26 October, 2021

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An Open Letter To The Taliban

By Soraya M. Deen –

Soraya M. Deen

I have never met any of you, but we have a few things in common. We are South Asian, we are Muslim, and we focus on women. In the fall of 1996, when you seized power in Kabul and declared Afghanistan an Islamic emirate, you ruled with brutality and repression. Women’s rights were taken away: women were barred from education and they were forced to wear clothing that completely covered them. You considered music evil and banned it and the arts. The texts of classical Islamic laws do not fully capture the brutal reality of daily life for women under regimes that apply Sharia. You displayed an authoritarian and intolerant interpretation of Islam devoid of modern standards of human rights and gender equality. You showed the world your brand of the Sharia.

You do not represent any indigenous ethnic group nor are you a part of the indigenous culture of Afghanistan. Some of your members are Pashtuns, but you don’t represent the Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Turkman, Baluch, Pachaie, Aymaq, Qirghiz, Nristani, Gujur, or Brahwui; yet you wield enormous power through violence and intimidation, authoritarianism and intolerance.

I am a community organizer and an international activist. My work centers around equipping and empowering women to deconstruct Received Theologies and stand up to religion based oppression, dominance, and violence against them. My agitation and struggle to advocate for my sisters everywhere is not negotiable.

While you focus on applying your brand of Sharia Law to govern the women of Afghanistan, I focus on humanitarian laws, the Quran and its contextuality and the legacy of the Prophet Mohammed to understand how women are to be treated.

We don’t choose our born gender, which religion we are born into or which country we will be born in. We live in times where one can freely express their sexual orientation, renounce their faith and choose which country to live in. The women of Afghanistan have bravely and courageously chosen to remain in your beautiful country, and continue to follow their religion – Islam. Today, my sisters need your protection and compassion; they need to feel safe, respected, and celebrated.

Let me remind you, every Prophet was born to a woman. Paradise, we are taught, lies at the “Feet of thy mother.” Holding positions of situational religious authority does not confer you with any superiority of intellectual ability and power. Women and men are equal in their capacities to reason.

Our faith mandates it.

Remember the words of the Prophet…

In his Farewell Sermon (Arabic: خطبة الوداع‎, Khuṭbatu l-Widāʿ ), prophet Muhammad on Friday the 9th of Dhu al-Hijjah, 10 AH (6 March 632) in the Uranah valley of Mount Arafat, delivered a long lasting universal message and teaching to his Ummah.

He called on us Muslims to remember four things –

Every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood and therefore we shall not do injustice to yourselves. Observe your prayers, and look after the weak amongst you. Your women also have certain rights over you. Do treat your women well and be kind to them. For they are your partners and committed helpers. Remember one day you will appear before Allah and answer your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.

So how will you treat my sisters?

You have declared that you are going to “allow women to work and study within the framework of Sharia. Women will be active, their rights will be guaranteed within Islam.”

Many men around the world remind themselves and force women to submit to a mans version of Islam. Nowhere is it stated that Muslim women shall not receive an education, that they shall not hold political office, that they live joyless, meaningless lives. Like so many patriarchal structures you chose to constantly reinforce these man made rules so as to keep your will alive, not Gods.

Islam’s teachings have always emphasized the importance of seeking knowledge. Thousands of years ago, the first university in the world was established by a Muslim woman named Fatima al-Fihri.

As you know the Sharia that you are referring to is about Fiqh, the human understanding of divine law. These laws vary from country to country, from culture to culture, and from tradition to tradition.

The Sharia (unique to Afghanistan) that you impose upon my fellow sisters who have for the last 20 years built a world for themselves, participating in public life, holding political office and pursuing business opportunities within a framework of freedom, dignity and human rights will be misplaced.

Judging from your past record, where a strict and harsh interpretation of Islam was imposed by you, I am afraid that me and my fellow activists see that the Sharia you threaten today will confine women to their homes, end mixed-gender education and deny women and girls their basic human rights. Most of the Sharia implemented in Muslim majority contries are outdated, with functional distinctions, deadening rituals, oppressive rules, totally devoid of contextual realities.

I inquire because back in 1999, during your rule, there was not a single girl enrolled in secondary school and only 9,000 were in primary schools. There are now 3.5 million who go to school and around a third of students at public and private universities are women. Almost 60% of Herat University students are women, and their scores are higher than their male counterparts. Proving that when provided with the opportunity, women flourish in currently male dominated subjects.

Your Sharia should not apply here…

What good is a misplaced Da’wah or the call to God, immersed in impunity if it will surely desecrate the very religion that you claim to defend. Triumphalism is your attitude or belief that your Sharia is superior and that it will or should triumph over all others.

I urge you all not to be blindly committed to the destruction of a culture, a generation, a gender, a country; by being fanatically driven by your brand of Sharia engulfed in patriarchy and misogyny and the received theology of superiority and exclusivity. For thousands of years men have interpreted religion. Women’s leadership and scholarship has been undermined and devalued in the Muslim world.

Religious actors proclaim to be the sole recipients of the divine message and that women are simply the benefactors. We must find enough common ground to create a safe and thriving place for the women in Afghanistan. Afterall, they are the progeny of Khadija, the Mother of Islam the first wife of the Propher Muhammad. And she was an independent, strong, courageous woman with an entrepreneurial spirit.

One of the greatest downfalls in life is thinking that you know everything and are therefore right at all times. The tragedy is not knowing when you don’t know enough and failing to realize when you are wrong.

We must respect and protect individual freedom. There can be no compulsion in religion. Qur’anic passage (2:256) famously declares “There is no compulsion in religion.” Faith is an intensely personal issue and plainly, each person should be allowed to figure their own path in life.

The well-known story of Rip Van Winkle is not that of a man who slept for 20 years, but a man who slept through a revolution. We are in the midst of a social revolution. Giving voice to the person who doesn’t have one. It is akin to a vibrant political and social movement.

A civil society has burgeoned in the past two decades that didn’t exist before.

The world is changing at a speed we would never have imagined. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and all media tools are creating widespread influence which comes with great risks.

What we see today evolving in Afghanistan is appalling.

