Today, the New York Times has a story on Laili Helms, the self-appointed US envoy to the Taliban. She’s been working the United States on behalf of the Taliban for years, and is surprised to find that she has few friends now. (I first discovered her back in September when I saw a Village Voice article about her.) Even today, when it’s obvious that Osama bin Laden provided the military punch for the Taliban through his foreign troops, she makes excuses for them:

To this day, she argues that the Taliban were not in league with him but that their leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, was too proud and primitive to break tribal rules of hospitality or surrender to American demands.

“Everyone I talked to in the Taliban wanted to hand him over,” she said. “But Omar is an Afghan hillbilly who deals with the world at a tribal level, and the United States never really went down to his level.”