Kinder, gentler Taliban: Our extreme punishments will return -- but maybe in private

But … but … but what about their international staaaaaanding? As anyone who recalled the Taliban’s previous regime in Afghanistan, they don’t care one whit what other countries think of them. Now that the mullahs have taken charge again, the summary executions, hand-choppings, and whippings will return.

Only perhaps this time not as spectator sports. Maybe:

One of the founders of the Taliban and the chief enforcer of its harsh interpretation of Islamic law when they last ruled Afghanistan said the hard-line movement will once again carry out executions and amputations of hands, though perhaps not in public.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Mullah Nooruddin Turabi dismissed outrage over the Taliban’s executions in the past, which sometimes took place in front of crowds at a stadium, and he warned the world against interfering with Afghanistan’s new rulers.

“Everyone criticized us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments,” Turabi told The Associated Press, speaking in Kabul. “No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the Quran.”

If they stop doing these in crowded stadiums, perhaps that’s progress. Who knows? In two or three centuries, perhaps they might stop killing gays and lesbians. Anything’s possible, I suppose.

This demonstrates that either Joe Biden and his administration were hopelessly naïve or lying through their teeth about “leverage” and influence over the Taliban. No one with any sense bought the idea that the radical Islamists that ejected the second world power in their lifetimes from Afghanistan would suddenly have any interest in transforming themselves into cosmopolitan moderates. It didn’t happen in defeat, and it certainly wasn’t going to happen in victory — especially one as exhilarating as the humiliation of the Americans that Biden provided the Taliban last month in his disgraceful bug-out.

The question now is not just what the Taliban has in store for Afghans, but what it has in store for the Americans that Biden left behind in his military-first retreat. Ever since we left, the State Department and the White House have insisted that the same leverage and international interests that would modernize the Taliban would keep those Americans safe until they transit out of the country. Is that in fact what has been happening? The Associated Press reported a far different picture over the weekend, and Fox’s Trey Yingst brings us more stories of Americans trapped behind Taliban lines:

Thus far I don’t see Yingst’s full report on the topic available on video, but the brief clip and the tweets make the gist clear enough. American citizens, legal permanent residents, and those Afghans who made the decision to support us are now at the mercy of a regime that plans to reimpose its 11th-century version of justice on the country, regardless of which century the rest of the world lives in. What, precisely, will keep them from imposing that on Americans that got left behind?

That’s not a rhetorical question, as Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL) pointed out earlier. It’s existential:

Perhaps this might be a good time to press the administration for answers on what they’re doing to get our people out of Afghanistan. Because as we saw yesterday, Biden and the State Department aren’t going to provide any of those answers about this disgrace on their own.