Last week, investigative reporters working for the French weekly news magazine Paris-Match tracked down the Taliban terrorists who participated in the slaughter, and... interviewed them.
The chilling interview reads like a chat between a sports journalist and the coach of a rival team at playoff time.
Translated from the original French: Exclusive: our journalists found the talibans who shot the ten French soldiers.
Eric de Lavarène met one of the attackers who set the fatal trap for the men of the 8th Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment on last August 18th, in Afghanistan.
The man who commanded one of the groups responsible for the terrible attack on the French soldiers is known as commander Farouki. He says he is from the [Afghan] province of Laghman. He is approximately 30-35 years old, as are the majority of his troops. There are more than 500 of them. The interview would last a few minutes. No one lingers, in these parts.
Paris Match: Why did you take on the French military?
Commander Farouki: They trespassed over the line by coming near here.The Uzbin valley belongs to us. It's our territory. A few days before, villagers had warned them: do not go beyond this zone, it's dangerous. They did not listen to them. So, we attacked them. It was a legitimate defense.
Paris Match: Had you obtained intelligence about this patrol, before the ambush?
Commander Farouki: The ambush was not planned. We had just been warned shortly before the attack of the presence of foreign soldiers in our territory. Then, we acted very quickly. It was not complicated. We have caches of arms almost everywhere and of course we are very familiar with the terrain. We were in position before they arrived. One hundred and forty well trained fighters. If night had not fallen, we would have killed them all.
Paris-Match: Did you torture the soldiers who had fallen into your hands?
Commander Farouki: No. These men are dead because of Bush and your president. We did not want to kill your husbands or your sons. We don't have anything against the French. If they leave, then all will be well. So long as you stay here, we will kill you. All of you.
Paris-Match: What will you do, in the future, if they return?
Commander Farouki: We'll do it again. With this attack, we wanted to show the French soldiers that they must stop helping the Americans.
And believe me, this was just a warning. The next time, we will attack them directly where they are holed up, in Tagab and elsewhere. And we'll strike against French interests all over the world. We have the means. We are not alone or isolated in these mountains.
Paris-Match: Do you have the support of the people:
Commander Farouki: The people do not really support us. We let them alone and they don't betray us. But more and more youth are joining us because of the NATO bombings. A bombed house, and it's a new fighter at our side. It's called the spirit of vengeance. It's normal. Especially here.
Paris-Match: Do you have the support of foreign groups?
Commander Farouki: We are all afghans. We do not need the others. We are defending our country. It's a war of liberation. That's all. But there are links between groups, right up to the frontier. Arms, money, fighters passing from one region to the other. From one country to the other. Easily.
Paris-Match: Would you be ready to negotiate with the authorities in Kabul?
Commander Farouki: No negotiations while the foreigners are on our territory. We will strike at your soldiers, we will strike at your humanitarian organizations. We will continue to defend our country. To the end. To the last man. You will have to kill us all to end our movement. And believe me, we are many.
In a related article, the maganize offers a video interview of Véronique de Viguerie, the mercenary photographer who helped set up the meeting with the Taliban jihadis. What a puff-piece. The probing questions include: How did you make contact with this group; Were you given guarantees for security during the meeting; In order not to be discovered, did the taliban set limits for the photography; Will you return to Afghanistan.
I won't bother to translate her matter-of-fact responses, it's just trivia: driving here, talking to this person about talking to that person... mind you, the banality of her amoral answers send as many chills down my spine as the jihadi's earlier cold-blooded threats of dying to the last man. And her eyes... these are the eyes that could look at a bloodied corpse and only wonder, what angle would offer me the best light...
I will translate one of her answers, the second-to-last one. At the 3:00 mark of the video, Mme de Viguerie is asked whether intelligence agencies tried to talk to her about this interview. She gives a gallic shrug of the shoulders as she purrs:
"Well... Let's just say... I imagine that... the secret service must know where these taliban are, it's... not that hard to discover. [softly] But this is not my line of work at all. As well, the fixer who brought me to see them, he is at Quitta [sp?], his family is at Quitta, the taliban know his family, so if in the following days, something should happen, it is he who will be held responsible for that, and it will be his family that will pay the consequences. Therefore... no."
[Hat Tip to Tiberge at GalliaWatch, who also translates a sampling of the French outrage at this unscrupulous approach to journalism.]
[UPDATE: A French journalist working for the left-leaning Liberation newspaper blogs that the taliban barbarians slit the throat of a wounded French soldier during the ambush in question. Maybe next time the Paris Match pretty people who walk between the raindrops can ask the taliban coach if slicing the throat open was the handywork of a new recruit from the farm team, or maybe that of a hot player picked up in an off-season trade...]