The Taliban in Their Own Words: Cast of Characters

Maulvi Mohammad Haqqani , 40, is a former Taliban deputy minister who fled Kabul during the U.S. bombing campaign, suffered a nervous breakdown in an Afghan refugee camp in Pakistan, and is now an important propagandist and insurgent recruiter on both sides of the border.

Maulvi Abdul Rehman Akhundzada , 40, commanded a 400-man Taliban unit in northern Afghanistan when the U.S. bombing campaign began, ended up selling potatoes in Pakistan in 2003, and now commands 50 insurgents operating in three provinces.

Bari Khan , 27, the son of an imam who died of a stroke in the wake of the Taliban's collapse, now commands a unit of some 15 fighters in Ghazni province.

Qari Younas , 27, was a Madrassa student in 2001 and now arranges shipments of arms, money, and communications gear to insurgent forces.

Mufti Masihuddin , 31, a student and part-time militiaman in 2001, now oversees some 200 Taliban fighters in Nuristan province.

Mullah Aga Mohammad , 45, a Madrassa student and part-time imam in 2001, is now an insurgent recruiter and a member of the Taliban's governing council in Zabul province.