X Close

The Taliban must purge itself Its moderate wing can still save Afghanistan

Taliban fighters guard a military parade ELISE BLANCHARD/AFP via Getty Images)

Taliban fighters guard a military parade ELISE BLANCHARD/AFP via Getty Images)


January 2, 2023   6 mins

It has become common for countries to boast three-word slogans. India, Incredible India. Malaysia, Truly Asia. Afghanistan’s could be: We Squander Opportunities. Or perhaps: We Never Learn.

Consider Afghanistan’s recent history. The Soviet Union occupied the country, was defeated and forced to withdraw in 1989. The resistance groups formed a coalition government, but instead of reconstruction, they turned on each other in a civil war that flattened Kabul and plunged the country into chaos. That chaos allowed the Taliban — in its first iteration — to take power.

Relieved that the fighting was finally over, the population initially welcomed a group whose name translated as “the scholars”. But instead of bringing scholarly calm and smart economic recovery, the Taliban focused on inventing eccentric rules of dress and conduct, closing girls’ schools, blowing up the Bamiyan Buddhas, and partnering with an Arab terrorist group, al-Qaeda — leading to 9/11, US retaliation and the downfall of the Taliban regime.

Then followed 20 years of massive financial infusions, development and education programmes, and an enormous US military effort to train and equip the Afghan military. Such levels of investment and effort could have turned Afghanistan into Central Asia’s Switzerland or Dubai. Instead, the country’s politicians perfected the arts of theft and corruption. The Army let the Americans do the heavy-lifting while they focused on creating ghost soldiers (imaginary recruits whose pay cheques the officers could collect). The new government, uninterested in nation-building, engaged in villa-building, creating fantastically tasteless Hollywood mansions, while the majority of their fellow citizens languished in rural mud huts. These rural areas were perfect terrain and recruitment for the Taliban, who not only persisted but grew. Eventually, the US faced the facts and, last year, pulled out, bringing about the Taliban’s second iteration.

The Taliban, in the conversations that accompanied last year’s Doha Peace Talks, vigorously emphasised that they had learned from their past mistakes. This time, they were going to be benevolent guardians of the state, and show the West and the world what an Afghan Islamic republic could accomplish. They would focus on development and on the welfare of the population.

At first, things went relatively smoothly. The Taliban entered Kabul without incident; they could not be blamed for taking unilateral control of the capital, Ashraf Ghani had fled in the night in a cash-stuffed helicopter, instead of fulfilling the agreement to meet and form a shared transitional government. Life continued much as before, with some improvements. NGOs, for instance, reported that they could now visit and serve previously inaccessible areas. It wasn’t great that the Taliban cabinet didn’t include even one woman, and that members of other ethnic and political groups were not represented — but, given that the alternative was a return to civil war or outright war, the world was willing to be patient.

This was, after all, a fighting force that had yet to acquire skills of governance and administration. Even as the re-opening of girls’ middle and high schools kept being postponed on one pretext or another, even after a prominent al-Qaeda leader was found comfortably ensconced in the middle of Kabul (and less comfortably removed by drone), the world’s patience held. No one wanted a renewal of conflict, especially since, in the absence of any credible contender, it would just mean a grinding bloody and protracted fight. There were even plans to set up a special UN commission to negotiate a “normalisation” of diplomatic relations with the Taliban, potentially culminating in the recognition of their government. What an opportunity! The former pariahs were poised to take a place on the world stage, and all they had to do was let girls go to high school, include a few non-Taliban in their various councils, and stick to the things they had already agreed to in Doha, such as not supporting terrorism.

It seemed all too easy — until it wasn’t. Just before Christmas, it was announced that women were now also banned from universities. And hardly had the world had time to condemn it before the next insanity followed: women were now banned from working for NGOs, domestic or foreign.

Both moves are, obviously, unacceptable on grounds of innate values and human rights. They have no foundation anywhere except in the pathology of the nutcases who came up with them; certainly not in Islam, as the chorus of dismay from scholars and leaders across the Islamic world immediately expressed. But they are also inexplicable on grounds of simple pragmatism. Without external aid, Afghanistan is in very deep trouble. It lacks, for a period of some years at least, the resources to feed itself or to provide power, basic tools for transport or farming, or pharmaceuticals and medical care. To be self-sustaining, the country needs to wisely and energetically build up infrastructure and human capital. And just consider basic demographics. Given the total segregation in place, which does not permit women to be treated by male doctors, how do the Taliban propose to cultivate a viable next generation? Without female nurses and doctors, the already high maternal and infant mortality rates will only increase.

Many within the higher and middle echelons of the Taliban acknowledge all of this. Privately, they express dismay over the rulings in hardline Kandahar province, which they claim represent a very small yet very prominent minority around Haibatullah, the Taliban’s Supreme Leader who was born there. And this time, unlike during the Taliban’s first iteration, there is public pushback. There have been demonstrations by women, and also by men. A group of male students in Herat walked out of university final exams in a show of solidarity with their banned female colleagues. According to credible reports, some Taliban foot soldiers have left their posts in protest. Some of this opposition reflects principles, some reflects pragmatism, and probably much of it is a mix. The Taliban hardliners are going to run the country into the ground, which is clear to most, including officials and even cabinet members of the Taliban.

So, what is the Taliban actually doing about the hijacking of the movement’s historic second chance? Not much and certainly not enough. There are internal discussions during Taliban meetings. Delegations have travelled to Kandahar to appeal to the Inner Circle, but have been rebuffed on the grounds of magical thinking. The country will starve without external aid? No — food comes from God, who will provide if everyone demonstrates sufficient piety. Women and infants die during childbirth without proper medical care? It is God’s will.

It’s not hard to see what this quality of leadership will bring about: renewed civil war. Already, gatherings of opposition groups are taking place in Vienna and Dushanbe, among other locales, hosted by Western and regional governments who are contemplating backing an uprising. This may be tempting, but it’s not a good scenario. There is no contender strong enough for a clear or speedy victory, and a return to violence is the last thing one would wish on the Afghan people. To avoid either the collapse of the country’s economy and its return to the role of pariah state, or a return to war and bloodshed, the Taliban must disempower the small clique of eccentric autocrats in Kandahar.

