Terrorists' electronics not
up to date
By Mickey Sartre, News Lampoon cub reporter
March 10, 2008, Kabul, Afghanistan--The
Taliban fighter handed me a cup of green tea and said, "I should kill you."
I set the cup down on the concrete floor
where we sat facing each other, cross-legged on thin rugs.
The curtains drawn, the room was dark. The interview was being
conducted in secret, in a concrete Taliban "safe house"--if there is such
a thing as a Taliban safe house. "If you divulge identity," said the Talibander, "I will kill you."
"You haven't told me your name," I said.
He tilted his head back, stroked his beard
with one hand and caressed his Kalashnikov with the other. He seemed
to be sizing me up. This went on for several seconds. Finally,
he nodded and said, "That is true. I have not told you my name."
The Talibanders had selected us for the interview because, they said,
"News Lampoon is Muslim newspaper." Our attempts to
inform them otherwise were ignored. We could only guess as to
where they got the idea we were a "Muslim newspaper." What we
finally came up with was that "News Lampoon" sounds "Muslim."
"What is wrong?" asked the Talibander. "Don't you like tea?"
"I am letting it cool," I answered.
"Drink it, or I will kill you."
His hand tightened around the Kalashnikov.
I lifted the cup to my lips, closed my eyes,
took a sip. I waited for the poison to take effect, but nothing
happened. "Hey, that's not bad," I lied.
"I am glad you like it."
The interview "request" had arrived via U.S.
mail. "The Taliban wishes to speak with you," it read in part.
"If you do not reply to letter immediately, we will explode building."
At the bottom of the letter was written: "Do you consent to interview?
Yes ___ No___ (check aproppriat sic)."
The Talibander's cell phone rang. He held
his finger to his lips, then answered the phone.
He said a few words in whatever language it is
that they speak--Arabic, I think--then he snapped the phone shut.
"Look at this," he said, holding up the phone. "It has not even
camera." He handed it to me. It was an LG, a little worn, but
it looked like a pretty nice phone.
"It is two years old,"
I nodded, handed it back to
"What do you use?"
"Excuse me?" I said.
"Phone!" he said. He snapped his fingers.
"Let me see."
I handed him my phone.
"Nokia." He smiled. "This
is older than
mine. Also no camera."
true," I said. "No camera." I felt like we were building a
"This is why we ask you to come,"
he said, casually dropping my phone into his pocket. "What
laptop do you use? Apple?"
no," I answered. "I use a Gateway. It's kind of old though.
I need a new one."
"Precisely!" he shouted. "We knew American
Islamic newspaper journalist will understand!"
"But I'm not . . ."
"Stop!" he said, holding up his hand.
"Listen to what I say. We need American government to send Musharraf
more money. He has become cheap with us."
"You mean President Pervez Musharraf?" I said.
"Of course! Who
else do you think?"
"He gives you
"You do not know this?"
"Well, no," I said. "I thought you were
supposed to be enemies."
"But he gives
us money. He lets us live in his mountains. He tells us when
CIA is looking for us. You are silly journalist."
"Well, I . . ."
"This is not important!" he said. "What is
important is money. U.S. give money to Musharraf, Musharraf give
money to Taliban. U.S. give more money to Musharraf,
Musharraf give more money to Taliban. Do you now understand?"
"Yes, I think so."
"We need new laptops, new cell phones. Chinese
and Russians and Iranians will no longer give us grenades and guns without
money. It is because of Iraq!" His hand tightened around the
Kalashnikov. He paused. "Tell me, do you use Vista?"
I was confused for a moment, then it came to me.
"The Vista computer operating system?"
"Yes, of course."
"No. We use XP
"We wish to go back to
XP also. Vista is not good system. But this also cost money."
For the first time, and much to my relief, the
Talibander smiled. "You are intelligent Muslim journalist. For
brief moment, I think I must kill you, but now you understand. So you
will tell Bush to send money." He rose to his feet and slung the
Kalashnikov over his shoulder. "We must go now."
"But I wanted to ask . . ."
"Silence! You must now wear blindfold."
He barked out something in his language, and two armed Talibanders entered and
"I like you, Mickey," I
heard him say. "You are good Muslim journalist. Tell Bush to
send money, and we will talk again. Do not make us explode
His two lieutenants grabbed
my arms and took me outside to a waiting car, shoved me into the back
seat. Five minutes later, they threw me out of the car onto a busy
Kabul street. I pulled off the blindfold and looked around. I had no idea where I was,
but I was glad to be alive. I reflexively reached
for my cell phone, but it was gone.
The News Lampoon--Twisted News, Humor & Satire