 13, 2008 at 19:26

    Listen to the crap that flows from the pie hole of the on-air Taliban.
    “we were just about to give women rights and educate them”

    This is a very funny comedy hour.

  73. 73 selena in Canada
    November 13, 2008 at 19:27


    Who was it that sent you and your friends to Afghanistan?

  74. 74 Jim
    November 13, 2008 at 19:33

    As an employee of the US government who hears claims of asylum in the US, the Taleban have a lot to answer for. I have heard first hand about torture and killing because of ethnicity, political opinion in opposition to the Taleban, and even for “violating” Islamic law in various ways, including by shaving facial hair. This so-called spokesman disrespects the world and all those whom they have persecuted by lying to us all.

  75. 75 Jennifer
    November 13, 2008 at 19:34

    Re: Religion’s involvement in this….

    Whether or not someone believes in God is irrelevant to the appropriateness of having discussions with the Taliban. The more I think about this the more I think it perpetuates some liberal agenda? They don’t have a differing view they have a dangerous agenda. 😦

    It is one thing to be open to talking but another to feed into them and give them attention to further their cause. We can discuss until the cows come home; that won’t make them stop murdering and killing innocent people.

    However, I find it much more offensive that people from my own country have forgotten horrible things done to people here. Where is their allegiance? They are able to sit around and chant speak to them, mend their hurt feelings while my family members/friends have gave chunks of their lives and in some cases have died for their ability to be so ungracious.

    My suggestion; those that want to speak to the Taliban. Go do it. See what good it gets you.

  76. November 13, 2008 at 19:34

    I listened to the Taliban spokesman denying that his movement has nothing to do with the trade and cultivation of drugs in Afghanistan.

    I don’t think that the Taliban have no responsibility over he cultivation of drugs. During their rule, Afghanistan was he greatest exporter of drugs. Currently they have little financial sources other than trading in drugs. They can prohibit people in the areas they control from consumption. But they allow its trade to foreign countries via Pakistan and Iran.

    Their only argument can be that drug is cultivated even in government controlled areas, as the reports have shown its cultivation has increased even with the presence of international forces. But this doesn’t make absolve them of having a big role in its cultivation. They have their own responsibility. In their war against foreign presence, they can legitimize anything that can be a source of money to get weapons across the borders with Pakistan and Iran.

  77. 77 Lakshmi
    November 13, 2008 at 19:34

    Absolutely not — you should NOT ban anyone on your program. Journalism itself is the act of discussing ALL points of view, regardless of anyone’s beliefs on morality of the views. Indeed, if you did NOT interview the Taleban and others, you would not be doing your duty as impartial journalists.

    -Lakshmi from Illinois, United States

  78. 78 Ian
    November 13, 2008 at 19:34

    I find it interesting that this spokesman claimed early on in the interview that “it’s not about power,” that the pursuit of power was somehow not paramount to the Taliban.

    Yet whenever a searching question is asked about the Taliban’s intentions and policies, his answer seems to be “We’ll decide that once we’re in power.”

  79. November 13, 2008 at 19:35

    If they are muslım, why are they using suicide bombers? In the great religion Islam, there is nothing like that? Do you have logical explanation?

  80. 80 Mark Sandell
    November 13, 2008 at 19:36

    Steve, you’ve made your point. Several times. Often the same one. I get the point about paedophilia- every time you’ve made it, we all do. That’s why i’ve deleted your last few comments.

  81. 81 Tom D Ford
    November 13, 2008 at 19:36

    For many years Bush has told us what the Taliban think and believe and we now know that Bush has always been an outrageous liar.

    So I think it is a good idea to let the Taliban speak for themselves.

    Of course I don’t take any politicians words at face value and I don’t suggest that anyone take the Taliban at face value either.

    I trust that most intelligent people can use their critical thinking skills and figure out what is lies, what is true, and what is ambiguous, is in between.

  82. 82 Joe Simpson
    November 13, 2008 at 19:37

    Can we be realistic about this? Who are the Taleban? Are we allowed to hear that the Taleban were created by the US governement in an attempt to destablise the Soviet regime? Why are we being forced to choose sides between the “coalition” and the Taleban? Is there room for the view that neither American imperialism, nor Taleban brutality is an appropriate way to govern a country?