This, of course, will not be easy. While Islamic orthodoxy may agree that the rulings on women’s work and education are un- and even anti-Islamic, harming the community of Believers, Islam has no equivalent to excommunication and Sunni Islam in particular tends to emphasise obedience to the ruler, even if he is flawed. Further, during the decades of their struggle, the Taliban needed to remain unified and indivisible. To show division and disagreement publicly is a big step.

On the other hand, if the reasonable Taliban elements find some courage, they will find conditions to be favourable. Highly respected Islamic authorities inside the country, such as the renowned Professor Abdul Samad Qazizadah, or Maulawi Jalilullah Mawlawizadeh, the head of a madrassa in Herat, have publicly denounced the rulings as having no basis in Islam and as having the potential to destroy the country and ruin the good name of Islam before a world audience. Their words carry weight. And while it is short of excommunication, last week’s declaration by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation — which represents 57 member states — disavowing the Taliban rulings on female education and employment should give dissidents within the group the theological and political backing to openly oppose these policies. It would qualify them for significant intra-Islamic aid and support if they managed to take the rudder.

Outside Afghanistan, the international community had been cautiously inclined towards accepting the Taliban government. That’s out of the question now, as long as the Kandahar Krazies are in charge. But if they were to be removed, and the moderate wing prevailed, they could expect significant help and support. This last part isn’t a heavy lift. If they were then to rescind the female employment ban, open girls’ schools, readmit women to the universities, and take steps to a more inclusive government, it would change everything. Add to that, if the Kandahar Hardliners — several of whom are on global terrorism lists — were no longer part of the government, sanctions could be lifted and the country’s frozen assets released.

Many of these moderate Taliban members took on the United States and Nato. Will they have the guts to take on the small circle of hardliners who are upending the peace dividend and leading the country into ruin? With civil war on the horizon, they may not have much choice.


Cheryl Benard is an academic and an author.

 


Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

44 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago

Well that is the problem with leaders who make imposing ideology the central goal of their administration. They make rules that are impractical and harm ordinary people – and they just don’t care. It is a bit like the Netherlands declaring they are shutting down 11,000 farms to fight global warming – with Canada following suit. People in the third world will starve to death and their own populations will suffer food insecurity. But their leadership just doesn’t care.

Stephanie Sadie
Stephanie Sadie
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Stalin learned that controlling the food supply is a big weapon for controlling the people, so he waged war on farmers. Its not about ideology, its to do with control and depopulation, deliberately starving the people into submission. This what the WEF, the UN and the Depopulationists like Gates are about.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Even more extreme in Sri Lanka.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

The decisions in the Netherlands and Sri Lanka etc is in furtherance of religion. The belief that all will be well if only CO2 is reduced. In the meantime in China the production of coal is being ramped up while they sell high priced LPG to the west that happily bans nuclear power stations in the name of the green religion. Just as in Afghanistan many of the population are sufficiently in thrall to the religion to welcome the destruction of food production although Sri Lanka, more affected by the destruction of their agricultural capacity, have revolted, but then they have fewer if the priestly trained class from universities in their population.

Dennis Taylor
Dennis Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Biden armed the Taliban with the best military hardware in the world so now they will be a force to be reckoned with for the next 75yrs.

Stephanie Sadie
Stephanie Sadie
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Stalin learned that controlling the food supply is a big weapon for controlling the people, so he waged war on farmers. Its not about ideology, its to do with control and depopulation, deliberately starving the people into submission. This what the WEF, the UN and the Depopulationists like Gates are about.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Even more extreme in Sri Lanka.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

The decisions in the Netherlands and Sri Lanka etc is in furtherance of religion. The belief that all will be well if only CO2 is reduced. In the meantime in China the production of coal is being ramped up while they sell high priced LPG to the west that happily bans nuclear power stations in the name of the green religion. Just as in Afghanistan many of the population are sufficiently in thrall to the religion to welcome the destruction of food production although Sri Lanka, more affected by the destruction of their agricultural capacity, have revolted, but then they have fewer if the priestly trained class from universities in their population.

Dennis Taylor
Dennis Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Biden armed the Taliban with the best military hardware in the world so now they will be a force to be reckoned with for the next 75yrs.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago

Well that is the problem with leaders who make imposing ideology the central goal of their administration. They make rules that are impractical and harm ordinary people – and they just don’t care. It is a bit like the Netherlands declaring they are shutting down 11,000 farms to fight global warming – with Canada following suit. People in the third world will starve to death and their own populations will suffer food insecurity. But their leadership just doesn’t care.

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
1 year ago

“Kandahar Krazies” indeed, has there ever been a fanatic who is not willing to see the world burn rather than change their mind? All us well meaning western half-wits ever do is wring our hands and complain “but we thought you said you would
.”. Either destroy the fanatics completely, or just shut up and let them get on with it. That is the choice the western liberals are too cowardly to make.

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
1 year ago

“Kandahar Krazies” indeed, has there ever been a fanatic who is not willing to see the world burn rather than change their mind? All us well meaning western half-wits ever do is wring our hands and complain “but we thought you said you would
.”. Either destroy the fanatics completely, or just shut up and let them get on with it. That is the choice the western liberals are too cowardly to make.

Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
1 year ago

As far as I know, the taliban rule Afghanistan while Cheryl Bernard does not. They are not particularly concerned with the opinions of a western PC journalist, they ascended to power by rule of sword rather than rule of word..
Those who wanted a different Afghanistan had 20 years and trillions of cash to build it. In the end, the afghan people reverted to taliban rule wthout a fight. I suppose they prefer that to Western liberal worldview.
The author had every opportunity to join the US or Afghan army to make that contry a better (and less islamic) place. You failed, Let’s stop talking, advising, and whatever. Let’s seal this cursed land, cut all contact with it and maintain Western civilization instead.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

Whilst the Taliban may not be concerned with the views of the author, that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be allowed to write about them.
The points she makes in the essay are all valid, in that the rest of the world seemed happy to work with the Taliban if they just toned it down a bit, and seeing as Afghanistan is almost completely reliant on foreign aid you’d imagine most pragmatic leaders would do so. Unfortunately the ideologues would rather starve their people than compromise

B Stern
B Stern
1 year ago

Is that you Rand Paul?
Maybe when they fly a plane into Big Ben you’ll change your mind.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

Whilst the Taliban may not be concerned with the views of the author, that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be allowed to write about them.
The points she makes in the essay are all valid, in that the rest of the world seemed happy to work with the Taliban if they just toned it down a bit, and seeing as Afghanistan is almost completely reliant on foreign aid you’d imagine most pragmatic leaders would do so. Unfortunately the ideologues would rather starve their people than compromise

B Stern
B Stern
1 year ago

Is that you Rand Paul?
Maybe when they fly a plane into Big Ben you’ll change your mind.

Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
1 year ago

As far as I know, the taliban rule Afghanistan while Cheryl Bernard does not. They are not particularly concerned with the opinions of a western PC journalist, they ascended to power by rule of sword rather than rule of word..
Those who wanted a different Afghanistan had 20 years and trillions of cash to build it. In the end, the afghan people reverted to taliban rule wthout a fight. I suppose they prefer that to Western liberal worldview.
The author had every opportunity to join the US or Afghan army to make that contry a better (and less islamic) place. You failed, Let’s stop talking, advising, and whatever. Let’s seal this cursed land, cut all contact with it and maintain Western civilization instead.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago

“Afghanistan is a far distant country, of which we knew little.” So admitted the western politicians, as though such an admission absolved them of blame.
But the history was there to be read, and the lessons were there to be learned.
Not just the History, either. Geography would have been a pretty good guide. And even those who’d read their Kipling might have got a sense that all our military might and modernity would count for little when facing men who take such fierce pride in their reputation for resisting and repelling invaders. (Kipling’s ‘Arithmetic of the Frontier’ still holds true to this day)
So if we’re going to get into the blame-game we should probably start with the ignorance of those who believed they could occupy a land, famously known as “The graveyard of empires”, without learning a little bit about how it might have come by such a name.
I don’t claim to be any sort of expert on the region but became fascinated with the diplomatic and military misadventures through that part of the world from the Great Game onwards. (Reading Flashman as a 13 year old boy was the spark for me). Just by reading the thoughts of Alexander “Sekunder” Burnes and many others, certain things became apparent.
Throughout the Great Game and up to our most recent debacle, the same misapprehensions repeated themselves over and over. Those on the ground, in the areas in which our troops were fighting – as much in Burne’s time as in the present – quickly realise there’s very little sense of Afghans or Afghanistan.
Tribal loyalties and enmities have a far greater significance than any sense of an overarching Afghan nationality. Yet those devising strategy from afar seem oblivious to such concerns and so tried to install “Afghan leaders” who will never command respect among those who are fighting a holy war against outsiders whilst also carrying on age-old enmities between different ethnic groups within the country as well as generational grudges among different families and clans – that go almost from valley to valley.
Being Pashtun, Tajik or Hazara carries far deeper significance than any sense of being “Afghan”, – even among Pashtuns they see themselves more as Gilzais or Ghazis or a dozen other clans, – yet politicians and the media talk of ‘the Afghan people’ and imagined yet another installed puppet leader could somehow unite the country against, what only those in the West viewed as, a common foe in the shape of the Taliban – their co-religionists. Among the indigenous population the “common foe” is more likely to be the invader, rather than the warlord – who has practically been a ubiquitous fact of life there for centuries.
The closest any US leader got to expressing the truth of it was Gen McCrystal when he noted “No one has an idea of the complexity of what we are dealing with.”
So, if you can’t appeal to a sense of nationhood, or national destiny, then the only common denominator is religion. Dare I say it, but that is even less likely to bring about what the West hopes to see.
The very word “Islam” means submission. It brooks NO dissent. Islam, at its very core, requires an individual’s absolute submission to the will of God. The Taliban “scholars of Islam” require no less, and the more hardline and orthodox the postion taken by the Taliban high command, the less likely a moderate can gainsay it – and certainly the less likely an outsider in the form of Western govts can influence it.
What rational, temporal argument could one put forward that would be seen to countermand a spiritual, holy mission, if that is what the Taliban “scholar” believes his actions to be?
The region’s great misfortune has always been that it sits at a strategically important spot between competing powers. Russia and the West have tried and failed – though seemingly learning little from their experience there – China may well be next as it looks to expand its Belt and Road initiative. The pipeline of goods, services and trade that China wants to build must run through Afghanistan.
As time passes the West will undoubtedly identify and funnel money and arms to whatever tribal opposition to the Taliban might emerge. Meanwhile the same internecine struggles will continue – on a family, clan and tribal basis – until another “great” power decides to place its troops on the ground for long enough so that “the Afghans” will unite to draw them into another unwinnable “forever war” and then, once they’ve seen them off, revert to earlier and deeper-rooted enmities.
Yet how many Politicians will read the history? Very few. And even fewer will learn the lessons from it.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

The relevant decision-makers could simply have glanced at the first paragraph of the Encyclopaedia Britannica’s current general entry on Afghanistan:

“Afghanistan, landlocked multiethnic country located in the heart of south-central Asia. Lying along important trade routes connecting southern and eastern Asia to Europe and the Middle East, Afghanistan has long been a prize sought by empire builders, and for millennia great armies have attempted to subdue it, leaving traces of their efforts in great monuments now fallen to ruin. The country’s forbidding landscape of deserts and mountains has laid many imperial ambitions to rest, as has the tireless resistance of its fiercely independent peoples—so independent that the country has failed to coalesce into a nation but has instead long endured as a patchwork of contending ethnic factions and ever-shifting alliances.”

Last edited 1 year ago by Jonathan Nash
Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

There is a great book called “Jawbreaker” written by the head of the first CIA team into Afghanistan after 9/11. He was there 10 days after and helped to coordinate the US response. One incident he wrote about was how on one battlefield he simply bribed local commanders to kill the foreign jahadis, take some money from the CIA, and join the Northern Alliance. At 6 am the next morning he said he heard gunfire and then hundreds of Afghan fighters walked over to join them. People there are very tough, loyal only to their kin groups, and are very adept at politics.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

A military officer I know who served two tours in Afghanistan once told me that as a foreigner/outsider you can only ever rent an Afghan’s loyalty. It can never be secured permanently, and as soon as somebody with a better offer comes along, you will be abandoned.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

A military officer I know who served two tours in Afghanistan once told me that as a foreigner/outsider you can only ever rent an Afghan’s loyalty. It can never be secured permanently, and as soon as somebody with a better offer comes along, you will be abandoned.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