Women’s faces are being whitewashed from billboards throughout Kabul. Women in Kandahar have been told not to return to their jobs and that male relatives could take their place. We have seen your members knocking on doors and demanding to be fed. Anybody refusing is beaten and even killed. Fresh in our minds is the story of Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in 2012 by your fighters because she dared to advocate for girl’s education.

The story of Bibi Aisha is a chilling reminder of the brutality of the Sharia you declare you will implement. A young woman, she attempted to escape from her abusive husband (whom she had been forced to marry), but when the Taliban caught her, they had her ears and nose chopped off.

Muslims today face unprecedented challenges. Much of the world considers us violent and engaged in a belief system that is incompatible with modernity. We have to do better. It is incumbent upon every Muslim to solve this disease of moral decay within our own commuunities.

Our mosques are devoid of inclusive, visionary leadership. Our Imams are versed in the text but not the context. They live in the 21st century with a world view of the 7th century. They preach and teach as you do, as if God has spoken to them directly.

It is possible, it is necessary, it is YOU…

It is possible for you to change the course of history. It’s necessary that you do. Take inventory of the talents, gifts and abilities of all your citizens. Power Afghan society with creative women and girls.

No country, no power can build your country, your society unless women are emancipated from all forms of oppression

I write to you to be aware that the world is watching you and the Muslim world. Islam will be once again on trial.

You and I have a personal and moral responsibility to be more ethical, more kind, and more just than the societies we grew up in.

Support wholeheartedly the statement issued by the UN Women “We remain fully committed to supporting women and girls in Afghanistan. Womens and girls rights in Afghanistan must have only one direction and that is forward. Their hard won rights must be protected.”

Women’s rights must be at the center of your governance. Treat your women fairly and with dignity. Keep the girls in schools, and allow women to show up in public and walk without their face being covered.

Finally, my plea to you is to understand your values and vision. If your theocratic domination dehumanizes women, treats them not as equals but as subjects, choose to think beyond and read beyond your Received Theologies. Remember the Quran was revealed at a particular time in history within a particular social context. Religious solutions don’t always provide for human rights.

I urge you to rethink your religious justification for everything uncompromising and immoral. The primary objective of the Quran is not to restrain and restrict a woman, but to promote her welfare, dignity and human rights.

Let’s face it.

James Baldwin reminds us that, “Not everything that is being faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

*Soraya Deen is a lawyer, award winning international activist, Interfaith consultant and the founder of the Muslim Women Speakers Movement. She is the women’s outreach coordinator for Omnia Institute for Contextual Leadership. She has written the book, “Peace Matters– Raising Peace Conscious Children,” and “SERVE: A Call to Muslims.” Soraya divides her time living between Los Angeles and Sri Lanka. Her workshops focus around empowering women to effectively participate in social justice and political decisions that impact their lives.

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Latest comments

  • 4
    6

    Afghanistan had a choice – women’s rights or Islam. Afghans chose the latter. In terms of women’s rights Saudi Arabia is not too far away either.

    • 6
      3

      Fathiamma Akka, you are wrong aging. I did not conduct a poll or an election, but I am sure 90% of the Afghan men will not select Taliban in an election. They are not you or Usuf, or Hilmi or Latheef or….We all grew up with our sisters and neighboring girls. We played together, disagreed, fought with other and complained about each other and grew up out of that life. It is the same story of the Afghan men too. They all know that a woman is only one among us (them) (them), not any alien from moon or Jupiter. They face the same need as us, hunger, sorrow, time to relax, eager to entertain them and longing for happiness. They need a government exactly for the same reason we (men) need a government. So let the Afghan men to share the 50% of government with women.

    • 5
      4

      GATAM,
      I plead ignorance. I get the impression that women’s rights clash with Islam. Kindly let me know if I am right. Thank you.
      .
      By the way, I have one more question.
      I learn that Saudi Arabia has been slowly relaxing some of its rules affecting women’s rights, am I correct. If that is correct, was Saudi Arabia wrong in the first place?
      Could Afghans – read The Taliban – also be wrong? You know, it is all too confusing!

      • 0
        0

        Nathan,
        .
        During the past six weeks I’ve read up a lot about Afghanistan (and Pakistan). During the past week it’s been mostly about Saudi Arabia.
        .
        Please see what I have said towards the bottom of my comments. There’s the pleasant face of Prince Turki bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz al Saud. I’m sure that he’s genuinely a decent guy. Spend an hour listening to his near perfect English. The only Arabic intrusion is a soft “yani” – meaning, I think, “I mean”. I spent more than three years teaching English (well, what else! Everything else was in Arabic.) in an Omani village. I used to hear the kids saying “yani” quite often. I did try to learn Arabic; failed. I have no knack for languages! I made no effort to learn Dhivehi in the Maldives – there really was no need, since the English of the kids whom I taught in Male was excellent
        .
        I fear that the world is going to find
        .
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed_bin_Salman
        .
        the greatest evil
        ever inflicted upon planet Earth. See the long film, below. He’s only 36 years old and is already the de facto King. So he could be with us for the next sixty years – and these guys get more tyrannical as they get older.

    • 3
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      GATAM,
      .
      was that a real choice before them ? Even if the real choice was given, things could pave the way criminals to take ground… best example is being displayed by SRILANKEN Rajapkshes today. People s mind set (average) was twisted by feeding them with various dream stories, but as of today, THE PRESIDENT and entire leadership is seen as TEENAGERs in their puberty.

      Not Afgans, but the majority of that countr, being misled by a bunch of fundementalists, chose it for them.
      .
      Not only in Afganistan, entire world where such fundementalists as roudys control the life of the nations have been doing it. Those south east asian countries are bit diffierent. I have not heard this from Malaysia and Indonesia. But it is becoming evne more cruel in Afaganistan. That is not overlooked.

      Those who returned to EUROPE/North America from the era, will reveal lot more UNTOLD stories inthe days to come.

      Srilanka is being destroyed by SINHALA BUDDHISTS (not real buddhists but a bunch of thugs work with political crooks for their sysbiosis) while those islamic countries face it by ther kind of fundementalists. Both categories, regardless of the religions do the same more or less.

  • 9
    5

    For 20 years, no one questioned millions of Afghans killed and maimed for no faults of theirs by the US forces including drones. This includes WOMEN AND CHILDREN.