  83. 83 jamily5
    November 13, 2008 at 19:37

    I’m not sure if we are getting any new information.
    And – it seems that the taliban spokesperson is quite the politician, but not giving us any real answers.
    So, I go back to the objectives and
    whatever they might be, I am not sure that they have been met.
    But, we still have part 2 to go.

  84. November 13, 2008 at 19:39

    The fact that the Taliban spokesperson allowed a woman to use her voice in his presence shocks me.

    The fact that he has been evasive and dishonest does not shock me.

    If a people live in fear of those who “keep them safe,” then there was no safety to begin with.

  85. 85 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    November 13, 2008 at 19:39

    Hi again,
    I think the man you interviewed is great at dancing around the questions. It is nice to see that politician are the same all over the world!

  86. November 13, 2008 at 19:43

    @ Steve

    “Having lived in NY during 9/11 I’d like to wish to all Taliban members BURN IN HELL for providing the training grounds for the 9/11 terrorists. Shame on the BBC for interviewing these monsters.”

    I would never word my anger as you do, but am pretty appalled. The BBC is idealist and naive to think they would actually have a open and honest conversation with he taliban. It’s all propaganda and I have not heard anything that I did not expect.

    I’m dismayed and disgusted.

  87. November 13, 2008 at 19:45

    What [—]!!!! Give me a break, the US never “proved 9/11 was masterminded by Osama Bin Laden? How about Osama taking credit for it!

  88. 88 Gloria in Oregon
    November 13, 2008 at 19:47

    Dear Ros & Frank,

    Yes, I think it is good WHYS gave the Taliban air time to speak and voice their views. It is very important to hear other people express their opinions and political views, especially when they adhere to such radically different views than our own.

    Having said that, my stomach is presently churning in knots, because of hearing the
    Taliban representative avoid saying the Taliban would allow women access to education.

    I was impressed with Frank Gardner’s manner of questioning the Taliban.


  89. 89 Steve
    November 13, 2008 at 19:48

    Peace prosperity and security when the Taliban ruled afghanistan? That’s HILARIOUS. I worked at the US Consulate in Berlin, Germany, and most of our applicants for visas in 1997 were afghans living in Germany because they left Afghanistan due to the conditions imposed by the Taliban. I don’t see why the BBC has a problem with me stating this, as it’s been erased several times already. The Taliban caused a LOT of people to leave Afghanistan. They were considered stateless people. They were issued “German” passports that were blue, and bad black stripes on it, signifying they were stateless people.

  90. 90 Tom D Ford
    November 13, 2008 at 19:49

    Well, that was very very interesting, thanks Ros and the WHYS team.

  91. 91 Vijay
    November 13, 2008 at 19:49

    The FBI ten most wanted site says that Usama bin Laden is wanted for the murder of Us citizens overseas and the attempted murder of US citizens overseas and attempted attacks on federal buildings.
    Why wasn’t 9/11 mentioned?

    Well done WHYS for getting the Taleban On Air,interesting radio.

  92. 92 Robert
    November 13, 2008 at 19:50

    Can the extra 25 minutes not broadcast be included in the podcast?

  93. 93 J in Portland
    November 13, 2008 at 19:55

    I applaud the BBC and WHYS for having the guts to do this broadcast.

    Granted I do not necessarily believe all the responses he gave, actually very few.

    But, I do believe whole heartedly that communication and dialogue is always better than shooting first asking questions later.

    Thank you, BBC, Ros, Frank and your crew for bringing such an interesting and unusual opportunity for your listeners.

    You’ve sparked a big discussion.

  94. 94 Mark Sandell
    November 13, 2008 at 19:56

    Robert, the 25 minutes was the translation of the questions and the untranslated answers. I can assure you no questions or answers (in translation) were left out.