There is a great book called “Jawbreaker” written by the head of the first CIA team into Afghanistan after 9/11. He was there 10 days after and helped to coordinate the US response. One incident he wrote about was how on one battlefield he simply bribed local commanders to kill the foreign jahadis, take some money from the CIA, and join the Northern Alliance. At 6 am the next morning he said he heard gunfire and then hundreds of Afghan fighters walked over to join them. People there are very tough, loyal only to their kin groups, and are very adept at politics.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

The relevant decision-makers could simply have glanced at the first paragraph of the Encyclopaedia Britannica’s current general entry on Afghanistan:

“Afghanistan, landlocked multiethnic country located in the heart of south-central Asia. Lying along important trade routes connecting southern and eastern Asia to Europe and the Middle East, Afghanistan has long been a prize sought by empire builders, and for millennia great armies have attempted to subdue it, leaving traces of their efforts in great monuments now fallen to ruin. The country’s forbidding landscape of deserts and mountains has laid many imperial ambitions to rest, as has the tireless resistance of its fiercely independent peoples—so independent that the country has failed to coalesce into a nation but has instead long endured as a patchwork of contending ethnic factions and ever-shifting alliances.”

Last edited 1 year ago by Jonathan Nash
Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago

“Afghanistan is a far distant country, of which we knew little.” So admitted the western politicians, as though such an admission absolved them of blame.
But the history was there to be read, and the lessons were there to be learned.
Not just the History, either. Geography would have been a pretty good guide. And even those who’d read their Kipling might have got a sense that all our military might and modernity would count for little when facing men who take such fierce pride in their reputation for resisting and repelling invaders. (Kipling’s ‘Arithmetic of the Frontier’ still holds true to this day)
So if we’re going to get into the blame-game we should probably start with the ignorance of those who believed they could occupy a land, famously known as “The graveyard of empires”, without learning a little bit about how it might have come by such a name.
I don’t claim to be any sort of expert on the region but became fascinated with the diplomatic and military misadventures through that part of the world from the Great Game onwards. (Reading Flashman as a 13 year old boy was the spark for me). Just by reading the thoughts of Alexander “Sekunder” Burnes and many others, certain things became apparent.
Throughout the Great Game and up to our most recent debacle, the same misapprehensions repeated themselves over and over. Those on the ground, in the areas in which our troops were fighting – as much in Burne’s time as in the present – quickly realise there’s very little sense of Afghans or Afghanistan.
Tribal loyalties and enmities have a far greater significance than any sense of an overarching Afghan nationality. Yet those devising strategy from afar seem oblivious to such concerns and so tried to install “Afghan leaders” who will never command respect among those who are fighting a holy war against outsiders whilst also carrying on age-old enmities between different ethnic groups within the country as well as generational grudges among different families and clans – that go almost from valley to valley.
Being Pashtun, Tajik or Hazara carries far deeper significance than any sense of being “Afghan”, – even among Pashtuns they see themselves more as Gilzais or Ghazis or a dozen other clans, – yet politicians and the media talk of ‘the Afghan people’ and imagined yet another installed puppet leader could somehow unite the country against, what only those in the West viewed as, a common foe in the shape of the Taliban – their co-religionists. Among the indigenous population the “common foe” is more likely to be the invader, rather than the warlord – who has practically been a ubiquitous fact of life there for centuries.
The closest any US leader got to expressing the truth of it was Gen McCrystal when he noted “No one has an idea of the complexity of what we are dealing with.”
So, if you can’t appeal to a sense of nationhood, or national destiny, then the only common denominator is religion. Dare I say it, but that is even less likely to bring about what the West hopes to see.
The very word “Islam” means submission. It brooks NO dissent. Islam, at its very core, requires an individual’s absolute submission to the will of God. The Taliban “scholars of Islam” require no less, and the more hardline and orthodox the postion taken by the Taliban high command, the less likely a moderate can gainsay it – and certainly the less likely an outsider in the form of Western govts can influence it.
What rational, temporal argument could one put forward that would be seen to countermand a spiritual, holy mission, if that is what the Taliban “scholar” believes his actions to be?
The region’s great misfortune has always been that it sits at a strategically important spot between competing powers. Russia and the West have tried and failed – though seemingly learning little from their experience there – China may well be next as it looks to expand its Belt and Road initiative. The pipeline of goods, services and trade that China wants to build must run through Afghanistan.
As time passes the West will undoubtedly identify and funnel money and arms to whatever tribal opposition to the Taliban might emerge. Meanwhile the same internecine struggles will continue – on a family, clan and tribal basis – until another “great” power decides to place its troops on the ground for long enough so that “the Afghans” will unite to draw them into another unwinnable “forever war” and then, once they’ve seen them off, revert to earlier and deeper-rooted enmities.
Yet how many Politicians will read the history? Very few. And even fewer will learn the lessons from it.

Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
1 year ago

Afghan men have made their choice: anarchy, repression and despair. There is nothing more we can do. Foreign aid will merely fuel their cruelty.

Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
1 year ago

Afghan men have made their choice: anarchy, repression and despair. There is nothing more we can do. Foreign aid will merely fuel their cruelty.

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
1 year ago

The Taliban must purge itself. Its moderate wing can still save Afghanistan.
No, it won’t.
20 years, billions of dollars and thousands of lives. And now back to medieval times, with several billion dollars of military hardware to visit their tyranny on the poor bastards that remain.
Leftard “i think this is how it should be so why isn’t it, i know i’ll write a stern article signalling my continued virtue” reasoning is what plunged Afghanistan in to the nightmare of the last 20 years.

L Walker
L Walker
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

100% true.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

“Moderate Taliban” is an utter oxymoron.

L Walker
L Walker
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

100% true.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

“Moderate Taliban” is an utter oxymoron.