    Taliban have reclaimed their country and it’s not even a month old, and here comes the ‘concerned citizens’ of women’s rights coming of woodwork who have been silent for the past 20 years during US occupation. Israelis have been bombing Palestinian women and children for decades, not a whisper from these so-called ‘concerned’ citizens.

    The best women’s rights issue right now is to stop bombing and killing innocent women and children under the guise of fighting terrorism.

    • 3
      1

      That the Americans messed up in Afghanistan is clear, and it would have been better had they not gone in there. However, does that mean that the Taliban are, or ever were, any good?
      .
      Some Afghans used the windows of opportunities to improve their society. I have already named two (the comment has got arranged below this).
      .
      See what Amrullah Saleh, said in a carefully worded 20 minutes, about two weeks ago. He is fair by ex-President Ashraf Ghani, a decent cultured old man, although he condemns his fleeing.
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMYYpTe636A
      .
      That WION website seems to be Indian-influenced, and may not be neutral, but do you not judge those words to be genuinely those of Saleh? Don’t be lazy Goraka: get back with your observations.
      .
      What has the situation in Afghanistan got in common with the disgraceful treatment of Palestinians by the Israelis? Haven’t you clicked on the Chomsky link that I have already given you? May I forestall your response?
      .
      You’re likely to say that Afghans and Palestinians are Muslims, (and depending on how well-informed you are, that Chomsky is Jewish). This is precisely the sort of crude, stereotyped response that decent people abhor.

      .

  • 7
    4

    I am no defender of the Taliban.
    Who were the enemies of the rights of women and other oppressed people that aided and abetted in overturning progressive governments in the country?
    King Amanullah (1919-29) took bold steps to educate women and free them of archaic practices including the veil. He was forcefully overthrown by conservative elements backed by Britain.
    The setbacks suffered by Amanullah’s fall were slow to reverse.
    The next opportunity for rapid progress came with the government of 1978. Who cultivated the Taliban (and even the Al Qaida)?
    For what true reason did the US destroy lives of ordinary people for 20 years.
    *
    The Taliban is the choice of the people as we can see from the ease with they seized power, and Afghanistan has to solve its problems without foreign meddling.
    People feared far worse with the Islamists of Iran. But life has grown far better for the people than under the Shah. It can be even better, but without pressure from big bullies.
    The Taliban needs friends and cannot lead the country without popular support. Let us give Afghanistan time the way we did Iran.
    People who had not a tear to shed for the innocents who were killed by the invader should do serious soul searching before denouncing the Taliban.

    • 4
      5

      “I am no defender of the Taliban. …….The Taliban needs friends and cannot lead the country without popular support. Let us give Afghanistan time the way we did Iran. If God try to create another hypocrite as worse as you, certainly he will fail. So, if you are not defending Taliban, to whom you are begging time for? What do you mean by giving time to Iran? Who gave the time to Iran? Lankawe Taliban, which formed the military junta government, had come to power with the support of 6.9M Taliban Buddhists. How many votes the Afghani Taliban got? You Afghanistan has to solve its problems without foreign meddling who are the foreigners meddling in Afghan? Afghanis elected government or Taliban, who an army of international Muslim terror group?
      Sinhala man said ” Shame on America, and specifically on Biden who has let everybody down. ” Here is a reasonable question pending to be answered. Pres Biden said America could not do anything when Afghan soldiers, apparently anti America sentiment fed, let their countrymen fail. Same happened in Lankawe too. America trained then to fight respecting humanitarian issue. They fought the most barbaric war, ignoring the training given to them by America, because the anti-America feeling fed to them by Pancha Maga Palavegaya Aanduwa.

    • 3
      0

      S.J,
      “Let us give Afghanistan time the way we did Iran.”
      Did that happen?

      • 3
        3

        OC
        Thanks.
        I should correct myself: Iran was not given the time or the opportunity it deserved to sort its problems. But it found its way.
        The point is that if Iran could under its mullahs why not Afghanistan.
        *
        Iran’s Islamic revolution had to come to terms with reality. Otherwise events would have overtaken the Islamist rulers.
        I visited Iran twice: Isfahan (with my wife) in 2002 and Shiraz in 2029. Life was freer there for women than what we were told. The dress code for women was not severe but the need to cover the whole body remains. (My wife got away with a scarf that barely covered her head.)
        70% of students in STEM programmes and 60% in medicine are women.
        Their representation in politics is weak though, but improving.
        They play soccer and volleyball, and until recently there was a ban on women watching men’s sports events. It seems to have been relaxed now.
        *
        What mainly hindered progress towards equality for women was the foreign threat. It strengthened the hands of the conservative mullahs. There were times when more liberal elements were likely to win and it was wrecked by a rise in US bullying.
        *
        Afghanistan is politically better placed than Iran (which had no friends at all until into the 1980s and was invaded by Saddam’s Iraq with US backing).

        • 1
          1

          In your whole life, it seems you yet to say something right, honestly. Anyway, do you expect because you went to Isfahan (History of Isfahan has nothing to do with Islam & Iran’s Revolution) and came with your story, we must ignore free media and take your lies as Koran. Come on! come to term with reality. It is really your imbecile thinking that you write stories and expect other to believe it.

          “But it found its way……..Iran’s Islamic revolution had to come to terms with reality. Who found whose way? You are only a child lying the cradle and crying. So let me tell you something. Iran was called the guard of the Persian Gulf. It had a very powerful military. Country’s life was almost like in the West. There was no need for an Islamic revolution because, though Shah was not a democrat, he did not go on rampage of Islam’s destruction. A secular democracy was the needed change. But after the revolution, Iran could not win the puny Iraq, which invaded into Iran. Now waiting to be burned by Israel. You can’t understand anything, but it is not innocent Iranian’s problems. Iran is crushed by Economic Sanction, only next NK. Saudi forced the Olympic to accept Muslim dresses for swimming. But Iran was forced to stay out of many sports (FIFA). TV networks refused to relay western sports in Iran.

        • 2
          0

          S.J,
          Yes, Iran is a lot better than Saudi Arabia, but less pliant. So it gets different treatment from U-No-Hoo.

        • 1
          0

          “Iran was not given the time or the opportunity it deserved to sort its problems. But it found its way.”

