The Safe Haven Myth: Taliban Commander Denounces Al-Qaeda

In an interview with a top Taliban commander, the safe haven myth is dealt another blow (via: ThinkProgress).

New York Times:

“At least 70 percent of the Taliban are angry at Al Qaeda,” Maulvi said. “Originally, the Taliban were naïve and ignorant of politics and welcomed Al Qaeda into their homes.

“Part of the problem with Al Qaeda was that the Afghans around Jalalabad are in the habit of welcoming everyone who comes. They do an attan [Pashtun dance] for them. To tell the truth, I was relieved at the death of Osama. Through his policies, he destroyed Afghanistan. If he really believed in jihad he should have gone to Saudi Arabia and done jihad there, rather than wrecking our country.”

The same Taliban commander also called al-Qaeda a “plague” in the interview. As Ali Gharib notes, “In 2010, Ahmed Rashid reported that Taliban leader Mullah Omar pledged that a Taliban return to power in Afghanistan ‘would pose no threat to neighboring countries — implying that al-Qaeda would not be returning to Afghanistan.'”

This was knowable before Obama decided to surge troops in Afghanistan and waste additional hundreds of billions of dollars there. Indeed, the administration was fully aware of what a crapshoot the mission was, but did it always. As David Rothkopf, editor of Foreign Policy, wrote back in May:

The president opposed his own policy of sending in more troops to stabilize Afghanistan from the moment he approved it after months and months of messy internal wrangling. So why did he do it? The answer is that that Obama was leaving Iraq and could not afford to look weak in Afghanistan at the same time or he would come under political attack from the right. Getting out faster might also alienate the military to the point that public discord would damage the president.

At the time, I called this what it was: war for political repute. Hundreds of billions of dollars were wasted, thousands of soldiers and civilians were killed so that Obama could avoid being called a wimp by Republicans.

6 thoughts on “The Safe Haven Myth: Taliban Commander Denounces Al-Qaeda”

  1. I feel like I’m often looking for interesting things to read about a variety of subjects, but I manage to include your blog among my reads every day because you have interesting entries that I look forward to.

  2. NATO caused a lot more death and destruction in Afghanistan and Iraq than Al Qaeda did on 9/11. The US media misleads its people into believing what the presidents say.

  3. The overarching question must be: what in the world are we doing in Afghanistan? The Taliban nor any other Afghan had any role in 9/11, the Taliban offerred to surrender Osama bin Laden to the Bush Administration on numerous occassions while keeeping him under house arrest to prevent him creating problems for Afghanistan, yet each overture was rebuffed. We also know that months prior to 9/11, our stated retributive justification for war in Afghanistan, at a conference in Berlin during the Summer of 2001, Pakistan's Secretary Niaz Naik was forewarned of an impending US attack against Afghanistan, slated to take place "before the snow flies in October." The American people have been lied to about the motivations for war in Afghanistan. Think oil-pipelines, lithium etc., and freezing China and Russia out of the resource-running new "Great Game."

  4. NATO caused a lot more death and destruction in Afghanistan and Iraq than Al Qaeda did on 9/11. The US media misleads its people into believing what the presidents say.

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