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
1 year ago

The Taliban must purge itself. Its moderate wing can still save Afghanistan.
No, it won’t.
20 years, billions of dollars and thousands of lives. And now back to medieval times, with several billion dollars of military hardware to visit their tyranny on the poor bastards that remain.
Leftard “i think this is how it should be so why isn’t it, i know i’ll write a stern article signalling my continued virtue” reasoning is what plunged Afghanistan in to the nightmare of the last 20 years.

khalid yousafzai
khalid yousafzai
1 year ago

Cheryl is wife of Khalilzad, the chief architect and negotiator of the worst deal in the history of diplomacy i.e. The Doha deal with Taliban.
No matter how much one accounts for the corruption and problems in Afghan government, there is none denying that Doha deal, was one of the main factors of why Taliban won. It was Cheryl’s husband, of course with her full support and endorsement, that surrendered Afghanistan to the Taliban. The collapse didn’t happen in August 2021 out of the blue, it began in February, when Afghan government was sidelined by Khalilzad and Trump’s government and Taliban were given anything and everything they wanted. By the way Biden validated those terms of surrender we know today as Doha deal.
Of course Cheryl would love to blame it on anyone but her husband who came on Afghan national TV and announced that Taliban are peace loving and patriotic people. With Khalilzads advisory role Afghan govt was threatened by M. Pompeo with budget cuts unless they get along with the Taliban, and what Taliban wanted? A full surrender. So while Cheryl comes here and creates this delusional narrative of good Taliban vs. bad Taliban, or moderate vs. hardliners out of thin air, all she wants to do do is to whitewash the Taliban so she and her husband don’t look that bad. Dear Cheryl, some evils can’t be washed and some decisions irreversible. I hope both of you pay for what you did to Afghanistan and its people.

Last edited 1 year ago by khalid yousafzai
John Williams
John Williams
1 year ago

Moderate Taliban. Smaller rocks?

khalid yousafzai
khalid yousafzai
1 year ago
Reply to  John Williams

@John, if anyone could find one, I’d like to see it. 😀

khalid yousafzai
khalid yousafzai
1 year ago
Reply to  John Williams

@John, if anyone could find one, I’d like to see it. 😀

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
1 year ago

Thank you for that very important piece of information. In other words, the woman has an agenda; I thought as much when I read the headline about “moderate Taliban” which seems as oxymoronic as “friendly serial killer”.
As far as Afghanistan is concerned, the Afghan people need to take charge of their own destiny. Only they can bring about the changes needed to stabilise the country. Without support, or at least an almost total lack of resistance, from the local population, the Taliban 2.0 could not have taken control again.

John Williams
John Williams
1 year ago

Moderate Taliban. Smaller rocks?

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
1 year ago

Thank you for that very important piece of information. In other words, the woman has an agenda; I thought as much when I read the headline about “moderate Taliban” which seems as oxymoronic as “friendly serial killer”.
As far as Afghanistan is concerned, the Afghan people need to take charge of their own destiny. Only they can bring about the changes needed to stabilise the country. Without support, or at least an almost total lack of resistance, from the local population, the Taliban 2.0 could not have taken control again.

khalid yousafzai
khalid yousafzai
1 year ago

Cheryl is wife of Khalilzad, the chief architect and negotiator of the worst deal in the history of diplomacy i.e. The Doha deal with Taliban.
No matter how much one accounts for the corruption and problems in Afghan government, there is none denying that Doha deal, was one of the main factors of why Taliban won. It was Cheryl’s husband, of course with her full support and endorsement, that surrendered Afghanistan to the Taliban. The collapse didn’t happen in August 2021 out of the blue, it began in February, when Afghan government was sidelined by Khalilzad and Trump’s government and Taliban were given anything and everything they wanted. By the way Biden validated those terms of surrender we know today as Doha deal.
Of course Cheryl would love to blame it on anyone but her husband who came on Afghan national TV and announced that Taliban are peace loving and patriotic people. With Khalilzads advisory role Afghan govt was threatened by M. Pompeo with budget cuts unless they get along with the Taliban, and what Taliban wanted? A full surrender. So while Cheryl comes here and creates this delusional narrative of good Taliban vs. bad Taliban, or moderate vs. hardliners out of thin air, all she wants to do do is to whitewash the Taliban so she and her husband don’t look that bad. Dear Cheryl, some evils can’t be washed and some decisions irreversible. I hope both of you pay for what you did to Afghanistan and its people.

Last edited 1 year ago by khalid yousafzai
Afghan Patriot
Afghan Patriot
1 year ago

The problem is very simple. It is in Pakistan’s economic interest to force Taliban to take such drastic measures. The thinking is simple: if civil war starts, or Afghanistan becomes a hub for future terrorism, Pakistan will be the most viable means for any Western power to access Afghanistan, and that will give Pakistan a new lifeline, similar to the one they have been living off since 1979, i.e. Afghan blood. Similarly, the ban on women in NGOs will tempt them to move to Pakistan and spend their dollars there, potentially giving Pakistan more control. Taliban’s inner circle is not in Kandahar but in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. If the moderates in Kabul want to rule, they would need a firm political, economic, and strategic support from the West to out-power the strategists in Rawalpindi, who see the flow of Afghan blood and their misery as Pakistan’s only means of survival. For an interested reader please look at the correlation of Pakistan’s economic growth and blood spill in Afghanistan. Every year Afghanistan loses more blood, Pakistan earns more. Furthermore, just correlate the statements of Pakistan’s PM, FM and other officials, who are superficially trying to warn the world of a terrorist attack from Afghanistan and then creating well crafted border clashes with Afghanistan. It is all a big game, a continuation of the duplicity where Pakistan took over 96 Billion USD from the US in the past 21 years, in addition to the indirect profit from its country being used as the supply route. US presence in Afghanistan was a source of great employment and income for tens of thousands of Pakistanis in the transportation industry, Pakistani factories selling their goods in Afghanistan, or Pakistani workforce being employed there. Now they are realising that it is all gone and they need to create some issues to potentially restart the western interest in Afghanistan thus exploring the abuse of Afghan women, as women rights are a catchy and sensitive topic. Afghans have suffered since 1973, they are tired of wars imposed on them over and over.

International media, think-tanks, and so called experts have also been cashing off the Afghan misery for 50 years and should morally be obliged to spend a percentage of their income in educating Afghan girls. It is not the 1990s, education programs can be run online, with major success. So, why wouldn’t Mrs Cheryl Benard, her husband Mr Khalilzad, and other intellectuals, media people, and kind hearted beings start an initiative in this regard. People like me will also join the cause.