  95. 95 Steve
    November 13, 2008 at 19:56

    @ Jessica

    I agree, were they thinking there would be some kind of breakthrough? They did this to say “we did this” or for ratings (though I don’t see why ratings would matter in the UK). It was just propaganda that all politicians do. Just lies. But these were lies from a memeber of a terrorist group. We learned nothing new, and the BBC seriously tarnished itself by this.

  96. 96 Dan
    November 13, 2008 at 19:57

    What you people are all missing is that the Taliban is trying to gain power NOT thru politics but thru the power of the Gun.
    If we allow them to regain power because they were the previous power that waged war on America then we should restore the Nazi’s to Germany and the Militarists to Japan.
    This Taliban plays upon the naivete of the liberal West.

    People think this through. If they want power the Taliban needs to return thru the POLITICAL process.

  97. 97 Vijay
    November 13, 2008 at 19:57

    @Jessica in NYC
    WHO IS NAIVE AND IDEALIST you voted for Obama.

    Don’t forget the world does not consist of the USA alone .

  98. November 13, 2008 at 19:58

    If you will not ask our questions to them, I am a muslim, Why do you want to ask the things that are in our minds????

  99. 99 Bob from Florida
    November 13, 2008 at 19:58

    It was good to have the Taliban representative on WHYS and we sure need to keep the lines of communication open but I was dissapointed in his denial. The facts are that when the Taliban was in control conditions were horrible and I don’t think that we can expect anything different if they take control again.

  100. 100 selena in Canada
    November 13, 2008 at 19:58

    Well done Frank Gardner!

  101. 101 Khalid
    November 13, 2008 at 20:01

    Khalid from Kabul;

    I live in Kabul since I was born. What amazes me is Mujahid claims that they were bringing women out to the public if US or NATO didn’t invade Afghanistan? That’s all a cheap talk. They would have never allowed women out.

    I liked Mujahid’s sense of humor – he hasn’t meet Barak Obama face to face!

  102. 102 selena in Canada
    November 13, 2008 at 20:02


    You have exceeded all expectations. Thank you for your attempt to stem the tide of negativism and intolerance.

    Obama should be taking a leaf out of the BBCs book.

    Well done!

  103. 103 MeanMachine
    November 13, 2008 at 20:02

    A terrific program and long overdue. Regardless of the differences between people, groups or nations there needs to be a conversation. The world needs to understand theTaliban directly from theTaliban. Anyone with half a brain cell could well hear and understand the deception, evasion, and direct lies presented by the Taliban spokes person. Living in fear is not equal to living in peace. Thank you for the opportunity to directly experience theTaliban rather than through varous filters. I will understand you may get some flak from some people and from various quarters for providing this opportunity, but then again, this is exaction what you are all about. Keep up the excellent work.

  104. 104 Tom D Ford
    November 13, 2008 at 20:05

    The elephant left standing in the room is that Ros said you recorded about 50 minutes of the interview but only played about 25 minutes, so will you make the rest of it available online or in some other way? Or play it on another show?

    And in future I’d like to hear answers to a question about Oil, natural gas, and pipelines in and/or passing through Afghanistan.

  105. 105 Martin
    November 13, 2008 at 20:07

    I believe any newsmedia worth its salt would jump at the chance to broadcast the Taliban. I understand why the Taliban does not want to be exposed on radio television or otherwise. They dont have a leg to stand on when attempting to rationalize their dogma with the rest of the world.

    The BBC has proven this with the historic broadcast and I am very pleased with that.

    Better to be thought a radical fundamentalist then to interview on BBC and prove it.

  106. 106 Tommye
    November 13, 2008 at 20:07

    We always need to know our enemies — who, what, where, and WHY. Thanks for giving us the first public baby step in an important process.

  107. 107 Venessa
    November 13, 2008 at 20:08

    Well done WHYS team.

    Like many others I was not surprised by the answers but I am glad that this step was taken and hope that you might be able to build on this program again in the future with more interviews.

  108. 108 Vijay
    November 13, 2008 at 20:13

    I don’t think the Taliban now where Osama bin Laden is located, very few people would know and US$52 million isn’t enough of an enticement for Pakistan tribal people.

