World Opinion: A kinder, gentler Taliban?
Latest on Afghanistan: Biden says US 'on a pace' for Aug. 31 pullout; Taliban block Afghans from airport
Biden added the deadline depends on Taliban cooperation, and added that he has asked the Depts. of State and Defense to prepare contingency plans.His remarks from the White House came the same day the Taliban said it would stop Afghans from trying to go to the Kabul airport and told women to stay home to stay for a time to stay safe, fueling worries about how the Taliban will treat women.
The fall of Kabul to the Taliban is being compared, ad nauseam, to the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese in 1975. Both retreats certainly share some common features -- the botched, chaotic evacuation, the abandonment of many US allies on the ground, and the humiliation of the American superpower. But a closer analogue to what is likely to happen in Afghanistan during the coming weeks is to look at what the Taliban did thein Kabul in September 1996.
Then, the Taliban imposed theiron the population. While this was not the "caliphate" that was declared by ISIS in Iraq almost two decades later, it was similar enough, not least because the leader of the Taliban, anointed himself " ," which immodestly claimed not only the leadership of the Taliban, but of all Muslims everywhere.
Al Qaeda, ISIS-K, and a trio of has-beens: The players in Taliban-led Afghanistan
Just over a week ago, the U.S.-backed Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was overthrown as the Taliban swept through Afghanistan and seized the capital with the aim of establishing the so-called “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan."As thousands of Americans and Afghan allies remain behind Taliban lines in Afghanistan as the U.S. evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport continues, multiple players in the country, including Taliban allies such as the Haqqani Network and al Qaeda, have strengthened their hand while anti-Taliban warlords have fled the country and anti-Taliban resistance fighters engage in a desperate fight with the country's new rulers.
The Talibanon much of the country. Women had to wear the burqa and stay at home unless accompanied by a male relative.
. There was ; only Radio Shariat that blared Taliban propaganda.
In an unsettling echo of how the Nazis treated the Jews, the Taliban.
Theseof the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.
I witnessed black-turbaned vigilantes roaming Kabul's streets like wraiths dispensing their ferocious brand of "Islamic" justice. Curfew started at 9 p.m., and by 8 p.m. the streets were deserted except for the young Taliban soldiers who stood at every traffic circle, carefully checking passing vehicles. Some of the Talibs wore kohl, a black eyeliner, which was particularly noteworthy since.
Fact check: Biden didn't 'gift' weapons to Taliban, hasn't proposed banning pistols
A widespread narrative on social media misleads on the value of military equipment left behind in Afghanistan."The current regime that just gifted the Taliban with $80+ billion worth of military grade weapons wants your 9mm pistols," reads an Aug. 17 text post on Facebook. "THINK ABOUT IT.
In Kabul, one of the few diversions available were the well-attended. The victims, including women, were stoned to death or shot in the head.
Vahid Mojdeh, a former Taliban official,that, "the Taliban were ruthless torturers, their most commonly used technique was beating people with electric cables."
In interviews I conducted with Taliban leaders before 9/11, they defended keeping women at home and shrouded in the burqa by saying these were simply the cultural norms of Afghan culture. But what the Taliban didn't acknowledge was that, which made up pretty much the entire leadership of their movement.
For the other ethnic groups in Afghanistan, such as Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks, and the inhabitants of the larger cities, particularly Kabul, Taliban policies were imports from another culture.
The Taliban have declared victory. Now they must reckon with a country freefalling into chaos
The last American military flight left the airport and disappeared into the Kabul sky on Monday -- and minutes later, the Taliban flooded the streets around the city's last exit point, filling the night with celebratory gunfire. © Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/Shutterstock Taliban militants spilled onto the streets outside Kabul airport after the final Western military flight left on Monday. It was a decisive and humbling final chapter to the United States' longest war, a two-decade effort that unraveled spectacularly in the space of a few weeks.
Video: Can anything stop the Taliban? (CNN)
The Taliban called it the rule of sharia, Islamic law. In their view, once sharia ruled, Afghans would become virtuous and thus the perfect society would be created. But the Taliban had no real policy to govern. They presided overfollowing two decades of war. A doctor I spoke to in Kabul in 1999 said he earned only six dollars a month.
