Opinion | ‘Deeply Troubling’ in Afghanistan


As the U.S. continues its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan ahead of President Biden’s Sept. 11 deadline, the Taliban is rapidly advancing around the country. Image: Reuters

As the Taliban continue to gain ground in Afghanistan, the brutal reality of their advance is becoming hard to ignore. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday responded to “reports of atrocities committed by the Taliban in areas that it’s taken over that are deeply, deeply troubling.”

What did he expect would happen as the U.S. pulled out precipitously, leaving the Kabul government in the lurch? Mr. Blinken added that the recent reports “certainly do not speak well to the Taliban’s intentions for the country as a whole.” No kidding.

If the Taliban want international recognition or sanctions lifted, he said, “taking over the country by force and abusing the rights of its people is not the path.” Pleading isn’t the best strategy with an adversary.

The Taliban have a medieval worldview, and their goal is to subject the whole country to it. Take amputation as a punishment for theft. It’s rare now, per a Journal article from May, but “Zabiullah Mujahid, the movement’s spokesman, said amputations should be reinstated once a sufficiently stable system is in place, including healthcare to attend to cut-off limbs.”

Got that? They’ll resume hacking off body parts as soon as they have the wherewithal to bandage the stumps. This is not the outcome President Biden has told Americans to be ready to accept. If he wants to avoid it, he should give Kabul the air-power and other support it needs.