And now the most compelling two minutes in television, the latest footnotes to the American war on terrorism.
The elusive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar has been reduced to sleeping in the back of cars and trucks, according to a report in the London Telegraph. The report quotes a man who recently arrived in Kabul from Kandahar as saying Omar never stays more than four hours in one place, has given up his Toyota Land Cruiser in favor of a variety of cars and pickup trucks, and he rarely goes indoors. The man said he saw Omar last Saturday traveling in a Toyota Corolla sedan with only one bodyguard, giving instructions through a walkie-talkie.
The Northern Alliance may control most Afghan cities but the country's roads remain extremely dangerous. The Afghan Islamic Press is reporting that a bus was waylaid yesterday on the road from Kabul to Jalalabad by gunmen who ordered all men who had shaved their beards out and then proceeded to cut off their noses and ears. The men were taken to a hospital in Jalalabad. This is the same road — and about the same place — where four journalists were murdered on Nov. 19.
Meanwhile, U.S. Intelligence reports that terrorists allied with the Taliban are planning to attack American troops in Afghanistan with vehicles loaded with explosives.
The Washington Times quotes intelligence sources as saying Taliban agents were detected in Pakistan in recent weeks trying to buy between 10 and 15 vehicles to be used for bomb attacks.
The Taliban, the sources said, planned to drive the vehicles to Kandahar, where they would be outfitted with explosives and then used to attack U.S. forces in the area, which have now further bolstered security in response to the threat.
Remember Bobby Fischer, the reclusive American chess grandmaster who won the world championship in 1972. He now lives in hiding in Japan, but it turns out he broke his public silence in a radio interview in the Philippines just after Sept. 11. He described the terrorist attacks as "wonderful news." He added, "It is time to finish off the U.S. once and for all." For the record, Fischer is a recognized anti-Semite who is wanted in the U.S. for violating the sanctions against Serbia by playing a chess match there in 1992.