Tuesday, September 14, 2021

New and Improved Taliban! Now With Nuance!

The mirror imaging in our leadership is frightening. The Taliban are not friends we haven't made yet.


Some western governments and media have been involved in a collective act of wishful thinking in recent months over the Taliban—believing them somehow to be ‘moderate’ and on the way to forming an inclusive government. The idea began with their elevation of status as a partner in negotiations with the US in Doha. They were legitimised, so some believed they had changed.

The last remnants of that belief must have been burnt out by the appointment of the Taliban cabinet this week, which was not inclusive in any sense, but was the result of three weeks of bartering between different Taliban factions, only resolved by the intervention of the head of Pakistani intelligence, the ISI, General Faiz Hameed.

More than half of the members of the new government face international sanctions as terrorists. The list includes four of the five men released from Guantanamo in a prisoner swap in 2014 and four members of the Haqqani family, whose terrorist network was responsible for the largest attacks in Kabul in recent years, and who have US bounties on their heads.

Nice guys. I'm sure they have their flight reservations for Davos in already. 

These people want to kill us. They don't want our recognition. And any aid we give them will be portrayed as tribute from the infidels.

Also, those four jihadis we traded got us a deserter, Bo Bergdahl, back from Taliban custody in 2014. The deal stunk quickly after it was made as damning details got out. Now it is worse. Maybe Bergdahl gets a Taliban cabinet position, too. 

How is it possible to have delusions that if we act just right these walking piles of human garbage will be slightly less murderous and cruel?

The surrender of Afghanistan to the Taliban is the result of an extreme case of collective amnesia and self-delusion that continues to undermine the international response to the unfolding catastrophe there. Motivated by the desire to justify that surrender and rationalise the humiliating retreat from Kabul, western military and political leaders have forgotten who it was we fought in Afghanistan and Pakistan for two decades.

They have conjured an Afghan enemy we would prefer to have lost to, rather than the one that is thrusting the Afghan people into hell and poses a threat to all civilised peoples.

One British general recently described the victorious jihadists who seized Kabul last month merely as “country boys” who “happen to live by a code of honour”. He rebuked a journalist who dared to describe them as the enemy.

Others now talk about “Taliban 2.0”, as if it’s a company after a brand refresh — a different entity, somehow, from the one that harboured al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden as he plotted the mass murder of 2,977 innocents on US soil 20 years ago.

The Taliban are disgusting specimens of murderous goons. They are our enemy. Treat them as such. 

Don't even think of helping them even if you can sleep at night justifying that. Have confidence that Taliban control of Kabul government offices and the Pushtun south doesn't mean the Taliban control Afghanistan. Start the roll back.

And yes, Pakistan was long a major obstacle to defeating the Taliban. Now that Pakistan has joined China and because we don't need Pakistan for access to Afghanistan, we can do more to pressure Pakistan and punish them if pressure doesn't work.

The only good Taliban is a dead Taliban. And every Taliban we fail to kill this year is just one more we have to kill next year.