Last edited 1 year ago by Afghan Patriot
Afghan Patriot
Afghan Patriot
1 year ago

The problem is very simple. It is in Pakistan’s economic interest to force Taliban to take such drastic measures. The thinking is simple: if civil war starts, or Afghanistan becomes a hub for future terrorism, Pakistan will be the most viable means for any Western power to access Afghanistan, and that will give Pakistan a new lifeline, similar to the one they have been living off since 1979, i.e. Afghan blood. Similarly, the ban on women in NGOs will tempt them to move to Pakistan and spend their dollars there, potentially giving Pakistan more control. Taliban’s inner circle is not in Kandahar but in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. If the moderates in Kabul want to rule, they would need a firm political, economic, and strategic support from the West to out-power the strategists in Rawalpindi, who see the flow of Afghan blood and their misery as Pakistan’s only means of survival. For an interested reader please look at the correlation of Pakistan’s economic growth and blood spill in Afghanistan. Every year Afghanistan loses more blood, Pakistan earns more. Furthermore, just correlate the statements of Pakistan’s PM, FM and other officials, who are superficially trying to warn the world of a terrorist attack from Afghanistan and then creating well crafted border clashes with Afghanistan. It is all a big game, a continuation of the duplicity where Pakistan took over 96 Billion USD from the US in the past 21 years, in addition to the indirect profit from its country being used as the supply route. US presence in Afghanistan was a source of great employment and income for tens of thousands of Pakistanis in the transportation industry, Pakistani factories selling their goods in Afghanistan, or Pakistani workforce being employed there. Now they are realising that it is all gone and they need to create some issues to potentially restart the western interest in Afghanistan thus exploring the abuse of Afghan women, as women rights are a catchy and sensitive topic. Afghans have suffered since 1973, they are tired of wars imposed on them over and over.

International media, think-tanks, and so called experts have also been cashing off the Afghan misery for 50 years and should morally be obliged to spend a percentage of their income in educating Afghan girls. It is not the 1990s, education programs can be run online, with major success. So, why wouldn’t Mrs Cheryl Benard, her husband Mr Khalilzad, and other intellectuals, media people, and kind hearted beings start an initiative in this regard. People like me will also join the cause.

Last edited 1 year ago by Afghan Patriot
Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

I’m sure the Kandahar Krazies, having read this, are seriously concerned about their future.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

I’m sure the Kandahar Krazies, having read this, are seriously concerned about their future.

Johan Grönwall
Johan Grönwall
1 year ago

99% of afghans want sharia law according to PEW. Herein lies the problem: if you use religious ideology to build your society it will never rise to the level of ”modern” but will remain medieval at its core, no matter how much money is spent on putting lipstick on the pig and calling it modern.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
1 year ago

That’s indeed the crux of the matter. Sharia and a modern society are incompatible. For Afghanistan to change, Afghans need to change, and that change must come from within. Every outside effort will be another exercise in futility.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
1 year ago

That’s indeed the crux of the matter. Sharia and a modern society are incompatible. For Afghanistan to change, Afghans need to change, and that change must come from within. Every outside effort will be another exercise in futility.

Johan Grönwall
Johan Grönwall
1 year ago

99% of afghans want sharia law according to PEW. Herein lies the problem: if you use religious ideology to build your society it will never rise to the level of ”modern” but will remain medieval at its core, no matter how much money is spent on putting lipstick on the pig and calling it modern.

Peter Lucey
Peter Lucey
1 year ago

I’m not sure that calling the Taliban “Kandahar Krazies” is helpful, especially from a safe Western country. You could argue they are simply running Afghanistan according to strict Islamic teaching. Women are inferior under Islam, Koran 4:34 clearly states that Allah has made men superior to women (and prescribes wife-beating). For devout Muslims, that is the word of God, dictated to Muhammed via the Angel Gabriel. The Taliban are an extreme Sunni sect, sure, but they are not mad.
(Perhaps the Taliban need to discover oil in Afghanistan. After all, sexual apartheid is fine in Saudi Arabia, and the treatment of women scarcely much worse in Iran than Afghanistan – and both Saudi and Iran are tolerated.)

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Lucey
Peter Lucey
Peter Lucey
1 year ago

I’m not sure that calling the Taliban “Kandahar Krazies” is helpful, especially from a safe Western country. You could argue they are simply running Afghanistan according to strict Islamic teaching. Women are inferior under Islam, Koran 4:34 clearly states that Allah has made men superior to women (and prescribes wife-beating). For devout Muslims, that is the word of God, dictated to Muhammed via the Angel Gabriel. The Taliban are an extreme Sunni sect, sure, but they are not mad.
(Perhaps the Taliban need to discover oil in Afghanistan. After all, sexual apartheid is fine in Saudi Arabia, and the treatment of women scarcely much worse in Iran than Afghanistan – and both Saudi and Iran are tolerated.)

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Lucey
Mike Michaels
Mike Michaels
1 year ago

“The good name of Islam”. I’m
Presuming this is satire?

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Michaels

Somebody posted this woman’s personal biography. She is married to Zalmay Khalilzad who helped broker the U.S.-Taliban deal.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Michaels

Somebody posted this woman’s personal biography. She is married to Zalmay Khalilzad who helped broker the U.S.-Taliban deal.

Mike Michaels
Mike Michaels
1 year ago

“The good name of Islam”. I’m
Presuming this is satire?

Stephen Magee
Stephen Magee
1 year ago

“Both moves are, obviously, unacceptable on grounds of innate values and human rights.”
Obvious to whom?

I think that what you’re trying to say is that both moves are unacceptable to Western liberals, who constantly delude themselves into believing that their group values have some inherently objective basis (not unlike the Taliban themselves, come to think of it).

Like most of the world, the Taliban don’t care about Kant or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Last edited 1 year ago by Stephen Magee
Stephen Magee
Stephen Magee
1 year ago

“Both moves are, obviously, unacceptable on grounds of innate values and human rights.”
Obvious to whom?

I think that what you’re trying to say is that both moves are unacceptable to Western liberals, who constantly delude themselves into believing that their group values have some inherently objective basis (not unlike the Taliban themselves, come to think of it).

Like most of the world, the Taliban don’t care about Kant or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Last edited 1 year ago by Stephen Magee
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Afghanistan seems to be going down the same road as Cambodia under Pol Pot in the seventies. It doesn’t look like there is much we can do about it.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Afghanistan seems to be going down the same road as Cambodia under Pol Pot in the seventies. It doesn’t look like there is much we can do about it.

Paul Hemphill
Paul Hemphill
1 year ago

Many if the commentators are as tribal as the afghans themselves in their positions, prejudices, perceptions and assumptions. Left v right, woke v unwoke, etc. fact is, the regime is a nasty piece of work and actually unislamic. The writer is quite right in many of her comments, but the most interesting fact is that her hubby Zalmay Khalizad contributed quite a bit to the present day mess. He even signed the disingenuous Doha agreement.

