Reporters on the Job

GOOD REPORTING BEARS FRUIT: The first step in getting Thursday's story about the Taliban reorganizing in Afghanistan (page 1) involved finding a low-level Taliban official. Eventually, the Monitor's Scott Baldauf and his Afghan interpreter met and developed the trust of an official in the province of Logar. He promised to help them meet senior Taliban officials.

"He didn't tell us who they would be. But knowing there would be two of them, my interpreter and I gave them code names to avoid calling them 'the Al Qaeda guys.' As a joke, we called them Zardaloo and Sheftaloo, which are Farsi for apricot and peach," says Scott. "But we took our security precautions seriously. We did not bring them to our house, for fear they might target us later. We didn't meet them at their homes, either, where they could lay an ambush. Instead we picked them up at a bus stop in Kabul, and drove them to a playground near the Eid Mosque.

"Initially, they were nervous and suspicious," says Scott. "They were concerned that we might be US agents laying a trap for them. They wanted to convey their interest in playing a political role in the current Afghan government. But there was also a lot of talk about what would happen if they weren't given a role. At one point, I told Justice Salam I remembered him from covering the Shelter Now aid workers trial in Kabul, just before Sept. 11. He smiled, shook my hand, and said, 'We all follow the same God, whether we are Christian, Jew, or Muslim.'"

David Clark Scott
World editor

Follow-up on a Monitor Story

GALLOWAY SUSPENDED: Britain's ruling Labour Party suspended leading antiwar politician George Galloway Tuesday over an outspoken attack on Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush during the war on Iraq. Mr. Galloway called the two leaders "wolves" for attacking Iraq, in a March 28 appearance on a Gulf television station during the war, Reuters reports. "He is suspended from holding office or representing the party pending the outcome of internal party investigations," a Labour Party statement said.

Galloway said the action made a mockery of the assertion that the war was fought in the name of freedom and democracy and said he stood by his words.

Galloway has threatened to sue The Christian Science Monitor and The Daily Telegraph for libel over two separate stories about documents found in Iraq that indicate Baghdad was making payments to him. The Monitor story appeared on April 25, and a Galloway response was published on April 28. Parliament's standards commissioner is to hold a separate inquiry into the allegations.

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