Some edicts are simply ignored. Homosexuality, which is taboo in the Koran, is rampant in Kandahar, the future home of the Taliban. Even bestiality is sometimes practiced. While traveling on the back of a truck in Kandahar Province, I asked one of Haji Latif’s teen warriors if he’d ever had sex with an animal. A humorless lad, he answered without irony, “Yes, one goat and five chickens.”

“How were the chickens?” I inquired.

“One good, four not so hot,” he replied.

The next morning, I have breakfast at the front. As I drink my tea, bullets fly over my head. The mujahideen hit the ground. I continue to sip my tea. I suddenly realize that this is not courage but sheer stupidity. For the first time in combat, I seriously re-think my attraction to war. I’ve become so blasé that I’m begging to be killed.

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