When they were in power before 9/11, the Taliban were pariahs on the world stage. Onlyof religious warriors, because of their treatment of women, dismal human rights record and their provision of safe haven to al Qaeda.
When Osama bin Laden was forced out of his refuge in Sudan in 1996, he flew to what he hoped to be a new haven, Afghanistan. Once he was in Afghanistan,, "We serve the ground upon which you walk." Another senior Taliban minister told al Qaeda's leader, "God will never be ashamed of you because you are the champion of the oppressed and you have waged holy war alongside the downtrodden."
The Taliban want the world to think they've changed. Early signs suggest otherwise
The Taliban's stunningly swift takeover of Afghanistan has caused dread across much of the nation, as Afghans anxiously readjust to life under a militant group that repressed millions when last in power. © Rahmat Gul/AP Taliban fighters patrol in Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. The Taliban declared an "amnesty" across Afghanistan and urged women to join their government Tuesday, seeking to convince a wary population that they have changed a day after deadly chaos gripped the main airport as desperate crowds tried to flee the country.
But even the Taliban's harshest critics before 9/11 could not deny their one achievement: They restored order to much of the country. During the early 1990s, Afghanistan had become a patchwork of fiefdoms held by competing warlords enmeshing Afghans in a brutal civil war. The Taliban defeated most of those warlords and brought law and order at the cost of also imposing a draconian theocracy.
A "new" Taliban?
The Taliban are claiming today that they have changed during the past two decades; that they are a kinder, gentler Taliban.
On Tuesday Taliban officials gave their. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid asserted, "The Islamic Emirate is committed to the rights of women within the framework of Sharia."
"Within the framework of sharia" is the important modifier in this assertion, since the Taliban's understanding of sharia means that women cannot work outside their homes, except perhaps in some very limited roles, such as working as doctors who treat only female patients.
Also, Taliban officials havethat they favor education for females, yet in areas of Afghanistan that they have seized control of within the past couple of years, this .
Who are the Taliban: The history — and present — of the group taking over Afghanistan
"When it comes to experience, maturity, vision, there is a huge difference between us in comparison to 20 years ago," a Taliban spokesman said.“Our nation is a Muslim nation, whether 20 years ago or now," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in his first news conference after the militants took control of the country on Tuesday, according to a translation by Al Jazeera. "But when it comes to experience, maturity, vision, there is a huge difference between us in comparison to 20 years ago.
At Tuesday's press conference, the Taliban spokesman declared a general "amnesty" for enemies of the Taliban. The crowds of thousands of Afghans that are besieging the Kabul airport to flee their country suggest that there is a high degree of skepticism about these claims of amnesty. Indeed, in May.
On Tuesday a photographer for the Los Angeles Times documentedoutside Kabul airport.
Meanwhile,, according to CNN's Clarissa Ward.
Further grounds for skepticism about a reformed Taliban came in a UN report issued in June that described
In the years before 9/11, many millions of Afghans lived under the yoke of the Taliban's incompetent, brutal rule. They have good reason today to be skeptical of the "kinder, gentler" Taliban.
Already the, led by Ahmad Massoud, the son of the legendary Afghan military commander Ahmad Shah Massoud who was .
Joining that resistance is Amrullah Saleh, who on Tuesday; a legitimate claim since he was elected to the post of vice president, while former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani has fled the country.
Taliban special forces bring abrupt end to women's protest .
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Taliban special forces in camouflage fired their weapons into the air Saturday, bringing an abrupt and frightening end to the latest protest march in the capital by Afghan women demanding equal rights from the new rulers. Also on Saturday, the chief of Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency, which has an outsized influence on the Taliban, made a surprise visit to Kabul. Taliban fighters quickly captured most of Afghanistan last month and celebrated the departure of the last U.S. forces after 20 years of war. The insurgent group must now govern a war-ravaged country that is heavily reliant on international aid.