Monday, 16 August 2021

"We’re outsiders in Afghanistan, and this is Occam’s razor for explaining the Taliban..."

"Someone in Afghanistan must think the Taliban on the other side are good for something too. Otherwise there wouldn’t be an 'Afghan issue.' 
   "The Taliban offers bad law—chopping off hands, stoning desperate housewives, the usual things. Perhaps you have to live in a place that has had no law for a long time—since the Soviets invaded 31 years ago—before you welcome bad law as an improvement.
    "An Afghan civil society activist, whose work has put him under threat from the Taliban, admitted, 'People picked Taliban as the lesser of evils.' He explained that lesser of evils with one word, 'stability.' 
A woman member of the Afghan parliament said that it was simply a fact that the Taliban insurgency was strongest 'where the government is not providing services.' Rule of law being the first service a government must provide....  [W]e have been—ruled. We have been ruled, not governed.”
    "A journalist for Radio Azadi said, 'Afghans were happy in principle that Americans brought peace and democracy. But when rival tribes began to use the U.S. to crush each other, the attitude of the Afghan people changed.' 
    "Afghans think Americans have sided with the wrong people. It’s not that Afghans think Americans have sided with the wrong people in a systematic, strategic, or calculated way. It’s just that we came to a place that we didn’t know much about, where there are a lot of sides to be on, and we started siding with this side and that side and the other side. We were bound to wind up on the wrong side sometimes.
    "We’re outsiders in Afghanistan, and this is Occam’s razor for explaining the Taliban…"
          ~ PJ O'Rourke, writing in 2010 as a 72-hour expert

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