Taliban: “We Have Won The War and America Has Lost”
“We have won the war and America has lost,” were the words echoed by Haji Hekmat, a local mayor for Afghanistan’s Islamist army and shadow government, the Taliban after President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he would withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan before the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
“We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago,” Biden said. “That cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021.” The war has cost trillions of dollars in addition to the lives of more than 2,000 U.S. service members and at least 100,000 Afghan civilians.
The President formally announced the withdrawal in the White House Treaty Room — the same place George W. Bush announced the launch of the war on October 7, 2001, just weeks after the 9/11 attacks.
Yet what will be the end results once the Americans pull out of Afghanistan?
One thing is obvious, there will be an increase of human rights violations. Why? Because the Taliban jihadists, who officially call themselves the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, have vowed to make the draconian sharia the law of the land. As one senior Taliban commander told TheWashington Post last month, “This fight is not to share power. This war is for religious purposes in order to bring an Islamic government and implement Islamic law.”
The Taliban has essentially won the war against the U.S., yet it was not so long ago that they were on the verge of being totally defeated. How in the world did they manage to turn things around?
How the Taliban Won the War
Notwithstanding victories in 2015 and 2016 in Kunduz, Helmand — largest producer of opium in the country — the Taliban jihadists faced three years of heavy casualties and military setbacks from U.S. special operations forces, drones, and airstrikes. In fact, as stated by Carter Malkasian, a former Senior Adviser to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
“In a candid moment in 2019, one of the group’s negotiators in Doha admitted to me that U.S. airstrikes had killed many Taliban and impeded their ability to capture territory. The 14,000 American boots then on the ground had created a costly stalemate, and the Taliban in Doha readily acknowledged that as long as the United States remained in Afghanistan, they would be unable to achieve a military victory. This environment offered at least some hope that peace talks could lead to compromise.”
The situation changed markedly in February 2020 in their favor after then-President Donald Trump struck a deal with the Taliban to pull out all U.S. troops by May 1, 2021, in exchange for certain counterterrorism guarantees, a reduction in violence, and a promise to begin intra-Afghan peace talks.
Under the U.S.-Taliban agreement, the U.S. promised to reduce its military personnel to 8,600 troops within 135 days. But the Trump administration withdrew even more soldiers than anticipated, thereby making it altogether impossible for the U.S. to effectively advise Afghan forces and support continued heavy airstrikes. Less than a month after intra-Afghan talks began in September, the U.S. States had drawn down to between 4,000 and 4,500 troops, opening the door to Taliban advances — there are now approximately 2,500 troops left.
On October 27, at the beginning of the pomegranate harvest, as many as 3,500 Taliban terrorists attacked the farms and countryside surrounding Kandahar City, taking control of regions such as Arghandab, Panjwai, and Zharey that had been firmly under the Afghan government control since the U.S. surge of 2009 to 2011. And just last week on April 7, they launched a rocket attack that targeted Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan, a base that hosts hundreds of U.S. and coalition troops — the Pentagon confirmed no casualties in the attack.
What will Happen Next?
Taliban members believe in restoring peace and security in Afghanistan, yet this is an impossibility because of how the Islamic religion is observed by them, i.e., living by sharia law as dictated by archaic and draconian Quranic verses, as well as by the hadiths (sayings and acts) of the Prophet Muhammad that instigate violence and sustain the inequality between a man and a woman.
Aside the innocent civilians who will have to deal with the ongoing violence of the Taliban, those who have to lose from peace are the Afghani women and young girls. For example, females over the age of 10 are prohibited from receiving an education, and televisions and social media are banned.
Phyllis Chesler, author of American Bride in Kabul, recently said: “I do fear for the Afghan people — particularly women and young girls — if and when America leaves, especially those who have shown so much courage in standing up for themselves against incredible odds.”
Under Taliban rule women were
- denied medical treatment for illnesses if a male chaperone did not accompany them;
- publicly beaten if their burqas slipped or if an ankle or a strand of hair showed;
- stoned to death for “adultery” when raped;
- even forbidden to laugh out loud as it was considered improper for a stranger to hear a woman’s voice.