Paul Hemphill
Paul Hemphill
1 year ago

Many if the commentators are as tribal as the afghans themselves in their positions, prejudices, perceptions and assumptions. Left v right, woke v unwoke, etc. fact is, the regime is a nasty piece of work and actually unislamic. The writer is quite right in many of her comments, but the most interesting fact is that her hubby Zalmay Khalizad contributed quite a bit to the present day mess. He even signed the disingenuous Doha agreement.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

just nuke the place and be done with it…

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

just nuke the place and be done with it…

Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago

What about a quorum of Heads of State from Moslem countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar (who have become less radical) visiting Kabul to talk things through with the Taliban.
Accusing and threatening retaliation by Western politicians – whose culture and religion is different – only antagonises.
We should not preach because although it would seem morally right to us and of benefit to the economy that women should have the choice of working outside the home, there could be a downside seen in the large increase in teenage mental disturbance and suicide,

Last edited 1 year ago by Iris C
Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago

What about a quorum of Heads of State from Moslem countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar (who have become less radical) visiting Kabul to talk things through with the Taliban.
Accusing and threatening retaliation by Western politicians – whose culture and religion is different – only antagonises.
We should not preach because although it would seem morally right to us and of benefit to the economy that women should have the choice of working outside the home, there could be a downside seen in the large increase in teenage mental disturbance and suicide,

Last edited 1 year ago by Iris C
Ian Schmeisser
Ian Schmeisser
1 year ago

All we (the USA and UK) had to do was to persist for another 5-8 years, instead of bugging out and leaving the Afghanis hostage to brutal thugs. The Taliban are criminals preying on the weak, not religious purists striving for piety. If the Afghan people had been able to get through two generations of their people without fear of criminal repression by the Talib, instead of 1.5, their chances of success in avoiding “religious” totalitarianism would have been much higher.
It made me sick to see us abandon these people and our investment of trillions of dollars. What makes me sicker is that somehow our citizens are not holding our government responsible.

Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Schmeisser

Utter twaddle – despie 20 years of investment the Afghan Army ran away as fast as they could. Sadly, the Taliban won because they had the will to win.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Doyle

They had the will to win, and those who were supposed to resist did not. As I wrote above, there was an almost total lack of opposition amongst Afghan Forces and others who were supposed to prevent a second Taliban takeover. Afghans must deal with this themselves.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Doyle

They had the will to win, and those who were supposed to resist did not. As I wrote above, there was an almost total lack of opposition amongst Afghan Forces and others who were supposed to prevent a second Taliban takeover. Afghans must deal with this themselves.

Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Schmeisser

Utter twaddle – despie 20 years of investment the Afghan Army ran away as fast as they could. Sadly, the Taliban won because they had the will to win.

Ian Schmeisser
Ian Schmeisser
1 year ago

All we (the USA and UK) had to do was to persist for another 5-8 years, instead of bugging out and leaving the Afghanis hostage to brutal thugs. The Taliban are criminals preying on the weak, not religious purists striving for piety. If the Afghan people had been able to get through two generations of their people without fear of criminal repression by the Talib, instead of 1.5, their chances of success in avoiding “religious” totalitarianism would have been much higher.
It made me sick to see us abandon these people and our investment of trillions of dollars. What makes me sicker is that somehow our citizens are not holding our government responsible.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
1 year ago

How about “Afghanistan. Best to be a man”?

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
1 year ago

How about “Afghanistan. Best to be a man”?

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 year ago

So who is this women? Get Christina Lamb, this one sounds just like the feminist products of the Liberal-postmodernist universities who poured in after the American army had pacified Afghanistan, and set the nation back 1000 years by their trying to force their atheist 2000’s Woke Liberal-Lefty third wave feminism on the locals – loaded with $ Billions of funding and all kinds of NGO Soft Power – and 100% ignorance of any culture which was not Middle Class White University Liberal arts/psychology/social worker/woman’s Studies, Junk Lefty Degree seekers.

These fools were turned on the country and tried to make it like the Western University Campus Class they thought was normal. Instead they broke it. The Generals were also wrong too, they could not get it either – but I do not think I can listen to her – could not read it..

Look at this line… ‘‘as long as the Kandahar Krazies are in charge.” OMG, is this journalism? She asks ”Will they (good Talib) have the guts to take on the small circle of hardliners”? Really? Guts? I think we know the Pashtun Talib are not gutless – Well they just get into a failure trying to clean up the Mess USA left in Afghanistan and die for no reason? Maybe not. ”On the other hand, if the reasonable Taliban elements find some courage, they” haha – OK then…. show us what that looks like…

Maybe if We had not gone in and totally F** ked it up by everything we did – maybe it would not be like it is. Maybe if we had Not spent the $ Trillion just on waste and corruption it would be the magical land it was before her ilk and the USA got in there and messed it all up!

Unherd, Why can’t you get One writer to talk of Afghanistan from their view? Why always these sort? ”rebuffed on the grounds of magical thinking. The country will starve without external aid? No — food comes from God, who will provide if everyone demonstrates sufficient piety. Women and infants die during childbirth without proper medical care? It is God’s will.” She has NO Clue. None. Inshalla, one day someone who gets the real story will try to explain things here. I mean she belittles their religion – yes, the Deobandi Talb are Fatalists – it is a tenet of their faith – and to call it ‘Magical Thinking”? OMG… she has no idea that not everyone has her reality – that their reality is also valid if it is very unlike hers – she just does not get it.

This was the sort of person who should have been in charge – Nancy Dupree and her husband Louis – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Dupree. There were people who could have really helped out – but like Iraq, and Iran too really, we lost the peace. Now adventuring in Ukraine I know we will destroy it too….

”Arnett used it in the opening of the story he wrote: “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it,”a U.S. major said Wednesday. He was talking about the grim decision that allied commanders made when Viet Cong attackers overran most of this Mekong Delta city 45 miles southwest of Saigon.”

We are not good at this… not only do we eventually lose the war after $Trillions spent, we then lose the Peace wile spending $Trillions More!

