With Friends Like These
We have no reason to be colluding with the Taliban.
Those are the words of Marine General Joseph Dunford, the commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, following President Hamid Karzai's most recent delusional outburst (which has many a precedent), that ISAF and the US Government are secretly working with the Taliban, and even had a part to play in the most recent deadly suicide bombings that took place in Afghanistan.
Why would the commander of an armed force that has sacrificed thousands of lives, spent billions of dollars, and worked for over a decade to fight the Taliban, find himself in the position of arguing that he is not colluding with the very people trying to kill his soldiers, and the Afghan people they are sent to protect? Because their "ally" in this endeavour is a man who oscillates frequently between occasional lucidity and erratic lunacy.
Questions about his mental stability aside, Karzai's commitment to democracy has already proven to be unreliable, he is evidently not very serious about standing up for women's rights, and if anyone could be accused of collusion with the Taliban, it would be the very man who sought to reach out to his "angry brothers", a phrase that has become ubiquitously and sarcastically quoted by Afghans fed up with their purple silk-robed leader, who has become more hostile to his ostensible allies on the ground in Afghanistan, than towards any of the atrocities committed by the angry brothers. Karzai has stacked his government with Taliban sympathizers, many of whom are working to reverse progress made earlier after the fall of the Taliban. And a deafening silence rings out of the Afghan presidential palace whenever the latest assassination of a female politician occurs, or a girls' school is burned to the ground, or vaccination workers are slaughtered, even as NATO, foreign embassies and multilateral agencies promptly and routinely release statements condemning such attacks. Karzai is too busy issuing decrees and bans on NATO, making the work of his supposed allies more complicated than it already is.
The presidential elections of 2014 could not come soon enough. In the meantime, there is no telling how much more damage Karzai will manage to bring about through his dupery and deceit in the long months ahead.
Lauryn Oates is Assistant Editor for The Propagandist.