In Afghanistan, end the Trump-Obama Taliban fantasy

The Taliban is the creation of fundamentalist Islamic elements of Pakistani intelligence, conceived as a geopolitical weapon against India. The Pashto word “taliban” means students – and, as you’ve no doubt guessed, we are not talking about students of comparative lit or macroeconomics. They are students of sharia, Islam’s ancient societal framework and legal code. They refer to themselves as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. They rose to power and have been sustained through 16 years of war because, contrary to what Western progressives would have you believe, they have significant support in what is a modernity-resistant sharia society. That is why they gave al-Qaeda sanctuary. It is why, to this day, they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with al-Qaeda in the jihad.

So what’s our plan? Why, we’re going to “reconcile” them so they can have a share of power. Fabulous.

Of course, if the Taliban were interested in the foot in the regime door that we are offering, it would only be for the purpose of retaking full power once we leave. If that seems perfectly obvious to you, you are clearly not wired for diplomatic work. The State Department — regardless of which party is in the White House — proceeds on the assumption that the Taliban will make peace with the rickety regime in Kabul. They will join in the governance of the emirate — um, I mean, the country. This time they’ll behave themselves, eventually deep-six their al-Qaeda alliance, and go easy on the subjugation of women, the killing of homosexuals, the death sentences for apostates, the effacement of non-Islamic cultural vestiges, the jihad against the West, and the rest of the classical sharia vision these students have been studying for decades.