Hello, you’ve reached the new Taliban office in Qatar, how may we direct your call?
No, I’m sorry, Mullah Omar is out of the office until 3 p.m. I believe he’s slaughtering a goat for a power lunch with representatives of the Axis of Evil. He also must stop by the dry cleaners later to pick up his freshly pressed turban. May I ask what this is regarding?
Wonderful, President Karzai. Ending conflict is something we’re all committed to here at the Taliban. In fact, the workmen have just left after putting up the neon sign with our new logo– a star and crescent emblazoned with a fluffy white dove of peace.
What’s that? Oh, of course, I believe we can schedule you for… um, let’s see, does Thursday at 2:15 work for you?
Great! I want to remind you that while we have agreed not to behead our visitors or beat the soles of their feet to a bloody pulp with rods, male visitors in turn must appear with full beards or they’ll have trouble getting through our armed security screeners. And any women in your party– actually we don’t like to use the term “party” because of its overtones of mirth and frivolity– any women accompanying you must wear a full hijab and have their mouths taped shut during the meeting.
No, these are the same rules for all visitors. Full covering and modest dress for men and women. Well, actually if you are an Orthodox Jew, and are fully covered and modestly dressed, you still can’t come in. Because you are a Jew. Hindus had best wait outside as well.
Um, I’m not sure I know why you’re getting upset, Mr. President. Representatives from the American embassy met with the Mullah yesterday and had no problem wearing the fake beards we keep on hand for just such occasions. In fact, as a compromise, we can arrange for an Alexandr Solzhenitsyn-style mustacheless beard for you, if you prefer. After all, we’re all about meeting our adversaries half-way, in the cause of conflict resolution.
Fine. We look forward to seeing you, then, on Thursday, if God wills.
One more thing. Please leave all iPods and other music players outside in the car. As you know, we can work with people who march to the tune of a different drummer. We just have to smash their drum first, and stifle their tune.