The Taliban’s lightning-fast takeover of Afghanistan was amazingly achieved with relatively little killing and bloodshed.
Since the rout of the government, an entity essentially installed by the U.S., the Taliban has been assuring the Afghan people that its governance style will be more moderate than under its previous rule. Many people in Afghanistan are very fearful and particularly skeptical about the idea that the Taliban will change its ways. Many in the U.S. share this skepticism and view the comments by the Taliban about including women in government an amnesty and honoring human rights as a public relations spin.
In contrast, very few people in the U.S. political arena or the corporate-controlled U.S. media express any skepticism about the U.S. and its trustworthiness. It appears the possibility that the U.S. is not trustworthy never crosses their minds. However, if it does, they realize that it is likely not to their political or professional advantage to raise this possibility with others.
For example, the hypocritical U.S. political/media elite are now raising concerns about the safety and well-being of the Afghan population under the Taliban’s rule. However, it appears that these concerns about Afghan lives were not a major issue for these elites when U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld rejected a proposed surrender by the Taliban in December 2001, a surrender that would have brought an end to most of the fighting there.
These elite also didn’t show much concern about Afghan lives during the past 20 years when the U.S. forces were bombing and then militarily occupying the country. In addition, the fighting with the Taliban, especially the aerial campaign, continued throughout these past 20 years and killed a large number of civilians.
In fact, according to a excellent recent article by Jim Lobe in Responsible Statecraft, in 2020 the corporate-controlled media mostly ignored Afghanistan, only giving it a total of five minutes of weekday evening news coverage on the three national broadcast networks (ABC, CBS and NBC). There is little evidence of any real concern being shown about the safety and well-being of the Afghanistan people before the Taliban recaptured control of Afghanistan.
Moreover, the U.S. has denied the Taliban access to $9.5 billion of Afghan government funds and has worked with the IMF to cut off aid to Afghanistan. These acts clearly demonstrate a hypocritical lack of concern for the welfare of the Afghan people who are facing desperate conditions.
There are certainly grounds for being very skeptical about the Taliban and its claims of moderation. However, there are overwhelming grounds for doubting U.S. claims as well.
Under the Trump Administration, the U.S. reneged on the Obama Administration’s agreement with Iran and other nations on the enrichment of uranium. The Biden Administration broke the Trump agreement with the Taliban for the withdrawal of U.S. troops by May 1, 2021. The George W. Bush Administration used the false claim of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction as the basis for its illegal attack on Iraq. The Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations all broke the George H.W. Bush promise to the Soviet Union not to expand NATO 1 inch to the east if the Soviet Union would allow the unification of East and West Germany.
This shameful record of the U.S. duplicity stretches all the way back to its very beginning when it broke its treaties with American Indians.
Afghanistan’s future is uncertain, but its relations with its neighbors will play a key role.