          It is an excuse. The same excuse goes in Sri Lanka as well. This is what China said during the UNHRC session:
          “As a friendly neighbour of Sri Lanka, China sincerely hopes that Sri Lanka maintains political stability, ethnic solidarity and national unity and wishes Sri Lanka greater achievements in its national development. We commend the Government of Sri Lanka for its efforts to actively promote and protect human rights, advance sustainable economic and social development, improve people’s living standard, protect the rights of the vulnerable groups, advance national reconciliation and combat terrorism.

          This clearly proofs that some of them are anti- Americans, anti-Western, and anti-India. They are happy to support oppression of women, oppression of ethnic minorities and dictatorships and family kingdoms.

      • 5
        1

        old codger

        SJ types:

        “The Taliban is the choice of the people as we can see from the ease with they seized power, and Afghanistan has to solve its problems without foreign meddling.”

        1. Initially Taliban was a creation of Pakistan. When Taliban captured Afghanistan Taliban militia consisted of not less than 10,000 Pakistani regular troops.
        2. China has welcome Taliban therefore SJ is also morally obliged to welcome Taliban.
        3.Taliban will be violently active in both Kashmirs which meant Hindians will have loads of problem in their hand making SJ very very happy person.
        4. From 1996 to 2001, the Taliban held power over 75% of Afghanistan, I do not remember Taliban held democratically conducted elections, which suits SJ’s ideology.
        5. Taliban cannot be the choice of the people as the female population is about 49.95% total population.
        6. SJ thinks majority of the Afghanistan population is stupid.
        7. If anything to go by, SJ’s past choices, Pol Pot, Abimael Guzmán, ………….. definitely his choice is for stupid violent fascistic religious nutters, the Taliban.
        8…..
        9…
        Basically China supports Taliban therefore he is compelled to support the Taliban too.

        • 4
          0

          old codger

          Comparing two different countries is a stupid idea for millions of reasons.

          By the way if SJ believes in what he says “Afghanistan has to solve its problems without foreign meddling” is true, then he has to ask himself a simple question, why does not China leave us to deal with our own problems?

          Instead it is playing a destructive role continues to compound our problem.

      • 1
        0

        OC,

        May I nevertheless add the following, even if this would not work with topic being address on this thread ?

        you had added somewhere that our ultra racist/natha dewiya aka NDS resigned his mission as the Ambattaya to Myanamar… however, my recherche caught the following video

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtIx_IXWdRA

        very likely NDS will be posted to HINDIA soon.

        • 2
          0

          L.M,
          “very likely NDS will be posted to HINDIA soon”
          Even Gota can’t be that stupid.

          • 1
            0

            Oc,
            .
            Looking at how GOTA paid blind eye regarding re appointment of highly corrupted Cabral to CB, u never know what goes through Nandasena s little brain ?.
            😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉

    • 1
      0

      SJ you say:
      “The Taliban is the choice of the people as we can see from the ease with they seized power…”
      ~
      Can you answer these questions in turn please:
      1. If Taliban are the choice of the people of Afghanistan, what is your evidence?
      2. If a military junta gains power by overthrowing a democratically elected government with ease due to their sheer strength, are they then to be regarded as the choice of the people? I am not here referring to Afghanistan but to any country.
      3. Are you saying the choice of the people does not necessarily have to be through a ballot box?
      ~
      Looking forward to reading your replies to each of the three questions.

      • 0
        0

        KP
        “The Taliban is the choice of the people as we can see from the ease with they seized power…”
        That answers Question 1.
        Q2. It was not a coup.
        Q3. Yes. (There are plenty of examples in history.)
        *
        I am not here to say how a people should make their choice.
        The circumstances determined the mode of choice here.
        How Taliban retains its support is for us to see.

        • 1
          0

          K.P,
          “. If a military junta gains power by overthrowing a democratically elected government with ease due to their sheer strength”
          What strength? Did the Taliban have more tanks, vehicles, weapons and men than the Afghan government? Read it up.
          We can object to anyone, but facts are sacred.

          • 2
            0

            KP,
            “. Are you saying the choice of the people does not necessarily have to be through a ballot box?”
            Remember Communists in Russia came to power and also got thrown out without any ballot box.

          • 1
            2

            Old Codger, I never said ‘strength’ equates to more tanks, vehicles, weapons and men. It was an erroneous assumption on your part.
            ~
            Strength can come from belief in a cause, resoluteness, unity, tactics, to name a few. Ask the question why the LTTE was able to hold the Sri Lankan military at bay for so long before they were finally defeated? Did they have more tanks, vehicles, weapons and men? One might be tempted to say one of the reasons (I repeat ‘one of the reasons’) for the LTTE’s downfall was disunity; Karuna faction’s breakaway from the LTTE.
            ~
            Yes, I agree facts are sacred. But taking a narrow view on definitions (in this case ‘strength’) can blind you of facts!

            • 2
              0

              KP,
              Yes, facts are sacred. The Taliban were facing not unarmed civilians, but a much more powerful army, whose members chose not to fight. Were they afraid of the Taliban? No. They probably believed in the same cause (as you say) , ie getting foreigners out. So, it was the will of the people.

              • 0
                1

                Old,
                When the Taliban was facing the American Army, it ran out of the country, could not stand and fight. Then the country was handed over to the local government & it formed its own army to fight against the Taliban. The sacred truth here is that the Afghan army did not fight and imported Taliban Won it, so Afghanistan is Imported terrorists’ heaven, not a cemetery to empires. Lankawe had more than 350,000 soldiers in all troops to fight about 10,000 Tigers. Recruiting and training the army was the Afghan government’s responsibility. After the ruling responsibility was handed over to the local democratic government, the local army was not America’s responsibility. Afghani presidents collected dollars to load on cars & Helicopters but did not fix the problem in the army. It doesn’t mean that is the kind of government Afghan people wanted to elect. Though Sinhala Buddhists wanted a Hitler government, now they say this is not the Hitler government they expected. That is the same disappointment Afghan people had with their government. One time, this type of religious extremism was in the west too. But they learned. The UOJ Sadampi extolling Taliban, Al-Qaeda, ISIS are not learning easily. The Taliban was facing Afghani military, which was better equipped, but was hanging in for pay, not motivated to protect the country.

