The We Missed You Issue

What I Found in the Rubble of a Destroyed Taliban Complex

Suroosh Alvi recalls how he wound up with a dagger that belonged to Qari Hussain, the Pakistani Taliban's master trainer of suicide bombers.

by Suroosh Alvi
Mar 30 2016, 12:00am

This article appeared in the March issue of VICE magazine. Click HERE to subscribe.

This dagger is from the compound of Qari Hussain, the Pakistani Taliban's master trainer of suicide bombers. He claimed he could persuade anyone to become a suicide bomber in 20 minutes over the phone; his trademark was training children to blow themselves up. There are conflicting reports about how he died, but he was likely killed by a US drone strike in north Waziristan, one of six or more assaults that targeted him. By the time the Pakistan Army attacked the Taliban in South Waziristan, Hussain was probably already dead, but, nonetheless, the army retook his longtime stronghold and blew it up. In 2014, I spent a few days embedded with the Pakistan Army. Its bomb squad let me poke around in the rubble of Hussain's terror complex, and I found this treasure.