Taliban leaders claim to have moderated their conduct, if not their beliefs, since they last ruled most of Afghanistan. The Biden administration would like to take them at their word, since thousands of Americans are now at the mercy of the terrorist group. But views of the Taliban being expressed in other countries are not so sanguine.
Take Germany, which had a vastly smaller footprint in Afghanistan than we did. The German government is sounding an alarm about Taliban atrocities directed against Afghans who worked for the German press:
Taliban fighters hunting a journalist for Germany’s public broadcaster have shot dead a member of his family and severely injured another.
Deutsche Welle (DW) said that the Taliban had been conducting a house-to-house search to find the journalist, who was now working in Germany. It said other members of the family were able to escape at the last moment and were now on the run.
Separately, the German government said today that a German civilian had been wounded by gunfire on his way to Kabul airport.
Peter Limbourg, director general of DW, said: “The killing of a close relative of one of our editors by the Taliban yesterday is inconceivably tragic, and testifies to the acute danger in which all our employees and their families in Afghanistan find themselves.
“It is evident that the Taliban are already carrying out organised searches for journalists, both in Kabul and in the provinces. We are running out of time.”
American reporters thought it was an outrageous infringement of their privileged status when President Trump responded aggressively to their attacks on him, rather than suffering in silence. It remains to be seen whether they will be concerned about the actual murder of journalists in another country. More:
[S]ome Afghan journalists have complained of having been beaten and their homes raided since the Taliban seized the capital Kabul on Sunday.
DW said that the Taliban had raided the homes of at least three of its journalists among others.
It said Nematullah Hemat of the private television station Ghargasht TV was believed to have been kidnapped by the Taliban, and Toofan Omar, the head of the private radio station Paktia Ghag Radio, was shot dead by Taliban fighters.
Two men, also presumably Taliban, shot and killed the translator Amdadullah Hamdard, a frequent contributor to Germany’s Die Zeit newspaper, on August 2 in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, DW said.
The German Journalists’ Association (DJV) issued a statement calling on the international community not to stand idly by while the relatives of journalists and charity workers were murdered in Afghanistan.
“According to reports received by the DJV, family members of journalists who no longer live in the country are currently being systematically hunted down in Kabul and other cities,” the DJV said. “In one case, the father was shot dead in front of his family. Afghan journalists living in Germany are begged by their families not to publish anything, lest the Taliban be led to the relatives. Similar scenes seem to be playing out in the non-governmental sector.”
Joe Biden has callously dismissed concerns about the Afghans who translated for American forces or otherwise cooperated with the U.S. The Germans are not so cavalier:
“It is not enough to have a few rescue flights take off from Kabul airport, which no Afghan family can reach at the moment,” said Frank Überall, the chairman of DJV. “The governments of the western states that have been present in Afghanistan have a duty not to hand over their most loyal supporters in the country to the revenge of the Islamists.”
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said on Monday that Germany may need to evacuate as many as 10,000 people from Afghanistan, including 2,500 Afghan support staff as well as human rights activists, lawyers and others whom the government sees at risk.
And the German presence was only a small fraction of ours. Still, their military has been deployed in the aftermath of the Biden debacle:
The German defence ministry said the German military, the Bundeswehr, was stepping up its presence with the dispatch of two helicopters to Kabul. “The aim is to transport people in need of protection from their place of residence in Kabul to the airport,” the ministry tweeted on Friday.
The helicopters are to be used by special forces of the KSK, Germany’s version of the SAS, media reports said.
Are we dealing with a kinder, gentler version of the Taliban? Clearly not. After 20 years, however, we are dealing with a more media-savvy version. I think the Taliban will “allow” American citizens and other Westerners to make their way to the Kabul airport, to the extent that the organization has control over its fighters, rather than taking hundreds or thousands of hostages, which it could easily do. But why? The Taliban has won the war, and once the Western press departs it will have carte blanche to do whatever it wants to its fellow Afghans.
There are two potential reasons to take hostages. The first is to humiliate America, but our humiliation is already complete with the Taliban’s victory and the resulting chaos which has been broadcast world-wide. The second is to ransom the hostages for money. But it makes much more sense for the Taliban to bargain in advance with the Biden administration, which it has over a barrel, to extract billions of dollars in exchange for not blocking Americans from getting to the airport.
Has that happened? I don’t know, your guess is as good as mine. But Obama paid off the Iranian mullahs, and I would be very surprised if, years from now, we don’t learn that Biden has paid off the Taliban. The same old Taliban, as we will see for years to come, to the extent that anyone pays attention.