              • 1
                1

                Afghan Government did not vet the army and many troops were the Talibans, who penetrated it. Yes, Afghan Army soldiers were mostly anti-American men. Taliban, in major part, is not any Afghani citizens. When the sacred fact is that, why are you standing off on some talks that sound like the Taliban conducted a general election under the supervision like a popular EU monitoring mission or something like that and has received a mandate for freedom to fight against America? When Taliban is an American product, where do you find the evidence for Afghan people looking to hire Taliban to fight freedom from America, unless Afghan people too have two weeks’ memory. Why didn’t Taliban place its candidates in the last election, like The Mukti Bahini supported Awami League? Do the Afghani opposition party support the Taliban take over the government? When America and the EU were economically drained by Covid-19 and backed off from supporting the lame duck Afghani army any more, why are you postulating that Afghan people fought against American occupation through Taliban. Is there any rule in Afghanistan, before Taliban take over, that under 18 girls must attend school otherwise presents are responsible? As per UOJ Sadampi, that is Western oppression, but that was not in the USSR. What is the real form of oppression or harassment in Afghanistan implemented by America?

                • 0
                  1

                  Dear Mallaiyuran and KP,
                  .
                  Although I may have reservations about certain details, I agree absolutely with you overall. Six months ago, I knew next to nothing about Afghanistan, but, helped greatly by our lock-downs, I’ve been reading copiously on what was going on there. Especially during the last six weeks.
                  .
                  There can be absolutely no claim of legitimacy for Taliban rule. The parallel you draw with the JVP insurrections is spot on. Especially 1971, however much we look back romantically. At least 80% of the people wanted nothing of them, and the Sirimavo government had just been elected.
                  .
                  To understand of Afghanistan today, one has to go back at least fifty years, as this Brit does, in thirty minutes that you may find confusing; but it is probably as simple as it can be made.
                  .
                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rct6vbICbec
                  .
                  If comments are still allowed this evening I will show how much Trump and Biden (even more) have been responsible for the chaos that followed the American withdrawal.

              • 1
                1

                The number of people who ran out of the county right after the Taliban invaded is many times more than the Taliban fighters. How is this counting in your logic that Afghan people were longing for freedom from America & they overthrow the elected government? America was not interfering much in the Afghan people’s elected government. It was protecting the democratic government by strengthening the government’s army. Sadly, wolves and hyenas had penetrated in the government and the Government’s Army. Kayilai Vanniyan was betrayed, and Britain took over the vanni. But Tamil never wanted Britain to take over Vanni. At the same time, would you have argued, if JVP had won Siri Ma O, that the Sinhalese wanted JVP? If so, then why has the JVP has not won any election so far? The Sinhala Army supported the JVP, it was Tamil polices and later the Indian Army fought that war and restored Siri Ma O’s elected government? Did you call that time it was the Indian occupation of Lankawe? In the last election Taliban was not an element, so does it mean and people did not receive their victory. Those are the sacred facts. Period! Please don’t keep bending the external minor point to follow UOJ Sadampi’s forceful logic.

                • 2
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                  Malli,
                  I take note of your many arguments. But, a few simple questions:
                  1. Who created the Taliban, and why?
                  2. How many Afghans were in the planes that hit NYC?
                  3. How many Saudis? Iraqis?
                  4. Why did the US invade Afghanistan and Iraq, not Saudi?

        • 1
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          SJ
          ~
          1. I can’t understand for the life of me how you could hold the position that just because Taliban captured power with ease means they are the people’s choice. Do you really think the unarmed civilian population of Afghanistan, faced with a well-armed group of men wielding guns, had any choice other than absolute submission? A correct and reasonably-minded position to take here would be to say Taliban’s popularity among the wider population is yet to be tested, and this would depend on how they go about in treating and looking after their own folks, whether they are men or women.
          ~
          2. You have not really answered my second question. In raising the question I did say I was not referring to Afghanistan but in your answer you have gone and referred to Afghanistan. I would suggest you go back and read my question again before answering.
          ~
          3. So, you reckon the choice of the people (in this case to elect a government) does not necessarily have to be through a ballot box. What other method(s) do you have in mind?

      • 1
        0

        KP,

        SJ you say:
        “The Taliban is the choice of the people as we can see from the ease with they seized power…”

        It is not something new. Because Rapist Army ran over the North East, he keep insisting Tamils want Chitanta & Hitler governments. His Mistress Vasanthi sent on University letter head for other staff and students that they have to vote for Chitanta government. That is how they bring the Tamils intern with the Rowdy Royal Aanduwa. Who are these comedies without brain getting into UOJ. See he writes comment after comment to justify Taliban, but has he written a line about Siri Ma O ‘s nephew, Lohan Rattham Watthai? A genuine hypocrite (if something as so).

  • 2
    1

    Dear Soraya Deen,
    .
    The protests and the “Open Letters” are most effective when they come from adherents of Islam who understand the issues best. We, outsiders, view with anguish, but must be careful not to exacerbate what is already horrendous.
    .
    Yes, we are watching; shrill voices from India, they may be secretly rejoicing at the divisions:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGDSGMTsKMs
    .
    Shame on America, and specifically on Biden who has let everybody down.
    .
    Amrullah Saleh and Ahmad Mashood: what fine humans! They’re probably doomed, but let us always remember that they wanted Peace and the Rights of Women.
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5uAb3c6z7k
    .
    Beware! My own comment may not come out as well as I would wish it. We non-Muslims have mostly “interests”, but some of us sincerely wish you well.
    .
    Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela

    • 1
      0

      Soraya,
      .
      I know that your article has a somewhat different focus, but I’ve just found twenty-five minutes of Noam Chomsky discussing “Afghanistan”. He’s now 92, but as sincere and committed as always. It’s this sincerity that is so rare today:
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJRAMR8tGkQ
      .
      And here you have what might be seen as layers of insincerity. This selfish concern with one’s own interests may even seem natural, but this is what we have to counter with more worthwhile ethics.
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsyT-euZoWk
      .
      I wish I could have said more pertaining to the Rights of Women, but I fear that if I don’t contribute these thoughts, I may contribute nothing.
      .
      The issues here are too important to say nothing.