  109. November 13, 2008 at 20:28

    Many thanks to Mr Frank Gardner for his interesting and invaluable contribution to the show. He has been more placed to speak to and about the Taliban since he himself was the victim of Al Qaeda barbaric attack. .

    I salute him for his courage to continue his coverage of Al Qaeda although he himself was its victim in Saudi Arabia. The fact that he continues his work as a journalist in the Middle East although he continues to bear Al Qaeda scars that have crippled him permanently shows that Al Qaeda can’t destroy the spirits of those they seek to destroy.

    At least the show have shown that Taliban is the other side of the Al Qaeda coin although its spokesman tried unconvincingly to disassociate his movement from its terror attacks or rather to deny that it has anything to do with terrorism.

  110. November 13, 2008 at 20:33

    Thank you for the program… It was really very good… I hope you go on to make this kind of programs for a better world!… Even if I had no gotten my answer…

  111. 111 Vijay
    November 13, 2008 at 20:39

    I suppose the Taleban believe in “Kinder Kuche Kircher” as primary responsibilties for women and education is a waste of money when the country is short of resources.

  112. 112 jamily5
    November 13, 2008 at 21:04

    But, how does this **help** us?
    OK, so we know that the Taliban does not take any responsibility for any violent or wrong action.
    Not only do they not take responsibility, but they are not interested in punishing anyone who performs these acts.
    We know that they want power, even though they say that they don’t.
    We know that they are not making any promises until they get that power.
    We know that they want Afghanistan to be the country ruled by Taliban.
    But, I don’t know how if this changes any action that we might take in the future.

  113. November 13, 2008 at 21:12

    Jamily, diplomatic dialogue and cultural exchange is a very slow process. Whereas bombs have an immediate effect, human interaction leads on a much slower process. Sometimes, though, it is the slower process that leads to a more long-standing result.

    Of course, we all know that bombs breed more violence. Just alook at the number of civies who went Communist in Vietnam, and the number of extremists who rise from the ashes of bombed homes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  114. November 13, 2008 at 21:16

    I am still on the subject ( hooked)… Sorry for that I have a last ?… Was he really a Taliban Spokes person?…

  115. 115 Mark Kamau
    November 13, 2008 at 21:25

    I was very disappointed by the interview. I would like to believe a lot of the WHYS listeners were trying to keep an open mind and for the first time, really objectively listen to the Taliban. unfortunately the spokes person evaded every critical question he was asked. In the end, I am afraid he use the BBC. It was clear his only intent was to tell sympathizers that all the ills of Afghanistan were American. He never answered any question. I was disappointed with the BBC interviewer for not pushing at all for any answer. It was a rare occasion and he let him evade way too easy.
    For a Taliban uninterested in power as he said, it is quite interesting that for all critical questions he said he couldn’t answer until they were in power. When they were in power, they employed very harsh, draconian, iron fisted punishment to people without respect to human rights. I am afraid from the interview, he showed no intention for reform or admit any mistake on their part. He took the high moral ground and only offered blame. If there were positive improvements intended for Afghans, it would have been refreshing for him to say them. Am afraid they want power to continue the same old suppressive system. God, Allah help Afghanistan. We wish the m peace and my heart cries for every lost life, suppressed woman and suffering child. We are all human beings Muslim, Christian or Atheist. As a global citizen, I am deeply saddened by the whole situation.

  116. 116 leti in palma
    November 13, 2008 at 21:45

    bravo beeb for your “daring”?

    Pity the moderator didn’t insist more on the drug question though.

    ….”they aren’t responsible for the drugs trade…”

    HA!!! how else do they get their money for weapons then?

    As for pretending that they’ll “give “women their freedom when the Talibs come to power,are we to believe it, given the appalling treatment they’ve suffered so far?

