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The Taliban recently ordered the stoning to death of an adulterous couple in Kunduz province. I read a newspaper report of this just after deciding to run with our cover story on how we must learn to love the Taliban. The stoning story made me shudder. But we do still have to, if not love, then at least understand the Taliban: their place in Afghan society and thus their role in any peace agreement. Of course the Taliban, representing the conservative traditions of Pashtun society, have a more brutal moral code than we do. It is not moral relativism to…

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