N. Peter Kramer’s Weekly Column
Once again, the Taliban rule Afghanistan. The western forces, led by the US, have not even completed their ignominious withdrawal, yet the country has been overtaken by the Taliban. The retreat was originally the idea of ‘badman’ President Donald Trump, so heavily criticised by western leaders. But we are seeing his successor, the widely acclaimed President Joe Biden, accept the idea with open arms and accelerate the date for finishing the withdrawal to (mind you) 9/11…. All US allies have followed the lead (of course) with great enthusiasm.
Once the Taliban assisted the Americans to fight the Russians and push them out of Afghanistan. President George W. Bush’s secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld struck a special deal with them, visualised in an unforgettable picture. He provided the Taliban the lethal weapons to chase the Russian army. After the Russians were gone and the Taliban changed its position, the same weapons were used to attack the Americans.
It is hard to find amongst leaders anywhere in the western world any serious interest in the dramatic effect of the withdrawal for the Afghan people, especially for women. But also for the Afghan men who cooperated with the allies in the new Afghan army, translators, well-meaning local politicians, police officers, etcetera.
The only sound you hear, is the complaint of EU member Lithuania, that now has to receive a flood of Afghan refugees entering via the Russian border. May be the EU can make a kind of “Erdogan deal’ with President Vladimir Putin?