  117. November 13, 2008 at 21:46

    Whether he was real or not but the message was sent to the receipent…! Good morning from Kabul…

  118. 118 Mark Kamau
    November 13, 2008 at 21:52

    I don’t want to give up hope nevertheless. I believe dialogue is the best way forward and I am very happy the first steps have been initiated. I applaud the BBC for this.
    I hope the Taliban rethinks their position of waiting for power to answer basic questions. It gives exactly the picture that they are trying to avoid. That they are only interested in power. If they really are seriously fighting for the beautiful people of Afghanistan who I admire for their courage to survive under such conditions for so long, they have a responsibility to outline their policies of how they intend to govern. Maybe I am being naive to expect this, but I believe in keeping an open mind and so far, saying you need power to answer questions doesn’t seem honest. Having existed for decades, they must have some sort of plan.

    The only point I would like to make to the BBC is that if people refuse to answer questions neutral global listeners want answered and only take the opportunity to spread ideology, good or bad, the BBC should not air these interviews. I think this is very important. While any rare interview is good for ratings, the BBC holds great power and responsibility. For its credibility, it should set the precedence that only people who want to really, seriously address issues get audience. If you don’t answer the questions, you don’t get our listernship. Period. Maybe am being too idealistic and perhaps naive for suggesting this, but I think this is the way to go to avoid people using your global audience for propaganda.

    Today with the Taliban, I am afraid the BBC focused on the enormity of the opportunity at the expense of the quality of the answers and its responsibility in this regard. Something to watch out for next time. I hope there is a next time.
    Thanks for the great programme World have your say.

  119. 119 nasim Khan afridi
    November 13, 2008 at 22:15

    I am very delighted that the BBC are showing the faces of all forces regardless of them being insurgents or freedom fighters. Bravo BBC

    From the FETA, Pakistan

  120. 120 roebert
    November 13, 2008 at 22:45

    It seems to me from what the Taleban spokesperson said that:
    1. The Taleban wants to regain rule over the whole of Afghanistan.
    2. They believe that they have the support of most of the Afghan population, or else they would not now be touting themselves as liberators from US aggression.
    3. They control a significant area of Afghanistan (55% ?).
    4. They would probably negotiate if invited to, or else they would never have given this interview to the BBC.
    5. They are trying to put out a revised image of what they stand for, perhaps signifying that they are ready to moderate their stances on a number of issues.
    6.They are distancing themselves from Al Qaeda.
    7. They wish to portray themselves as willing not to allow Afghanistan to be used for future terrorist attacks on the west.
    8. They are determined and battle-ready, and will have to be reckoned with in any future that is planned for Afghanistan.
    9. They are not a defeated enemy, and sound confident, again signifying a strong support base, much of it neighbouring Pakistan, probably.

    If only for these clarifications, derivative though they may be, this WHYS interview was to the benefit of westerners wanting (and needing) a clearer picture. So why should the BBC be made to feel that it has done something unethical in this case?

    It’s far more unethical to turn a blind eye and hope that ongoing warfare will just eradicate the problem, especially when top military commanders have said that it will not.

    To say that the Nazis were not interviewed shows ignorance. (Read William Shirer’s “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”) The Nazis were, in fact, interviewed over and over again between 1933 and 1939, by the media and by diplomats, until war was declared.

    As for the paedophile comparison, that’s just toxic.

  121. 121 Fazeela
    November 13, 2008 at 23:26

    The Taliban did not give clear answers to the hard questions. What was their purpose for acceding to the interview? Was it to send a message to the “infidels” to get out of their country? And how do they plan to unite Afghanistan if they regain power (and I hope not) when the warlords continue to fight among themselves?
    Establishing Sharia, governing according to Islamic principles seemed to be the only policies they are clear on. When they were in control from 1996 to 2001, they governed by terror, imposing laws mainly against women, restricting their movements, denying them education and shutting them up in their houses, nothing the spokesman said convinced me the Taliban will do otherwise if they regain control. They will repress the rights of women in the guise of protecting them.
    An Afghan woman wrote that men in her country pay little or no regard to women and that education was seen as the province of men. An Afghan father of 4 girls saw no use in educating his daughters. According to him their future consisted of marriage and looking after the home and family.

    Perhaps the full interview with the Taliban may not change my impressions of the group but I would like to hear it anyway.

  122. 122 Roberto
    November 13, 2008 at 23:37

    RE “” Taliban””

    ———- Got my question in the afternoon broadcast.

