'Taliban bad. Save the women!', by Ultan Banan. Ruminations on politics.

Taliban bad. Save the women!


“History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.”

Yeah, it does feel like that sometimes. Right now, for instance. You look at the pages of any UK or US newspaper today, and you may be having flashbacks to around the early 2000s, right about the time when Blair and Bush were sounding the drums of war on Afghanistan. If you’re old enough, you’ll remember much how it went the first time round. It went something like this:

The USA was attacked in September 2001. Blame was immediately assigned to Osama Bin Laden, a mujahideen harboured by Afghanistan. Afghanistan (which was conveniently on a list of countries that was being targeted by the US for regime change) found itself in the Empire’s crosshairs. The bombing started. The propaganda campaign went into full swing, and all those who justifiably weren’t convinced by the wild and implausible 9/11 story, or who simply didn’t have the stomach for another American war, were assaulted with tales of Taliban wickedness, particularly against the poor women of Afghanistan, who lived lives of abject misery under the boot of the evil, hairy, patriarchal terrorists. Once the West was suitably enraged, our boys moved in and the Taliban went into hiding, and a CIA-trained neo-colonial government was installed in their wake. Hurrah! And they all lived happily ever after.

Well, not so much.

Twenty years later and the evil, hairy terrorists are back. And what of the women? Well, the Western liberal warmongers are terrified for them all over again:

Thank the Lord for our armchair warriors, eh? (Note where the article appearing on CNBC originates: The Brookings Institution.)

Do I sound facetious? Well, I’m not sure how else to respond to this outpouring of crocodile tears. Where were the voices of protest against the illegal military occupation in the first place? Opposition to the bombing of weddings, hundreds of women and children killed by Reaper drones? I don’t recall too much noise on that. What about the CIA heroin trade, hmm? Any takers? Nah, all quiet.

There’s noise, but it’s all about the bad, hairy terrorists. Get this – Ahmad Massoud, leader of the NRF (National Resistance Front, a hastily assembled anti-Taliban movement) was given an editorial spread in the Washington Post to beg for help from his handlers to fight the Taliban. If you don’t know who Ahmad Massoud is, it may be enough to know that he received training at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (yes, read MI6 asset). What can you gather from this, then? Well, you wouldn’t be far wrong if you surmised that there are elements of British and US intelligence who are still convinced that they can rid Afghanistan of the Taliban and who are now disseminating their propaganda in the Western media to bring about public consensus on the issue. And along with all that, we’ll see more renting of garments and gnashing of teeth over the plight of the poor women of Afghanistan.

Let me be clear: Do I believe that the women who live under Taliban rule have a hard life? Yes, absolutely. Do I wish that those who desire to escape, could? Yes. But will I lend an ear to any more appeals from the Guardian on raising awareness about their plight? No, fuck off. I’m done with the sleek and covert war propaganda. This is what I would say to war hawks, those insidious pricks who huddle and slither in the background and seem to have access to all the major media houses: It’s not your fucking country. Leave it alone, stay out. Just like you did in Iraq and Libya (even if I’m not convinced the same cunts are still up to some underhand shit in those countries), leave it to the Afghans to sort out the shitshow you’ve dropped on their doorstep. The last twenty shameful years in Afghanistan is one slice of history that does not need repeating.

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 ‘Taliban bad. Save the women!’, by Ultan Banan. Please note: flash fiction, nonfiction and all other content is the sole work of Black Tarn. Ask before republishing.

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