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I’ve been very quiet about the attack on the World Trade Center; this is not from any unwillingness to talk about it, it’s more because, for the last week, I’ve been doing virtually nothing else, in a range of forums, particularly on Crackmice and the TBTF Irregulars list. What can I say — I guess I’m just not a committed blogger ;)

Anyway, I’ve been forwarding on lots of details on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda organisation, which generally makes it look like the US and its allies will have their work cut out for them. Here’s a good one from The Guardian (UK):

Communications are vital. Messages are sent by word of mouth to Pakistan, and from there they are emailed. Bin Laden, testimony has shown, had no contact with any of the east African bombers except for al’Owhali, whom he met, once, 18 months before the attack. Instead the men were selected, briefed and supervised by senior aides, some from organisations affiliated with but discrete from bin Laden’s. And this is the key: al-Qaeda does not act as a commander, it acts as a facilitator, a coordinator, putting together disparate elements – some in Afghanistan, some in the target country, some in other locations entirely – who together can pull off an operation.

It’s going to be messy. And as a much-forwarded piece by Tamim Ansary points out,

We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that’s been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make the Afghans suffer? They’re already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that.

There’s lots more good, insightful journalism in the Guardian’s special report on Afghanistan and special report on the WTC attacks. Recommended reading.