Paul’s claim that the Taliban is just opposed to foreign interference in Afghanistan is patently absurd. To begin with, the Taliban’s creation was a direct result not of foreign invasion but of Afghanistan’s internecine tribal warfare after the Soviets left and the Americans lost interest. Its unabashed goal was to crush Afghan factions that impeded its establishment of a retrograde sharia state.
Moreover, the Taliban craves foreign interference, without which it would never have come to power. A Pashtun movement driven by Islamic scholars and spearheaded by Mullah Mohammed Omar in Kandahar, the Taliban owes its existence to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. These Muslim nations, two of the only three nations in the world to recognize the Taliban-led government in Kabul, nurtured, armed, and financed the Taliban in its origin. They did so precisely because the Taliban was an effective ally in their machinations against regional rivals — India for the Pakistanis and Iran for the Saudis. The alliance was also grounded in the Taliban’s espousal of Deobandism, an uncompromising construction of Islam propagated in Afghan madrassas built by the Saudis’ Muslim World League in conjunction with Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan’s supremacist Islamic movement.