Afghanistan also has the 20th highest absolute number of women married or in a union before the age of 18 in the world: 522,000. It is estimated that 28 percent of Afghan girls are married off before the age of 18 and 4 percent are married before their 15th birthday, though the numbers are believed to be much higher. This is due to the hadiths that testify Muhammad’s favorite wife, Aisha, was only six when he met her, and nine when the marriage consummated:
Narrated Hisham’s father: Khadija died three years before the Prophet departed to Medina. He stayed there for two years or so and then he married Aisha when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consumed that marriage when she was nine years old. —Sahih al-Bukhari 58, 236
One Afghan woman, Basireh Heydari, a student at Herat University, was recently quoted as saying: “The Americans are leaving. We have terrible days ahead with the Taliban. I’m worried they won’t let me leave the house (let alone attend college).”
Another Afghan woman student, Salma Ehrari, wanted the world to know that the Taliban “is fooling them, they are not changed.” She holds the Americans responsible for what will happen – not the Taliban – since “this is just the Taliban’s nature.”
Even with the U.S. military presence, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs reported 6,500 incidents of violence against women in 2019. The previous year, attackers slit the throat of three people working at a school in Nangarhar before lighting the building on fire. Video emerged last year of a woman being stoned to death as a mob chanted Allahu Akhbar (Allah is the greatest) — a proclamation that the Islamic god is greater than the Judaic or Christian understanding of God.
There are no layouts to ensure that the Taliban will disavow its sharia-based human rights abuses against women, such as polygamy, child marriage, being forced to wear the burqa, stoning and flogging for adultery, imprisonment and beating for running away from their abusive husbands, denying them education and participation in the work force, etc. In fact, Taliban official and former governor of Herat Khairullah Khairkhwa — he was once a prisoner in Guantanamo Bay; released in 2014 — recently confirmed that the sharia will continue to be a part of Afghanistan under their rule since it was ordained by the Prophet Muhammad.
Consequences for the U.S.
U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham stated: “A full withdrawal from Afghanistan is dumber than dirt and devilishly dangerous. President Biden will have, in essence, cancelled an insurance policy against another 9/11,” Graham said in a statement.”
Graham went on to that the U.S. troops still in Afghanistan are “an insurance policy against another 9/11,” adding that “wars end when the threat is eliminated.”
“I find it ironic that,” said Graham, “given the sacrifices we’ve made to move Afghanistan forward, prevent another 9/11, and ensure the enduring defeat of al Qaeda and ISIS, that on the 20th anniversary of the attack we’re paving the way for another attack.”
While ISIS has lost its caliphate in Syria and Iraq, in the forbidding mountains of northeastern Afghanistan the jihadists are subtly gaining a foothold, recruiting new fighters and plotting attacks on the U.S. and other Western countries, according to U.S. and Afghan security officials.
Henry Kissinger once said: “Every victory is only the price of admission to a more difficult problem.” Unfortunately, just as it was with the Vietnam War, a lack of clear directive from the U.S. government as to the end goal has lead to another military defeat, which has only lead, at great cost, to a problem that cannot be resolved by making “peace” with the enemy. And regrettably, as can be gathered by Islam’s fourteen-hundred-year history, making peace with Islamists is as imbecilic and futile as British Prime Minister’s Neville Chamberlain’s peace accord with Adolf Hitler.
To all the brave men and women in uniform, thank you for your service! A pity, however, that this twenty-year war ends in a victory for Islamic militants who, aside oppressing women and girls, are now in a better situation to potentially organize an attack greater than the one on 9/11.
Mario Alexis Portella is a priest of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Florence, Italy. He has a doctorate in canon law and civil law from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome; he also holds a M. A. in Medieval History from Fordham University, as well as a B.A. in Government & Politics from St. John’s University. He is also author of Islam: Religion of Peace? – The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up.