Here are some old pictures (and the American girl should not have had short sleeves – OK to wear Western dress, but that is a bit rude) It was Magical back then

https://www.architecturendesign.net/afghanistan-1960-bill-podlich-photography/

……The most amazing place in the world before…. – maybe you had to be there, but it was something else…

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Jesus Christ, how many cliches can you squeeze into a comment? Essentially the writer is a bit too left wing for you so you dismiss everything she’s written?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

I think you’re a little harsh on the writer here and wave away the real brutality of the Taliban, but you’re spot on about American involvement. They screw it all up –
all the time. I think they even had a LGBTQ flag at the American embassy. In what world does someone think this is reasonable?

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I’m a “G” in the lgbt++++++++ (I do have a personal name in real life, but we seem to have abolished the individual, hey ho), and even I think that flag is mental. But if it takes 1000 dead foreigners to make an rich over-indulged western teenager feel better, that is the world our “betters” have decided they want. Tread carefully now, or our voting privileges will be rescinded


Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Leejon 0

I actually don’t have an issue with the flag, but they should think for maybe two minutes where they’re placing the flag. Kabul is not San Francisco and you’re not winning hearts and minds in Afghanistan by importing all western values.

It’s interesting, when the US went into Korea, they respected their beliefs and focussed on incremental change. It didn’t become a democracy until the late ‘80s.

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

In this we can agree.

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

In this we can agree.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Leejon 0

I actually don’t have an issue with the flag, but they should think for maybe two minutes where they’re placing the flag. Kabul is not San Francisco and you’re not winning hearts and minds in Afghanistan by importing all western values.

It’s interesting, when the US went into Korea, they respected their beliefs and focussed on incremental change. It didn’t become a democracy until the late ‘80s.

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I’m a “G” in the lgbt++++++++ (I do have a personal name in real life, but we seem to have abolished the individual, hey ho), and even I think that flag is mental. But if it takes 1000 dead foreigners to make an rich over-indulged western teenager feel better, that is the world our “betters” have decided they want. Tread carefully now, or our voting privileges will be rescinded


B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

I actually found Mr Mozes review quite entertaining. This woman. Magical thinking got me too. Also, the part – if they have an inclusive government, open girls schools etc etc they could release the funds America has frozen? You’ve got to be f***** joking. America lost, it was literally ran out of the country. It doesn’t get to call the shots. I expect the taliban think they can sod off with any of their suggestions and they’ll get by without the trillions, they didn’t need it to run the us army out did they? I bet they know how to work on a budget. And the part that internationally we have been ‘cautiously inclined to accept’ the new taliban government. LMAO. Didnt have much choice did we? What are America gunna do? Please Mr taliban we know you kicked our arse but will you hold a western style democratic election? Too much. This deservered ripping.

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

Jesus Christ, how many cliches can you squeeze into a comment? Essentially the writer is a bit too left wing for you so you dismiss everything she’s written?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

I think you’re a little harsh on the writer here and wave away the real brutality of the Taliban, but you’re spot on about American involvement. They screw it all up –
all the time. I think they even had a LGBTQ flag at the American embassy. In what world does someone think this is reasonable?

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

I actually found Mr Mozes review quite entertaining. This woman. Magical thinking got me too. Also, the part – if they have an inclusive government, open girls schools etc etc they could release the funds America has frozen? You’ve got to be f***** joking. America lost, it was literally ran out of the country. It doesn’t get to call the shots. I expect the taliban think they can sod off with any of their suggestions and they’ll get by without the trillions, they didn’t need it to run the us army out did they? I bet they know how to work on a budget. And the part that internationally we have been ‘cautiously inclined to accept’ the new taliban government. LMAO. Didnt have much choice did we? What are America gunna do? Please Mr taliban we know you kicked our arse but will you hold a western style democratic election? Too much. This deservered ripping.

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 year ago

So who is this women? Get Christina Lamb, this one sounds just like the feminist products of the Liberal-postmodernist universities who poured in after the American army had pacified Afghanistan, and set the nation back 1000 years by their trying to force their atheist 2000’s Woke Liberal-Lefty third wave feminism on the locals – loaded with $ Billions of funding and all kinds of NGO Soft Power – and 100% ignorance of any culture which was not Middle Class White University Liberal arts/psychology/social worker/woman’s Studies, Junk Lefty Degree seekers.

These fools were turned on the country and tried to make it like the Western University Campus Class they thought was normal. Instead they broke it. The Generals were also wrong too, they could not get it either – but I do not think I can listen to her – could not read it..

Look at this line… ‘‘as long as the Kandahar Krazies are in charge.” OMG, is this journalism? She asks ”Will they (good Talib) have the guts to take on the small circle of hardliners”? Really? Guts? I think we know the Pashtun Talib are not gutless – Well they just get into a failure trying to clean up the Mess USA left in Afghanistan and die for no reason? Maybe not. ”On the other hand, if the reasonable Taliban elements find some courage, they” haha – OK then…. show us what that looks like…

Maybe if We had not gone in and totally F** ked it up by everything we did – maybe it would not be like it is. Maybe if we had Not spent the $ Trillion just on waste and corruption it would be the magical land it was before her ilk and the USA got in there and messed it all up!

Unherd, Why can’t you get One writer to talk of Afghanistan from their view? Why always these sort? ”rebuffed on the grounds of magical thinking. The country will starve without external aid? No — food comes from God, who will provide if everyone demonstrates sufficient piety. Women and infants die during childbirth without proper medical care? It is God’s will.” She has NO Clue. None. Inshalla, one day someone who gets the real story will try to explain things here. I mean she belittles their religion – yes, the Deobandi Talb are Fatalists – it is a tenet of their faith – and to call it ‘Magical Thinking”? OMG… she has no idea that not everyone has her reality – that their reality is also valid if it is very unlike hers – she just does not get it.

This was the sort of person who should have been in charge – Nancy Dupree and her husband Louis – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Dupree. There were people who could have really helped out – but like Iraq, and Iran too really, we lost the peace. Now adventuring in Ukraine I know we will destroy it too….

”Arnett used it in the opening of the story he wrote: “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it,”a U.S. major said Wednesday. He was talking about the grim decision that allied commanders made when Viet Cong attackers overran most of this Mekong Delta city 45 miles southwest of Saigon.”

We are not good at this… not only do we eventually lose the war after $Trillions spent, we then lose the Peace wile spending $Trillions More!

Here are some old pictures (and the American girl should not have had short sleeves – OK to wear Western dress, but that is a bit rude) It was Magical back then

https://www.architecturendesign.net/afghanistan-1960-bill-podlich-photography/

……The most amazing place in the world before…. – maybe you had to be there, but it was something else…