  • 0
    2

    I mean…..let those Afghans sort themselves out. American has put in a blueprint for women’s rights, and that’s good. Let it take its course. There people are out of long decades of Western oppression. Their men who were fighting wars for a long time, need to marry. Their women were without men. The majority are now residing in happiness with all the marriages going on. Their marriage ages differ from Western physiology, psychology, and philosophy. Talibans are trying their best. They are giving education to their women and it is actually good that the sexes are separated. The West can learn some human dignity from them. Even at this time, the alt-right of America is applauding the Afghan spirit.

    • 1
      0

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

      For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

    • 1
      0

      Continuing
      .
      I attended Ms Ajantha Perera’s first public meeting at the Vihara Maha Devi Park in Colombo, and gave her a written request to educate voters about Preferential Voting.
      .
      She let us all down, later, by contesting the Colombo District together with Ranil Wickremasinghe, and then talked rubbish about this, below, although she has a relevant PhD:
      .
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-Press_Pearl
      .
      Even after that fiasco, I rang her. She answered the phone, mumbled something, but I know that the next time, she will block me, since I clearly expressed disappointment. Being fair doesn’t include tolerating frauds.
      .
      More pertinently: we don’t know your marital status. Although you are nimal fernando’s sweetheart he has referred to being a hen-pecked husband. Now, since you feel great affinity with the “Talibans (who) are trying their best”, you should offer yourself as wife to one of them. After all, when you were born in Sri Lanka, you were human first, now an American in Pittsburgh.
      .
      If you are married? Well, since “The West can learn some human dignity from them,” will they allow polyandry?
      .
      I wish you well in your new life – and start learning Pashtun right now.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe

    • 0
      0

      The majority are now residing in happiness.

      Grandma, as always, I have my whishes and you have your ways for this earth. Still, can you precisely define these terms for this sentence in which you used them? : “Majority”, “now” (is that this second or this century or after Taliban took over or…..), “residing”, “Happiness”. The MMDA is defended in Lankawe because to keep divorced women in marriage bond by allowing men to have four women. In heaven a man can marry 72 women, only if he kills infidels. These divorces are because many of them are now happy, here in earth and heaven?
      Talibans are trying their best. They are giving education to their women (Wow – bless the graceful god), and it is actually good that the sexes are separated What is this bluffing means? West not allowing their woman to study.? “The West can learn some human dignity from them. “ What is your theory? If women gets equal access, without segregated and controlled, unlike it is happening in West, women are losing human dignity? What is this dignity anyway? could you explain for who need it and why? Which of the foreign label is giving the so called dignity these days for you to write something without any context like this?

  • 2
    1

    America* has put in a blueprint.

    Their* people……..Western oppression.

  • 4
    2

    It’s easy to bash the poor and the weak than the rich and the powerful.

    USA has been bombing and maiming innocents all over the world and especially 20 years in Afghanistan and to lecture women’s rights and children’s rights is hypocritical.

    What Afghans needs is to heal the gaping wound and bring peace to the region. They did not lecture Sri Lankans and Americans as to how to live their lives, let them live them rule they see fit.

    • 1
      0

      Afghans, yes.
      .
      People like Amrullah Saleh and Ahmed Mashood.
      .
      The Taliban have little support, and now there are reports of them being held hostage by the Haqquani.
      .
      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/14/questions-in-kabul-as-two-top-taliban-leaders-missing-from-public-view
      .
      There’s a video from an Indian source, which suggests that Baradar is actually a prisoner being forced to read from a paper:
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJ9RtXK1dUk
      .
      Soraya Deen is concerned about women:
      .
      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/12/afghanistans-shrinking-horizons-women-feel-everything-is-finished
      .
      I knew little of the goings on in the World of Islam. I have read up a lot on the Saudis. I’m beginning to realise that this will be beyond my abilities. Let me submit, separately, a delightful video. Am I taking the easy way out – like so many!

    • 0
      1

      Goraka,

      Yes. And Americans do realize that at highest level of government. There are various human rights groups that call out for greater justice for especially women, but in the end, the Biden admin (in line with Trumps agenda), sees the value of indigenous cultures remaining as they are, without any great cohesion to convert them to modern Westernization. It is cheaper for the West that way too, and they have an alternate route to Western prosperity without forcing unwilling countries into their Western system so they can balance out and/or increase their Western budgets.

      They and governments like the Taliban see little use in e.g. encouraging too Westernized an education system where even their women will subscribe to studies like commercial or scientific ones that build up on Western-type industry. But Islamic science, arts, and crafts will be encouraged for both sexes within a traditional framework.

      For the Biden administration, this falls right in with their Climate Change program also, where unnecessary Western industry will not contribute additionally to greenhouse gasses.

  • 2
    0

    This video is especially meant for “leelagemalli” (LM);
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVQ2iffcu90
    .
    This man is so cultured and unassuming. Prince Turki:
    .
    Delightful and enthralling, but it is a little over an hour. Fortunately, not much else to do owing to COVID.

    I’ve read up a lot about the Saudi Royal Family. Prince Turki’s father’s assassination in 1977, I remember. King Faisal, he was, shot by a Prince. What I then knew was sketchy. Now, the Internet allows us to go into all this in depth – but is it worth it? One thing that it brings home to me is just how many wives these Kings used to have, and how many children! The King before Feisal, Saud, had 102 children! It says that Feisal’s sons were all educated well.
    .
    I think that people like us ought to draw a line which we don’t go above, into the past. Else it will be like this ridiculous eternal debate whether the Sinhalese or the Tamils got to Lanka first.
    .
    Anyway, in this interview, Turki faces up to two events: 9/11 and the murder of Khashoggi. That last has been troubling our commenter, LM, who lives in Germany.

    • 2
      0

      S.M,
      Don’t you see any irony in the fact that this “cultured individual” comes from a country which practices Sharia Law?
      Also the country practically belongs to his family. It is the only country in the world named after its ruling family.
      What makes us think the Taliban aren’t cultured in their own way? Is culture attributable only to people in smart suits?
      That said, Sharia law is not a problem to those who behave themselves, and stick to their own 24 wives.

