Taliban Targetting ‘Alexander’s Descendents’

Excerpts from an item in the Telegraph:

The group, believed to be descendants of Alexander the Great’s invading army, were shielded from conservative Islam by the steep slopes of their remote valleys.

While Sikhs, Hindus, and Christians were slowly driven out of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province by Muslim militants, the Kalash were free to drink their own distilled spirits and smoke cannabis.

But the militant maulanas of the Taliban have finally caught up with them and declared war on their culture and heritage by kidnapping their most devoted supporter.

Taliban commanders have taken Professor Athanasion Larounis, a Greek aid worker who has generated £2.5 million in donations to build schools, clinics, clean water projects and a museum.

They are now demanding £1.25 million and the release of three militant leaders in exchange for his safe return.
[...]

Confirmation of the Taliban’s role in his kidnapping came as their leader Mullah Omar urged American and Nato leaders to learn from the history of Alexander the Great’s invasion of Afghanistan and his defeat by Pushtun tribesmen in the 4BC.

[...]

Bizarre .. FWIW, of all those groups claiming descent from Alexander,the Kalash are the only ones whose DNA seems to back up the claim. … [correction: the link there suggests the Kalash aren't related, based on DNA]

UPDATE: (04/10/10): Dr Larounis has been freed: Kidnapped Greek curator is freed by Taliban | BBC

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem ix kalendas octobres

ante diem ix kalendas octobres

  • rites in honour of Latona at the Theatre of Marcellus
  • Mercatus — those cupboards must have been really empty!
  • 484 B.C. — Birth of Euripides (?)
  • 480 B.C. — Athenian naval forces under Themistocles defeat Xerxes’ Persian force in the narrows of Salamis (one reckoning)
  • 63 B.C. — birth of Octavius, the future emperor Augustus
  • 25 B.C. — dedication of the Temple of Neptune (and associated rites thereafter)
  • 23 B.C. — restoration of the temple of Apollo in the Campus Martius (and associated rites thereafter)
  • 117 A.D. — martyrdom of Thecla