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COLUMN: Afghanistan no cause for celebration

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For some far-right fanatics, the Taliban’s triumph in Afghanistan was a victory for nationalism and religion and a defeat for the Biden administration.

As the Washington Post reported, “The SITE Intelligence Group noted that some people saw the Taliban’s victory as ‘a lesson in love for the homeland, for freedom, and for religion.’”

“The Taliban is a conservative, religious force, the U.S. is godless and liberal,” wrote influential far-right operative Nick Fuentes, a white supremacist ally of U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., and “unequivocally a positive development.”

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., called the Taliban “more legitimate” than “the current government here.”

Afghan women made short-lived gains in education, political representation and economic pursuits during the U.S. presence in their nation.

But Fox News’ Tucker Carlson applauded the Taliban victory because “it turns out that the people of Afghanistan don’t actually want a gender studies symposium.”

“They don’t hate their own masculinity. They don’t think it’s toxic,” he added. “They like the patriarchy. Some of their women like it too. So now they’re getting it all back.”

Every woman’s dream scenario: no rights, no education.

Despite this celebration of religious tyranny, nationalistic terror, male chauvinism, weapon idolatry and eradication of representative government, the Taliban triumphed largely because of the ineptitude of four U.S. administrations.

The U.S. invaded Afghanistan with the avowed purpose to oust a Taliban regime that gave safe haven to al-Qaida, perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Once cheered as heroes for overthrowing a corrupt Soviet-backed regime, the Taliban’s religious dictates and mismanagement were despised. A 2004 survey of Afghans showed 80% backed the U.S. invasion.

Then the U.S. blew it, trying to instantly remake Afghanistan into a free-market democracy although the majority was illiterate and its agrarian economy dependent on opium.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction estimates the U.S. spent $6.4 trillion on war-related activities in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan (which got military aid despite being a terrorist haven).

The Bush administration lavished money on corrupt warlords, the Obama administration built industrial parks without businesses and expensive power plants Afghans couldn’t maintain.

Donald Trump, who wanted the U.S. out, released 5,000 Taliban prisoners without anything in return (sans any conservative outcry except for Mitt Romney). His Afghan expert Lisa Curtis called the Doha agreement “very weak.” The art of the bad deal.

Joe Biden inherited Doha. Abandoning it would have meant reversing Trump’s troop drawdown and re-engaging Taliban forces. Instead, Biden and his military advisers staged a bungled withdrawal, based in part on assurances by President Ashraf Ghani that the Afghan military would put up a fight. He fled with a reported $169 million.

Fuentes, Gaetz and Carlson may be celebrating the Taliban, but it is no cause for joy.

Saul Shapiro is the retired editor of The Courier, living in Cedar Falls.

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