      • 0
        0

        Thanks, oc;
        .
        Although my comment below carries today’s date, and this observation of yours has been submitted yesterday, they seem to have both become visible simultaneously.
        .
        So, yes, I had already begun to realise that if we talk of a country with millions of people, we begin to see contradictions. I was looking also at the comments below the Youtubes.
        .
        Even you gave me a link to the boss of Aramco talking very constructively. I think that we may have persuaded some readers to understand some of the complexities. Turki bin Faisal is intelligent enough to realise that he is wilfully blinding himself to the faults of the system. We have to be careful not to be envious of his wealth or his access to education superior to ours, AND appreciate that what is foremost in his mind are the direction in which humanity as a whole is heading.
        .
        However, what matters is the present and the foreseeable future. Regarding that, I’m truly terrified. MBS is already de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia; a monster, but with so many fawners already.

    • 3
      0

      My Dear Iskole mahaththaya,
      .
      thanks for the link and will check it at night and have a great weekend !
      .
      Dont forget to use your mask whnever you go to buy your daily needs.
      :
      Be safe.
      My prayers go to save good souls in my home country. So called SINHALA BUDDHISTS are taught to say ” සියලුසත්වයො නිදුක් වෙත්වා !!! may all beings be healthy “. However, I am afraid, to repeat today, looking at the manner those 6.9 millions of stupid people have made to our home country.

    • 1
      0

      I’ve re-read Soraya’s article, after doing a fair amount of background study on the internet, and I see how inadequate my response has been. I’ve made a mistake above about the date of King Faisal’s assassination: 25 March 1975, it was.
      .
      But it’s not that; I’ve extolled Prince Turki. I’m sure that in himself he’s good and wise, but I can see that he’s part of the system. The Crown Prince, MBS, amounts to little. I looked for some place where he speaks in English:
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn1Y-1AiAgk
      .
      Adequate, but not a patch on Turki. Most of the time he consents to questions being asked in English, but replies in Arabic. It’s the substance; typical politician platitudes. More chilling is the fact that so many cosy up to this man. See the various comments.
      .
      It’s this 115- minute documentary that really exposes him:
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IBa88VkM6g
      .
      As for Afghanistan, the developments are depressing:
      .
      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-58600231
      .
      Nothing if what I have said is satisfactory, but thank you, Soraya, for helping me to face up to some of the many uncomfortable issues facing us. With that, I think that I must quit these issues which have proved too complex for me to handle.

      • 0
        0

        Correction:
        .
        The opening of the last paragraph should have been:
        .
        Nothing of what I have said is satisfactory.
        .
        And it bears repetition.

  • 1
    0

    More than any belief in the Taliban ideology …… it’s just human nature to join the winning side for survival.

  • 1
    0

    Soraya, you need to write to them in Urdu, not English. Also, write to Sri Lankan Muslim women in Tamil showing Afghanistan as a sample to let them understand the value of FREEDOM available to them and not turn down with Burkas and Abayas

    • 2
      0

      Mohd, this is the arrogance of western-cultured women – speak/write in English, if they don’t respond, shout louder.

      This letter is nothing but self-glorification exercise.

    • 0
      0

      Mohd, this is not a criticism that you ought to make. Ekelbroom is acceptable.
      .
      Soraya is trying to make a small number of English-speaking Lankans think about the need for gender equality right here, although she has given this title to the present article. There are no really crazy Lankan Muslim comments here, but given today’s context, even Gatam and Goraka have crossed the line (SJ, too, but since he’s Hindu the danger is less). In the comment that I have submitted above, Professor Tim Wilson takes serious note of the blasting of the Bahamian Buddhas. When it happened I remember that Buddhists here realised, for the first time, that this had been a Buddhist country – as were Indonesia and Malaysia. Unless Lankan Muslims dress “normally” and don’t multiply faster than others (the numbers are exaggerated, but I feel that humans worldwide have already exceeded sustainable numbers) the Sinhalayo could panic.

  • 1
    0

    According to the above ‘Open Letter’, the two main grouses that the writer has regarding the Taliban are the ‘brand’ of Islam followed by them and their ‘treatment’ of women. Actually, this could be reduced to just one problem – their brand of Islam – since their perceptions of the role of women is interpreted from their religious beliefs.
    .
    The Taliban has already stated in a public interview that the women in Afghanistan will enjoy the ‘freedoms’ as stipulated in (their brand of ) Islam.
    .
    The literary efforts of the writer should therefore be directed at persuading the Taliban to accept a more ‘liberal’ brand of Islam – something compatible with the practices of ‘Western Democracy’ – which offers unbridled ‘freedom’ to women.
    .
    A common error made by commentators on the subject of Afghanistan is projecting the views and lived-experiences of Kabul women as being representative of all Afghan women. With over 70% of all women living in rural Afghanistan, nothing could be further from the truth.
    .
    Two recent articles titled ‘Many in Rural Afghanistan welcome an unfamiliar peace after Taliban victory’ (Wall Street Journal) and ‘The Other Afghan Women’ (The Newyorker) provide a non-Kabul view of life in Afghanistan after the Taliban.

    • 0
      0

      [A]
      Any social formation has the inviolable right to decide for itself the style of administration it deems best for it’s constituents.
      External players have absolutely no right to impose what they consider to be the ‘best’ system of government on the members of such a social formation. Every system has it’s plus and minus factors. No system is perfect – not even the much-vaunted ‘Western Democratic System’.
      ‘Freedom’ is not an absolute concept. The operationalizing of the concept, ‘freedom’, depends heavily on the context in which it is evaluated. Thus, ‘freedom’ for women in a western country has a different meaning from ‘freedom’ for women in a Muslim-majority country.

      • 0
        0

        [B]
        Any social formation has the inviolable right to decide for itself the style of administration it deems best for it’s constituents.
        External players have absolutely no right to impose what they consider to be the ‘best’ system of government on the members of such a social formation. Every system has it’s plus and minus factors. No system is perfect – not even the much-vaunted ‘Western Democratic System’.
        ‘Freedom’ is not an absolute concept. The operationalizing of the concept, ‘freedom’, depends heavily on the context in which it is evaluated. Thus, ‘freedom’ for women in a western country has a different meaning from ‘freedom’ for women in a Muslim-majority country

        • 0
          0

          [C]
          “When someone asked Kirk Douglas (d.2020) which was his most memorable Thanksgiving Dinner. Kirk Douglas said Thanksgiving Dinner 1982 with the Afghan Mujahideen. He said while they were having dinner he told the Mujahideen that Thanksgiving was a special day in the USA. That is the day we Thank God for all he has given us. The Mujahideen said over here in Afghanistan we Thank God every day for what he has given us. Kirk Douglas said he continued eating his dinner quietly.”

