Apparently the Taliban are softening, even allowing girls to get an education. Clearly this heralds an opening to the West, a heady indication that their most repressive days are past them, and that soon they will take their place among the free people of the earth. Soon they will be following the teachings of Naomi Wolf and Thomas Paine.
Yaroslav Trofimov, in a piece that ran Sunday in the Wall Street Journal, noted that Maulvi Qalamuddin, who headed the Committee to Protect Virtue and Prevent Vice back when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, has completely changed his tune regarding the education of girls. Where once he oversaw the shutting-down, sometimes violently, of girls’ schools, now he says: “Education for women is just as necessary as education for men. In Islam, men and women have the same duty to pray, to fast—and to seek learning.”
Anyone who believes this, or believes that Maulvi Qalamuddin believes it, should contact me, as I have a lovely bridge to sell you. “War is deceit,” said Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, according to a famous hadith, and the Taliban are listening. But the Taliban are to be forgiven for thinking that this sort of thing would play well in Washington, for it very likely will. After all, Joe Biden is still the Vice President – the amiable dunce who recently said: “Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That’s critical. There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy because it threatens U.S. interests. If, in fact, the Taliban is able to collapse the existing government, which is cooperating with us in keeping the bad guys from being able to do damage to us, then that becomes a problem for us.”
In other words, the Taliban might win, so we have to surrender and act as if we’re just fine with that. And the alternative? Hamid Karzai, who got so annoyed with his American patrons last year that he threatened to join the Taliban himself. The Karzai government, that has been so helpful in “cooperating with us in keeping the bad guys from being able to do damage to us” that an increasing number of American and allied soldiers have recently fallen victim to surprise attacks from Afghan army forces that are supposed to be on our side.
There is no reliable way to distinguish a peaceful Muslim from a jihadist. These friendly fire, or supposedly friendly fire, attacks are yet more fruit of the unwillingness to make even a cursory attempt to take that fact into account. And our troops can’t help but notice. A classified coalition report that leaked last week noted: “U.S. soldiers’ perceptions of A.N.A. [Afghan National Army] members were extremely negative across categories,” including the categories “trustworthiness on patrol,” “honesty and integrity,” and “drug abuse.” One soldier said of the Afghans: “They are stoned all the time; some even while on patrol with us.” Another added: “They are pretty much gutless in combat; we do most of the fighting.”
So divorced from reality is the Western coalition’s view of the Taliban that Maulawi Noor ul Aziz, who was once a senior leader of jihadis in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province, was recently granted amnesty by the Karzai government. While he was in Nad-e Ali, Maulawi frequently targeted British troops. And so who, of course, is funding the program to grant amnesty to former Taliban fighters, in the fond hope that they will give up jihad for a normal life? Why, the British, of course. Who else?
And so now the Taliban are fine with girls going to school. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid revealed what was behind this when he explained: “During the past Taliban regime the government would make some hasty decisions, but now we are careful and deliberate.” Has the Taliban actually given up on their intention to impose Sharia upon Afghanistan, in its most virulent, violent form? No. Has the Taliban actually renounced, reformed, or modified any of its foundational principles? It has not.
Nonetheless, the “war is deceit” game is so much easier and more fun to play when you have a target so willing, even eager, to be deceived. And in the Western media and official Washington, the Taliban have not one, but two easy marks. How they must be laughing in Kabul.
Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of ten books, eleven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad.