Apparently he had impressed the mullahs with his footwork in America, because soon after he returned, Mr. Rahmatullah went to work as a personal adviser to Mullah Omar—a fact left out of the glowing New York Times Magazine writeup, which notes only that when he reported on his trip “to Mullah Omar and a group of senior advisers” in Kandahar, “[i]t was quickly evident that they weren’t interested in his ideas.”
Apparently they were so uninterested in Mr. Rahmatullah’s ideas that they promoted him to the Taliban’s equivalent of Karl Rove. Leftist journalist Robert Fisk identifies Mr. Rahmatullah as a “Senior Adviser” to Mullah Omar. When UPI’s Arnaud de Borchgrave interviewed Mullah Omar in June 2001, Mr. Rahmatullah did all the talking. Where Mullah Omar comes off as the strong, silent type in the interview, Mr. Rahmatullah emerges as the idea man, the big picture guy, the strategist with both eyes open, Mullah Omar having lost one of his fighting the Soviets.
In fact, the Taliban’s senior officials were so unimpressed by Mr. Rahmatullah that de Borchgrave notes he was “rumored to be Afghanistan’s next foreign minister”. And now, if Yale permits him to transfer in from his “special student” program to the regular undergraduate degree program, he may yet achieve that goal.
Mr. Ramahtullah is not, as Yale’s Whiffenpoofs might sing, some “poor little lamb who’s lost his way”. It is condescending and, frankly, colonialist to give Mr. Rahmatullah a pass for his participation in Taliban tyranny. Just because he comes from a different culture—even an indigenous, “authentic” one—does not exonerate his knowing, willing work in shoring up the Taliban’s strength and possibly as an architect of their ideology—and as he notes in his March 2001 speech at USC, “ideology is everything” to the Taliban.
At best, Mr. Rahmatullah was an apologist for evil. But the widespread perception of Mr. Rahmatullah in 2001 suggests he didn’t just work for the Taliban; he was the Taliban.
If these facts about Mr. Rahmatullah come as a surprise, they shouldn’t. My research assistant, Mr. Google, found all this stuff in about half an hour. (He’s good at figuring out stuff the Times misses.) That this information was so easy to find says something scary about Yale’s and the State Department’s decisions to admit him. Either they didn’t perform this basic bit of due diligence on an applicant from a terrorist regime, or else they knew all this and decided to admit him anyway.
In either case, Yale’s decision to admit Mullah Omar’s personal adviser, and the likely next Foreign Minister for the Taliban, remains inexcusable. If you are interested in expressing your outrage to Yale, here’s just the way to do it.