          • 0
            0

            Ekelbroom,
            At the time, (1982), I believe these Mujahideen were painted as doughty freedom fighters fighting an evil Communist government . Strangely enough, the Communists were liberating women while the Mujahideen were doing the opposite. How times change!

            • 0
              0

              OC

              You are absolutely correct. According to Western standards, life for Afghan women was far better under the Communists than the Mujahideen. If the West was so concerned about the plight of Afghan women, why did it decide to support the Mujahideen financially and militarily against the Communists ?

      • 0
        0

        [B]
        The Taliban has already stated that under their administration the women in Afghanistan will enjoy the ‘freedoms’ as stipulated in (their brand of ) Islam. Criticism can then only be levelled at the Taliban if they fail to deliver this promise.
        The initial indications are that Taliban2021 is different from Taliban2001. They have for starters permitted higher education for women although under strict conditions. These tentative efforts at ‘liberalization’ must be consolidated and encouraged to strengthen the hands of the moderates among the Taliban. To confront the religious beliefs of the conservatives and to promote activities (such as street protests) aimed at de-stabilizing the administration could be counter-productive.

    • 1
      0

      I disagree, ekelbroom.
      .
      It is horrible fellows like Crown Prince MBS who live in palaces who force their women into burkas.
      .
      I was in Omani villages from 1988 to 1991. The country has less oil wealth than others in that huge Arabian Peninsula (Yeman has nothing at all). Their ruling dynasty is, however, older than most others. Being sea-farers, they had established themselves on the island of Zanzibar. They conquered some hinterland, married blacks, and when Europe expanded, sold them slaves from further inland. The Sultan resided in Zanzibar and governed Oman from there. In the late 19th Century they began to lose their African territories. They got back to Oman where there had been obscurantist rulers, the last of them being Saeed.
      .
      When I got there the good, progressive, gay Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed was well established. He passed away only about two years ago. Modernisation there was slower, more intelligent than in the rest of “Greater Arabia”. The women had a lot of work to do; they couldn’t be covered head to toe. They were devout (and hospitable to us) Muslims, but they behaved like normal humans!
      .
      I’m neither historian nor Muslim, and I have typed this fast. Please fine-tune, but what I say may provide a better guide to Provincial Afghanistan than what you suggest. I’ll try to relate it to what I have now learned of Afghanistan after this has sunk in.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe

      • 1
        0

        S.M,
        “It is horrible fellows like Crown Prince MBS who live in palaces who force their women into burkas.”
        Where did you get the idea that MBS is forcing women into burkas?
        This should blow your mind:
        https://youtu.be/VRTk7LKrTNw

        Don’t forget there are other countries where we can’t eat certain foods on certain days, or where it is a crime to insult religion, or where women in skimpy clothing are frowned upon. I don’t think I need to tell you where that is.

        • 1
          0

          Dear oc,
          .
          Thanks, I owe you many insights that I gained in the past. However, this is confusing. When I told you that Prince Turki sounds so cultured and all that, you told me this, above, dated 17th September:
          .
          “Also the country practically belongs to his family. It is the only country in the world named after its ruling family.”
          .
          That sounds critical of the tight political control exercised by the family.
          .
          The 115 minute video that I linked readers to the following day seemed to day that behind this facade things are very different.
          .
          So, I’ll have to think this out!

          .

          • 1
            0

            S.M,
            No, it isn’t contradictory. What I am trying to point out is that life in a family-run dictatorship under Sharia law isn’t as bad as some would like to make out. You can see in the video what things are like for ordinary Saudis. “Freedom” is very relative. Only 150 years ago, there were laws against blasphemy in the West, women didn’t work or vote, and 9 year olds worked in factories. So who is lecturing whom?

            • 0
              0

              Now that sounds reasonable enough, dear oc.
              .
              So even that film may be nothing more than clever window dressing. I noticed that we were allowed free access to the videos that the Brit had made about Saudi Arabia, but we’ve got to make a small payment to see him journeying in other countries.
              .
              Who paid for his jaunts in Saudi Arabia?

      • 1
        0

        Panini

        The Head of any household, who could be male or female, usually decides on the rules and regulations that the the members of the household are expected to observe strictly in the best interests of the whole family.
        .
        Suppose a Neighbor believes that a particular Household Head is too strict / harsh in the implementation of such rules / regulations. Does this give the Neighbor the unfettered right to intervene / interfere in matters pertaining to the well-being of the family next-door ?
        .
        In much the same way, do Western Countries have the unfettered right to dictate terms to Muslim Countries as to how their people should be permitted to live, simply because their current life-style does not meet the liberal standards of the West ?
        .
        My stance is pretty simple : Let Afghanistan be. Give them time to evolve their own lifestyle and their own style of governance. Let the World help them whenever and in what ever way possible. The unilateral decision made by the U.S Government to freeze the assets of the Afghan Central Bank amounting to nearly US$ 10 billion which it has in the U.S is definitely not the way forward.

  • 0
    0

    ekelbroom,
    .
    If we consider the over-all picture, I think that you’re right. That means that we allow history to take its course, and don’t make out that any of these religions and sects have much to do with morality.
    .
    Given that there was intervention:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rct6vbICbec
    .
    I know that I’ve given you that already. Gorbachev is one of my heroes, but what is said there about him is terrible.
    .
    We hated Trump, and he, it was, who betrayed the “Ghani-Saleh” government and began direct negotiations with the Taliban, in Qatar. However, the Taliban probably had some fear of Trump. They realised that Biden was a senile old duffer. Why was this allowed?
    .
    https://apnews.com/article/bagram-afghanistan-airfield-us-troops-f3614828364f567593251aaaa167e623
    .
    The Yankees were not at Kandahar, and it did not cave in until the American perfidy was clear:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xjl0OVlMpH4
    .
    That’s 42 minutes.
    .
    At the UN yesterday, Biden was pathetic. The new Iranian President spoke well. I’ve not been able to find anything on Gota’s performance.

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