Alastair Crooke

Like it or not, the Taliban are now players on the world stage

Many years ago, before the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1988, I was based in Peshawar in Pakistan, near Afghanistan. I was responsible for British diplomatic reporting on the war and engaging with Afghan leaders. I came to know the Taliban. They were, to put it mildly, not particularly nice guys: intensely parochial, geographically and