Some of you might say that we were fighting the Taliban because they are an Islamic terrorist organization that harbored Al Qaeda. We sought to eliminate the base of operations they maintained in Afghanistan, but somewhere we got distracted and started nation building. We lost our enemy focus and should have sent a clear message to Pakistan that the Taliban is the enemy, and if harboring the enemy, we will pursue them. If the Taliban does not respect borders, neither shall we. Choose with whom you have an alliance, the US or the Taliban.
When we saw that Osama Bin Laden was hiding in plain sight in Abbottabad, Pakistan — a massive compound — the same city where the Pakistan Military Academy is located, we should have sent a message. The Pakistani ISI, their intelligence agency is not friendly to us. As a matter of fact, there is plenty of evidence of their “collusion” with Islamic jihadists.
Let us not forget, the Taliban butchered people, beheaded them, stoned women to death, refused to allow girls to get an education, and even shot Malala Yousafzai in the head for being a vocal proponent for girls’ education.
I spent two and a half years in Afghanistan, based in Kandahar. I know of the brutality of the Taliban: throwing acid on little girls walking to or from school, beheading school headmasters in front of their families . . . the list goes on.
But, we have made the strategic decision to engage in peace talks with these animals. However, that is not what has me incensed.
As reported by the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
“The Taliban on Tuesday announced a 14-member negotiating team ahead of talks this month with U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who has been meeting with the insurgents to try to end America’s longest war.
Sher Mohammad Abbas Stankzai will head the Taliban team, which includes five former inmates of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay who were released in 2014 in exchange for U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban in 2009 after wandering off his base. The team also includes Anas Haqqani, the jailed younger brother of the leader of the Haqqani network, a powerful Taliban faction.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Haqqani, currently held in Kabul, “should be released to start work on the negotiating team.” Mujahid said Tuesday that Haqqani “was a student at the time of his arrest and was not involved in any activity for which he should be arrested.”
The Taliban have demanded Haqqani’s release since talks began last year. By naming him to the negotiating team, the Haqqani network might be indicating that his release is a precondition for their participation.
The network has not been openly involved in talks with the U.S. envoy, except to send three representatives to a meeting in the United Arab Emirates in December. That meeting reportedly touched on the issue of prisoners, including Anas Haqqani and two professors from the American University in Kabul — Kevin King, an American, and Timothy Weeks, an Australian — who are believed to be held by the Haqqani network. The two professors were abducted in 2016 from Kabul. A video released more than a year ago indicated King was in poor health.
The Taliban have so far refused to meet with the U.S.-backed government in Kabul, instead holding meetings in Moscow earlier this month with prominent Afghan figures, including former President Hamid Karzai.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has complained about being sidelined, and it’s not clear that his government would be willing to release Haqqani without being granted a larger role in the process. The U.S. envoy met Monday with NATO and European Union officials in Brussels, and tweeted that he was “encouraged by their strong endorsement on the progress we’ve made on a peace process.”
He said the sides are aiming to reach a peace deal “worthy of the sacrifices made over decades of war,” and not a withdrawal agreement.”
What has me angry as heck — and you should be, as well — is that the five senior Taliban leaders now on this negotiating team are the ones released from GITMO. Barack Obama declared that combat operations in Afghanistan were over, yet, clearly, the Taliban still has not received that memo.
Doggone, Obama released these five terrorist leaders, whom our brave soldiers captured, and here they are right back in leadership positions. This is a damn slap in the face to our brave men and women who served, sacrificed and lost their lives and limbs in Afghanistan. It is also an affront to the families of those warriors who were we fighting in Afghanistan. Why? Can you just imagine the arrogance and hubris of those five who were released and now we are going to “talk” with them?
Get this: these five are now part of a Taliban delegation, freed, so we could get a damn coward deserter returned to us, who is also now free. Dang it, this is unbelievable folks, you cannot make this up. Talk about the theater of the absurd. What of the soldiers who are dead after searching for a traitor and deserter who is free, and these Taliban leaders, who once led those who killed them . . . and now this.
Ponder this: our US Army is considering imprisoning Major Matthew Golsteyn — for life — for killing a Taliban bomb maker. Was this a precondition of these Taliban murderers, savages? How truly unconscionable that we are on the verge of holding an Article 32 hearing — the military version of a grand jury — on a decorated Special Forces Green Beret officer for killing the enemy.
We are about to enter into “negotiations” with the same enemy. As well, think about how this must make US Army 1LT Clint Lorance feel. He sits in Ft. Leavenworth prison with a 20-year sentence for killing the enemy and our own Army withheld exculpatory evidence so that they could imprison him. He sits in jail, but these five Taliban leaders were released from imprisonment and now are back where they were previously, in leadership positions with the Taliban, negotiating with our country, a country that imprisoned Clint.
Who is making these decisions? No, I do not want any prolonged combat operations, but we are at war with militant Islamic jihadists, Islamism. We need to stop separating them by naming conventions and just realize they are all the same. We should be cutting off their state sponsors and seeking to deny them sanctuary wherever they seek to establish it.
There is no way the Trump administration should be agreeing to sit down with these monsters who were once in our custody and responsible for killing Americans. Not to mention the abhorrent human rights violations they have committed. We look like abject fools, idiots, weak, and spineless. And why are we allowing that corrupt jerk, Hamid Karzai, who stole American taxpayer dollars for himself, to have any part of this? If I were the President of Afghanistan I would be livid also.
Ladies and gents, in case you have forgotten, it was President Bill Clinton who recognized the Taliban as the official government of Afghanistan. How did that work out?
So, what will be granted? Shall we give the Taliban a portion of Afghanistan? Guess what that will become? I hate to put it this way, but it is the truth: the only negotiation terms would be to tell the Taliban to stand down or know that we will pursue them any and everywhere, and indiscriminately kill them.
Please, do not act displeased, that is what we are doing with ISIS. To Islamic jihadists, talking is a sign of weakness, and they believe that their ideology has triumphed. Sorry, but I am not acquiescing to this barbaric evil . . . and neither should the United States.
If we sit and negotiate with the Taliban, guess what? We are saying that their actions, behaviors, and ideology are acceptable, and we place ourselves on equal ground.
That, folks, is FUBAR!
During his 22 year career in the United States Army, Lieutenant Colonel West served in several combat zones and received many honors including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, one with Valor device, and a Valorous Unit Award.
In November of 2010, Allen was elected to the United States Congress, representing Florida’s 22nd District.
He is a Fox News Contributor, former Director of the Booker T. Washington Initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center, contributing columnist for Townhall.com, and author of Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Family, Faith and Freedom, and, Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death, published October 16, 2018, from Brown Books Publishing Group.