Afghanistan: We’re paying the Taliban for the privilege of blood on our hands

Hundreds of Americans remained trapped in the war-torn country, the Taliban itself has beheaded female athletes and posted grisly pictures on social media while they target female judges for execution.  Incredibly, we’re still sending them hundreds of millions of dollars in “humanitarian aid” and insist human rights is the cornerstone of our international diplomacy.

Although there remain hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans left behind in Afghanistan and the American public has yet to receive satisfactory answers as to how such a catastrophe unfolded under President Biden, the mainstream media, not surprisingly, has largely lost interest in the story.  The glaring headlines detailing our defeat in August and September have long since given way to more pressing concerns, like what insane new tax scheme progressives can come up with to pay for their massive spending spree.  In the meantime, the Taliban itself has continued consolidating power in the country, jockeying for a role on the world stage, and talking up a humanitarian game while revealing their brutal inner selves.  How brutal? Did you know that a female athlete was recently beheaded for the crime of competing in a volleyball tournament and the pictures of the beheading were posted to social media?

The New York Post appears to be the only outlet that covered the story in the United States.  They report that “Mahjabin Hakimi, one of the best players in the Kabul Municipality Volleyball Club, was slaughtered in the capital city of Kabul as troops searched for female sports players, her coach told the Persian Independent.”  The coach herself used a pseudonym, Suraya Afzali, because she was scared for her life to reveal what happened.  Her family has been threatened by the Taliban to keep silent, even as the Persian Independent reports that images “of Hakimi’s severed neck were published on Afghan social media.”  As a result, other female athletes have gone into hiding.  The International Business Times reported that only two of the players from the Afghan women’s national volleyball team managed to escape the country prior to our botched withdrawal.  “Female athletes left in Afghanistan, especially members of the Afghan women’s national volleyball team who have competed in foreign and domestic competitions as well as appeared in media programs, are under serious threat.”  “All the players on the volleyball team and the rest of the women athletes are in a bad situation and in despair and fear,” the coach said.

Athletes aren’t the only females under threat in Afghanistan either.  The Taliban has also been actively hunting any woman judges who had the audacity to rule in cases where men were involved.  The New York Times actually reported on this atrocity, albeit far from the front page.  “When Nabila was a judge in Afghanistan’s Supreme Court, she granted divorces to women whose husbands were sometimes jailed for assaulting or kidnapping them. Some of the men threatened to kill her after they had served their time, she said.”  Nabila is now in hiding, looking for an escape from Afghanistan for her, her husband, and her three daughters.  “I lost my job and now I can’t even go outside or do anything freely because I fear these freed prisoners,” Nabila told the Times by phone from a secret, safe house. “A dark future is awaiting everyone in Afghanistan, especially female judges.”  All told, the Taliban has identified approximately 200 women as targets, using government records to find them.

These women are trying to get out of the country, but the Taliban is in full control.  Many female Afghans don’t have a national ID card or a passport, and cannot travel freely.  The World Bank believes this is true of over half the entire female population, but only about 6% of men.  Even if a woman does have the documents, her family members might not.  Nor are native Afghani’s the only ones struggling to get out of the country.  Americans are also stuck, though the precise number keeps on changing and whether or not we are actively flying people out remains a mystery.

On September 27, Business Insider claimed there were about 100 Americans trapped in the country.  On October 22, CNN put the number at “close to 200.”  Last week, Fox News claimed the Pentagon confirmed it was “nearly 450.”  The State Department, however, must be using some other list because they keep finding more Americans, adding to the confusion.  Two weeks ago, they were in touch with 363 American citizens, 176 who wanted to leave, but then the numbers changed in testimony before the Senate last Tuesday.  Colin Kahl, an undersecretary for defense policy, said, “In terms of how many American citizens we estimate are currently Afghanistan, the Department of State is in contact with 196 American citizens who are ready to depart, and arrangements are being made for them to do so either via air or over ground, and another 243 American citizens have been contacted and are not ready to depart, either because they want to stay in Afghanistan or are not ready.”

