« On the resilience of the Iranian regime | Main | IRGC cell broken up in Kuwait »




Pictures of the 'White Taliban' in Nuristan



Via SpyTalk comes the report of a Western-looking man dressed in Western clothes, milling around in a group of Taliban fighters in Nuristan province, Afghanistan. The video (above, for as long as it stays up) was produced by Al Emara, the Taliban's propaganda arm, and released on jihadist forums over the weekend. The video also has plenty of footage of the Taliban's assault on Combat Outpost Keating in the Kamdesh district in Nuristan province. Interestingly enough, the Sunday Times also ran a story about a group of "White Taliban" encountered in Zabul province.

There are four screen shots of the "White Taliban" from the video from Nuristan below. You can see the "White Taliban" pop into the crowd at 42:21 into the video.

In the first shot, the "white Taliban" is in left right of the screen, in the following three shots, he is directly in the center of screen.

White-Talib-1.JPG

White-Talib-3.JPG

White-Talib-4.JPG

White-Talib-2.JPG



READER COMMENTS: "Pictures of the 'White Taliban' in Nuristan"

Posted by steve m at May 17, 2010 5:10 PM ET:

kind of creepy! any idea who the guy shaking hands with everyone is?

Posted by steve m. at May 17, 2010 5:14 PM ET:

55:50 mark looks like a gay porn. not that there is anything wrong with that.

Posted by Jimbo at May 17, 2010 6:04 PM ET:

Nuristanis have a lot of blond/red-haired, fair skinned, blue-eyed types in their ranks - people that could easily pass for white Americans or Western Europeans. I'm not sure there's much to this story. If the video were taken in Helmand or Kandahar, I'd probably think differently. You can't discount an Afghani with Russian blood in his family from the Soviet invasion, either.

Posted by Jimbo at May 17, 2010 6:05 PM ET:

Nuristanis have a lot of blond/red-haired, fair skinned, blue-eyed types in their ranks - people that could easily pass for white Americans or Western Europeans. I'm not sure there's much to this story. If the video were taken in Helmand or Kandahar, I'd probably think differently. You can't discount an Afghani with Russian blood in his family from the Soviet invasion, either.

Posted by Graham at May 17, 2010 6:49 PM ET:

I suppose he's a German?

Posted by Mr T at May 17, 2010 8:08 PM ET:

Its not just his coloring. Look at that haircut and no beard. His jacket also appears to be out of place. It seemed that many of the Taliban were taking a second look at him as well indicating he was something different. Very strange.

Where are all these enemy men just roaming around freely. Talk about behind enemy lines, and this is Afghanistan? Lots of older men here too. Locals supporting the Taliban.

Posted by Civy at May 18, 2010 1:41 AM ET:

What, no pictures of the 300:500 Taliban corpses blown apart by Apache gunships, and 20mm from fast movers?

Looks like your average pub crawl in certain districts of Paris - except some of these guys look like they've bathed in the last year.

Frankly, that moaning, grinding, gibberish dirge music is enough to make me want to kill the whole lot of them and let God sort them out.

I thought it telling that the citizens of the town COP Keating was supposed to be protecting warned them, ignoring all this idiot Taliban propaganda. You don't need propaganda when you are winning a war, only when losing it.

Posted by Logan at May 18, 2010 7:33 AM ET:

OMG Bill,u made such a mistake? This wasn't expected of you. COP Keating is in Kamdesh and Kamdesh is in Nuristan,NOT Kunar.
Correct it fast plz.

Posted by Bill Roggio at May 18, 2010 9:09 AM ET:

Ugh, thank for the correction Logan. I have corrected and noted. And don't ask me how I made that mistake because I have no good answer. Thanks again.

Posted by Guerra at May 18, 2010 9:19 AM ET:

41:53 he is lower center frame rubbing his head, donning traditional shalwar kameez, and around 42:07 is in the bottom right corner.

Another possibility:
In recent years, some western caucasian think tank types, through tribal connections, have been granted audience in and around the tribal areas and in northeastern afghanistan for research purposes. Oftentimes elaborate youtube ready events like the video were set up to show control of the surrounding areas. Given that he doesn't seem to venture far from the main group of talibs, I wonder if this isn't a possibility.

Posted by Technocrat at May 18, 2010 9:46 AM ET:

I think you said left when you meant right....right? =)

"In the first shot, the "white Taliban" is in left of the screen"

At least, it is on the right from the viewer angle.

Posted by William at May 18, 2010 10:47 AM ET:

I can't believe they left all that to fall into the hands of the enemy. That units entire Chain of Command should be Court Martialed! Unsat!

Posted by kp at May 18, 2010 6:54 PM ET:

I think I prefer the Sunday Times explanation (following from an American unit running into some "white taliban" who were Russian speaking) that these are "Russians" probably Chechyns or similar. That jacket looks like something from C&A in the 1980s in northern England or Eastern Europe/Russia today

I haven't watched the video but he's not just milling about is he? He's following the guy with the ammo pouches in his vest immediately in front of him (so he's not getting any stick).

If these guys are Russians then they're not so much of a threat (if one has to interact with them) though NATO soldiers should be warned of ethnic stereotyping (i.e. the enemy doesn't have to be brown) and to employ good OPSEC when meeting other "units" so they don't get deceived by these guys (I'm thinking of the OAU suicide bombing that used a Somali-American to enter the compound)

Posted by nomadology at May 20, 2010 6:32 AM ET:

I worked as a cultural analyst in Nuristan and spent a great deal of time at all three COPs that were once there. While I have not seen the video, the frame grabs show some Nuristani kid with blonde hair- nothing more. The person who wrote the original article likely didn't know much about Nuristan province as this isn't uncommon.

Posted by jonz at October 1, 2010 2:24 AM ET:


i have seen many young men in Nuristan looking like kids from England or the US Sometimes they have hats given to them from US Army baseball type, when you seen them at first you think what's that kid doing here.