    Very informative since the Taliban spokesman claimed their focus was only on Afghanistan, when the latest news had them suspected of kidnapping an Iranian diplomat in Pakistan, activities they are well known for.

    Pants on fire.

    If I had another go at them, I’d ask them if they have a single champion of their cause who can go against me, mano a mano, hand to hand, unarmed combat. No clubs to beat defenseless women, no guns or bombs to kill defenseless families, no acid to throw on defenseless schoolgirls.

    Just someone that they claim is a MAN. Have they got a single MAN in the bunch?
    If so, I want a crack at him. We can go London Prize Ring Rules, Marquis of Queensbury Rules, UFC/MMA rules, or No Holds Barred.

    Are the Taliban MEN, or are they mouses? Aye, such is the question of their misbegotten culture, and I await with baited breath.

  123. 123 steven/oregon
    November 14, 2008 at 00:18

    Just wanted to say because of this show I will now be boycotting the BBC as a wounded vet all i have to say is thanx BBC for nothing…… hope the rest of you will join me in this

  124. 124 Tom D Ford
    November 14, 2008 at 01:36

    For nearly seven years Bush has essentially acted as the spokesperson for the Taliban, fear-mongering and demonizing them, and only telling us what he wants us to hear about them, I am glad that the BBC has tried an interview with their actual spokesperson.

    It is a start.

  125. 125 Mark
    November 14, 2008 at 03:35

    I think it was a good idea to interview the Taleban. After all, in another generation or two, as things are going they will rule Britain. Won’t do much for the razor industry though.

  126. 126 roebert
    November 14, 2008 at 08:09

    To Steven in Oregon: During the WHYS discussions on Tibet, at the time of the Olympics, there was a group of young Tibetans who seized the opportunity to talk on air to the tormentors of their people, the Chinese. They did so with intelligence and good grace, too. The net result was this: an increase in insight into that situation. That’s what good talk shows are for. If they regularly put on shows that didn’t increase my understanding of any aspect of what’s going on the world, that’s when I’d boycott them. I wouldn’t ask others to join me in the boycott, though.

  127. 127 VictorK
    November 14, 2008 at 08:19

    It was an interesting interview: the Taliban do Westminster.

    The interviewee was as capable a liar as any Western politician; everyone would have noted his evasions and ambiguities.

    But he was clear about one fundamental point: the Taliban want the invaders out of their country and will fight until that happens. Steve and Dan need to understand that people other than Americans can be patriotic about their country and motivated to defend it from foreign occupiers. I for one don’t know how to tell a man fighting on his own soil against foreigners – even virtuous and idealistic invaders like the US and UK – that, ‘You are in the wrong’, even when that man is a Taliban.

    What becomes of Afghanistan is strictly a matter for Afghans. In the normal course of events they would be ruled (again) by the Taliban (since ordinary Afghans lack the will to resist them, or support them as bringers of order). That will certainly be an oppressive fate, but there is no Western interest in preventing it. Liberal imperialism and Islamophobic foaming are irrelevant.

    The only Western interest is to capture/kill bin Laden and his groupies: that doesn’t require a war to re-construct all of Afghanistan in the image of the West.

    @Dan: get your facts right. If the Soviets had wanted to conquer the oil fields of the Middle East they would have started with Iran and not oil-less Afghanistan. The Soviets had several Muslim republics with & recognised the threat to their stability posed by the Islamic fundamentalist insurgency in Afghanistan – i.e. they had a genuine stake in maintaining the secular Afghan regime of Najebullah (sp.). You seem incapable of admitting that your country can be wrong or mistaken. A very Taliban mind-set.

  128. 128 John in Germany
    November 14, 2008 at 08:52

    As far as i can make out, all we realy heard was we were going to do this, and that.
    Isnt it time that all Muslim leaders denounce terrorism and violence?. I mean all.

    Can one really believe that talking will help, i do not.

    There is bad and evil in all walks of life, but the intensity that prevails in killing innocent people with terrorist acts, is beginning to exceed, or has exceeded anything we have known.

    John in Germany.