For this part, Secretary of State Antony Blinken insists we’ve successfully extracted around 340 Americans since August 31.  On Sunday, he told CNN, “Since August 31, as of today, we’ve gotten out — of the Americans left who said that they wanted to leave — about 340.”  Secretary Blinken continued, attempting to provide some explanation for the large discrepancies, “What’s happened since is this: more people have come forward in two ways. There were some small number of Americans in Afghanistan who didn’t want to leave who have now seen that we’ve successfully been able to get some of the few remaining Americans out who have now come forward and said, ‘We do want to leave,’ and there are a couple hundred of those who are ready to leave and we will work to get them out.”  These efforts have not prevented families around the world from expressing their frustration with the administration and hostages in general.   The Associated Press recently reported that “Relatives of more than two dozen American hostages and wrongful detainees held overseas told President Joe Biden in a letter on Monday that they questioned his administration’s commitment to bringing their loved ones home.”

In the meantime, the Taliban themselves have been promoting a softer image and demanding more international aid to prevent a “humanitarian” crisis.  At issue are some $9 billion in assets in Afghan central bank reserves which have been locked by the European Union and the United States.  “The money belongs to the Afghan nation. Just give us our own money,” ministry spokesman Ahmad Wali Haqmal told Reuters last week. “Freezing this money is unethical and is against all international laws and values.”  The Taliban is claiming they need this money to stave off an economic collapse and a potential mass-migration to Europe, no comment on the ethics of beheadings and hunting women.   “The situation is desperate and the amount of cash is dwindling,” explained Shah Mehrabi, a board member of the Afghan Central Bank. “There is enough right now…to keep Afghanistan going until the end of the year. Europe is going to be affected most severely, if Afghanistan does not get access to this money.”  Mr Mehrabi continued, “You will have a double whammy of not being able to find bread and not being able to afford it. People will be desperate. They are going to go to Europe.”

The Taliban finds themselves in this bind because almost three quarters of government operations were financed by outside grants.  The country itself only generates about $4.4 million per day in revenue, not nearly enough to meet basic governmental obligations.  They estimate about $150 million more is needed on a monthly basis, but they certainly don’t seem willing to soften their hardline positions much to keep the country solvent.  Aside from the atrocities, the best they are saying is that women will be allowed to go to school, though not in the same classes as men.  The plan is to respect human rights only in the framework of Sharia Law.  Unfortunately, Sharia Law is largely incompatible with anything resembling traditional notions of human rights.  For example, when asked if the Taliban would respect the right of the LGBTQ community, Mr. Haqmal said “LGBT… That’s against our Sharia law.”  The Taliban’s position has not changed and their actions couldn’t make it more clear:  They care nothing for the West’s vision of human rights, and will not be moved by US State Department propaganda about pronouns or our commitment to defend “universal human rights and democratic values,” especially when we keep betraying those values by sending them large amounts of money.

Yes, you read that correctly.  We’ve been paying off the Taliban since we left, big time.  Just last week, the United States announced another $144 million in no-strings attached aid.  This brings the total up to $474 million this year, “the largest amount of assistance from any nation” according to National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne.  “To be clear, this humanitarian assistance will benefit the people of Afghanistan and not the Taliban, whom we will continue to hold accountable for the commitments they have made,” Secretary Blinken said in an accompanying statement.  At this point, it’s difficult to trust anything the administration says.  First, why would the Taliban even consider changing their anti-woman and LGBTQ ways when we are forking over large amounts of cash, almost enough to keep them afloat, anyway?  This is like asking a drug addicted teenager to abstain from illegal substances while tripling their allowance.  Second, how stupid does Blinken think we are to claim this money won’t benefit the Taliban?  When was the last time we sent cash to a theocratic, war-torn, starving country and helped anyone but the oppressors?

To my knowledge, the answer to that would be never, and yet the spin continues on practically a daily basis.  Two months after departing with Biden’s promise we’d leave no one behind, we don’t even know how many people are there and the list we do have keeps growing, but still we keep sending the Taliban cash even as they are beheading female athletes and hunting female judges.  In other words, we’re paying for the privilege of blood on our hands and the media appears to lack the curiosity to cover the story.

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