Michael's Dispatches

Taliban Denounce Poisoning of Girls

18 April 2012

Yesterday, about 171 girls and women were poisoned at a school in Afghanistan.  Whereas the blame immediately went to the Taliban, Afghanistan is far too complex for reflexive answers.  Further, there are many groups of "Taliban," and other associated enemies, making it impossible to affix responsibility to a monolithic enemy that does not exist.  The attack might also be the work of a lone wolf.

The Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik recently slaughtered 77 people in Norway. That was terror by a Norwegian against Norwegians.  Back in Afghanistan, at least one American Soldier is accused of recently killing 17 Afghans.  Many victims were women and children.  Back in America, years before the war, a former American soldier killed 168, including many very young children, in Oklahoma City.  Nearly 700 were wounded in that Oklahoma terrorist attack.

That's about 260 people killed in three attacks, apparently by only three white guys, none of whom were Taliban or Muslims.  Some people are just bad, and many act alone or nearly alone.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid fully owned up to their terrorist attacks that unfolded just days ago in Kabul and elsewhere.  He emailed to me, and contacted large media, and took credit for multiple suicide and other attacks.  And so it was natural to ask Mujahid if the Taliban (there are many groups, and there are lone wolves) was behind this atrocity against the girls yesterday.

His answer today:

"we are respecting womens .  taliban movement became in power againt those who kidnape womens and rap girls .  we don,t know about these girls , who and for what reason they kidnape. we are not support this .  Their arae a  lot af those creminals who were involve in that kind of cases b4 , now they are in power . and I personly sure that  in this case they will be involve"

And so I responded to Mujahid's answer with a question.  Will the Taliban bring these criminal(s) who poisoned the girls to Islamic Justice?  Mujahid answered minutes ago:

"As I wrote u in my last mail we are agaist this criminals activety , so of corse we will bring them to islamic justice."

Of course, not everything that happens out there is in accordance with the policies of the Afghanistan government, or our troops, or the Taliban.  When a Soldier or Soldiers apparently murdered 17 Afghans, those murders were not sanctioned by our side, though it looks like we own it.  Likewise, the Taliban did abolish opium and the use of boys for sex, and they did hang people for raping women.  Meanwhile, the government of Afghanistan is more apt to make a woman marry someone who rapes her.  This is a complex mess.  There is no black and white in this.  The more you learn the more your head spins.

If there is any good news out of this, it is that many girls are in school.

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