Yet, nine years after a US-led invasion booted the Taliban from its bloodthirsty pedestal — and coinciding with al-Qaeda’s warning to dispatch female Afghan suicide bombers to the west — a cock-eyed London conference on Afghanistan has concluded that disarming the extremist militia group is as simple as bribing it with the Free World’s hard-earned cash.
Hosted by Britain, the United Nations and the Afghan “government,” the wobbly-kneed pow-wow drew the foreign ministers of more than 70 countries who set a 2011 deadline to woo — with grand hopes of peace and reintegration — insurgents in the junkie nation where opium production has soared since 2001, women and children continue to rot, and the regime of two-faced President Hamid Karzai is in bed with reputed terror mongers.
Days before the symposium, he reinstated Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum — one of Afghanistan’s most flagrant warlords — as chief of staff to the commander in chief of the Afghan army. And, during the conference, Karzai appealed on behalf of the Taliban, a deposed but re-emerging force notorious for consolidating its control with systematic massacres and drug-peddling.
Naturally, the Free World and its allies are at a loss over how to deal with another nutty Islamic nation running amok on primal instincts, without a cohesive agenda for its maintenance and survival, where political parties and allegiances are ever-clashing, and whose Muslim brotherhood couldn’t care less.
Foreign rehabilitators of Afghanistan should read James Michener’s well-researched and prophetic book, “Caravans,” written in 1963 and set in 1945 Kabul.
An excerpt about the narrator’s sighting of a pair of “fierce tribesmen,” one rugged, the other wearing makeup and effeminately clinging onto the latter’s arm, reads: “…It was this phenomena that accounted for the curious behavior of the men: having removed all women from public life, the Afghans realized that feminine traits were nevertheless desirable, and so allocated them to men…”
Failing that, the United Nations should heed its own catalogue of Taliban atrocities, which includes a chilling 2001 report about how executioners “skinned from head to chest” a young man named Mahr Ali, and dumped his body behind the former office of the relief organization, Oxfam, in the village of Bedmushkin.
Clearly, the remote and primordial land remains unchanged since Michener wrote his book, from which another divinitory passage reads: “…I noticed at the doorway to the mosque, three mullahs…with fierce eyes who appeared to be guarding the holy place and condemning me, a non-Muslim for passing so near. When I looked at them politely, they stared back with undisguised hatred and I thought, these are the men who rule Afghanistan.”