  129. 129 richardw
    November 14, 2008 at 12:49

    Sorry but where is the interview? I’ve trawled all over your website and am trying to find it now via google, you could at least have provided a link, it’s ridiculous!

  130. 130 Vernon
    November 14, 2008 at 13:29

    It would be good to hold the spokesman to account with his evasiveness and denials by reminding him that God sees all and judges correctly, so he must be careful in his statements. However there may be an escape clause in Muslims being allowed to lie to “infidels”. I wonder if that is God sanctioned though.

  131. 131 katemcgough
    November 14, 2008 at 15:13

    Hi Richard – thanks for highlighting that. The podcast is now up here (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/podcasts/whys/) – there’s a link at the top of the page and you can find the two halves of the programme on bbc iplayer here (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/wcr51h9pr48/World_Have_Your_Say_13112008/)

  132. 132 rash
    November 14, 2008 at 15:29

    @ brett

    @ Selena:

    But didn’t you get the memo? American lives are worth more than anyone elses.

    To the BBC:

    Congrats, I look forward to todays programme!


  133. November 14, 2008 at 16:18

    @ Vijay

    “WHO IS NAIVE AND IDEALIST you voted for Obama. Don’t forget the world does not consist of the USA alone.”

    I cannot help you… Clearly you have no understanding of the difference between LEADERS of state negotiating matters of war and foreign policy and journalist scoring a few sound bites to get from under the harsh lights of citizens of late by scoring this interview with Taleban.

  134. November 14, 2008 at 18:24

    @ Steve

    I agree, had it actually been something more than rhetoric, I would have been impressed. In my opinion, the BBC just tried to humanized the Taleban by handling them with kid gloves.

    I do think it was a conversation that needed to happen, I just wish it would have been substantive and actually gave our leaders something to consider, because clearly our nations do not agree. If they really wanted foreign nations out Afghanistan they would have coughed out Bin Laden long time ago in stead of harboring him or helping his escape into other regions and stop strapping bombs to themselves. Since, Taleban’s spokes person said the US never had proof Osama Bin Laden had anything has to do with 9/11, well that kind of says it all.

  135. 135 selena in Canada
    November 14, 2008 at 18:35


    How, in your view, could the BBC have handled the program differently? What would have made a difference, for you?

  136. 136 Syed Hasan Turab
    November 14, 2008 at 18:45

    Infact Talban histry starts from Birtish Hipocrate Behaviour been conveyed to Muslim World via Lawrance of Arabia.
    The roots of Talaban may not be removed unless we try to understand Core issues, those are purely political, not religious at all.
    Debate on Talaban will openup our brain & help us to reach on correct & quick decision.
    Religion never be a problem for Muslim society & never exposed as a problem during 800 years Muslims rule in Spain nor 850 years rule over India, during this 1,650 years rule of Muslim’s over Spain & India is full with satisfactory Justice, equal apportunity, freedom & developments.

  137. 137 Bryan
    November 14, 2008 at 20:12

    Frank Gardner’s interview was tame, almost to the point of deference to the spokesman of these monsters. The BBC needs to get someone like Tim Sesbatian, who used to present Hardtalk to do an interview like this. Sebastian would have demanded answers and pushed the terrorist representative until it became crystal clear that he was lying and being defensive. With Gardner, all that happened was that the Taleban was given a great opportunity to spout propaganda. This was a shameful episode, BBC, and rather than being proud of your “scoop”, you should hope people forget about it fast.

    VictorK November 13, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    I’ve noticed over recent months that whereas BBC reporters can behave like rabid pitbulls on steroids when questioning Western politicians, they have can be remarkably deferential when interviewing people from ’scary’ countries.

    It’s not only recently. When Gaddafi was on HYS or WHYS, I forget which, he had a red carpet rolled out for him as if he were the representative of a superior civilisation and it was a tremendous honour for the BBC that the great man would condescend to be on the show.

    And a few years back the World Service interviewed one of Iran’s vice presidents – a woman who had been one of the leaders of the US Embassy hijacking. The interviewer asked no tough questions and the two apparently got on like a house on fire.

    The BBC apparently has a soft spot for terrorists.

  138. 138 gary
    November 14, 2008 at 21:33

    While many people have a contrary thought, I believe it is usually best to know the reason a person wishes you ill. Immediately killing the person allows the question to remain unanswered, and ignorance of a threat is usually more dangerous than is the threat itself.

  139. 139 Bryan
    November 14, 2008 at 22:05

    Gary, we know by now who and what the Taleban is. They have been demonstrating it for years with chilling consistency. They need to be strongly challenged, not gently interviewed. The BBC is continually in the front line when it comes to appeasing terror.

    As another example, the BBC is so fond of Hamas that it has practically become a propaganda arm for the terrorist group. The BBC legitimises terrorism.

  140. 140 khalid
    November 15, 2008 at 11:03

    It just cracks me up when I see comments of folks saying; “how smart”, “how brave”, “how daring”. I admire Frank Gardner and the lady (translator) who worked hard to prepare this, but it is not an extra ordinary task, is it?

    Mujahid said something like, “we brought security into the country!” how nice! Come on, the reason we don’t have security and uncertainty is because of Taliban. They cause all this trouble.

  141. November 15, 2008 at 16:28

    When islam says,
    every man and woman,
    is duty bound to get knowledge,
    why innocent female students were targeted,
    and thrown acid on them?

    I am sure,
    you and i have same islam,not different.

  142. 142 Shakhoor Rehman
    November 15, 2008 at 17:11

    The Taliban stopped the poppy growing and its trade which was a hammer blow to the drug pushers and a good policy. They also treated women as second class citizens by denying them education and punishing them if they tried to get it and a bad policy. They also destroyed the Buddhist statues which were a work of faith by believers:the God who rules the Universe is The God Of Many Faces and all faiths pray to that God whether they know it or not. The Taliban and other religious forces still have to learn that.

  143. November 15, 2008 at 17:47

    in the days,
    when the last prophet was ruling the muslim community
    safety and rights were granted to thosehave no believe in islam,
    are you in favoure of the tradition,
    as abovementioned?

  144. November 15, 2008 at 18:51

    Your way of fighting,
    i have no objection,
    but have objection on the untimely death
    of innocent people,
    including,minor childern,women,and others,
    have any time considered this sin ,crime,
    and changing the strategy.

    Predator dron unmaned aircraft attacks,
    resulting in innocent civillans died,
    you describe it as a crime and sin,
    why are doing same with your own muslim people?

    Sultan Ahmed, Fds,Pakistan.

  145. November 15, 2008 at 19:26

    and plain scary,
    torential rain of blood,
    tough time is still stand,
    now are you confess that
    your were involved in the 9/11?

  146. November 17, 2008 at 11:50

    before the taleban become wild as they are now,they were just as those good people who have been coming to WHYS..dont be astonished to find that a regular blogger on WHYS has changed to something else more terrifying in the near future.behavior too can be LIMITED due to the rate of tolerance..


  147. 147 John in Germany
    November 17, 2008 at 16:32

    Is there no way out of this dilemma?. No?. then at least leave Innocent Men Woman and Children out of it. Those that hide behind Civilians can find no peace in any heaven they may go to. Those that commit dastardly crimes in the name of what ever Religion, will find No reward when they arrive before thier Judge. How can people believe that they will be rewarded for crimes against Humanity which appeases there own greed and love of power, they will never achieve the power of our Gods, nor will they find peace for their Souls.

    Millions are spent to cure Malaria, and next door, children die of Hunger because of the greed and power madness of Despots. Help agencies are crying out for money to feed people in Zimbabwe, and still the looser wants to be the winner, and does not care a damn about the Hungry, he and his cronies have enough to eat.

    America and its people are just an excuse used by many terrorists to be violent and to kill, and maim. If it’s not America, another Country or Europe would be quit nice thank you.

    An old story kick the legs away from a big man, and he will fall by his own momentum. No matter what big man, it always looks good if he’s down.
    But the trouble is, the Bu……gets back up and carries on fighting. Doesnt he.

    John in Germany.

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