Cal Thomas: The mission of the Taliban

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, September 12th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.  Knowing one’s enemy is crucial in foreign relations. Here’s WORLD Radio commentator Cal Thomas to size up the Taliban.

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: President Trump was right to cancel a “secret” meeting with leaders of the Taliban and the Afghan government. His decision followed two bomb attacks by the terrorist group that killed 10 civilians, an American soldier and a Romanian service member in Kabul last week.

The president is eager to fulfill a desire to withdraw remaining American forces in what has been one of America’s longest wars. And who isn’t?

But terrorism does not fall under a single umbrella. It is not just al-Qaeda or ISIS, although all Islamist terrorist groups appear to have the same objective: Kill Americans, subjugate women, eliminate Israel, and impose Sharia law across the globe.

The prospect of a peace agreement would normally be cause for celebration, except in this case U.S. negotiators don’t appear to know who and what they are dealing with. As he ended American involvement in the Vietnam War with the Paris Peace Accords, President Nixon declared “peace with honor.” It wasn’t long before the communist North took over South Vietnam and murdered “collaborators.”

A premature U.S. pullout from Afghanistan will fulfill the late Osama bin Laden’s prophecy. He said based on America’s Vietnam experience, the United States has no staying power—and all the terrorists have to do is wait us out.

A Taliban spokesman confirmed this in a statement to the London Times. He declared the group’s unwillingness to even agree to a ceasefire, much less a peace deal. Quoting now: “It is not possible for us. We will fight. We have fought for 18 years and we will fight for a hundred years. We will continue our ‘jihad.’”

There is something else the secular West doesn’t, or worse, refuses to understand. Radical Islamists lie to “infidels.” Lying can be not only permitted, but obligatory, if it advances the cause of Islam.

You can count on the Taliban to say whatever it needs to regain power and continue its terrorism. 

Some years ago I met with a group of Afghan women who had managed to escape their country when the Taliban ruled. They included teachers, lawyers and businesswomen. These women told horrific stories of life under the Taliban. 

They were forced to paint over the windows of their homes and forbidden to leave without a male relative. Should they take a bus anywhere, a male relative had to take the coin from their hands and deposit it in the collection box.

Sadly, there is no reform movement among the Taliban. We should address them with clear-eyed moral clarity. That excludes anything resembling unilateral withdrawal. 

The “war on terrorism” is unique because it is based on religious extremism and its accompanying ideology. That means a willingness—even eagerness—to die for their cause and their god. If a peace deal does not preserve U.S. interests (and American lives), it will only ensure more trouble for the years ahead.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Cal Thomas.

(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File) In this May 28, 2019 file photo, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban group’s top political leader, second left, arrives with other members of the Taliban delegation for talks in Moscow, Russia. 

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