The Taliban has announced the formation of the government that will rule Afghanistan. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Taliban gave no positions of power to other political forces, religious minorities, or women. And it pledged to implement strict Islamic rule.
Of course it did. That’s what the Taliban is all about.
Did the Taliban at least exclude al Qaeda-linked elements from its government? No, it did not. The Journal reports:
In an appointment that would make recognition of the new government by Western nations more difficult, Sirajuddin Haqqani, designated a global terrorist by Washington because of close links between al Qaeda and the Haqqani network that he heads, was named minister of interior, with oversight of Afghanistan’s police and internal security.
In addition, the new prime minister, Mullah Hassan Akhund, served as foreign minister and as deputy prime minister in the previous Islamic Emirate — the one we toppled because it hosted al Qaeda. This gentleman, who is on the United Nations sanctions list, was part of the leadership that turned down offers from George W. Bush whereby the U.S. would stay out of Afghanistan if the Taliban would turn Osama bin Laden over to the U.S. after 9/11. Mullah Hassan was having none of it.
The Journal notes that the Taliban had “assur[ed] foreign diplomats, journalists and Afghan politicians that [it] sought to create an inclusive administration that represents all parts of the Afghan society.” No person of at least ordinary intelligence believed a word of this. Even Joe Biden, of ordinary intelligence at best, probably didn’t believe much of it. He just didn’t care.
The new Taliban government isn’t even ethnically diverse. According to the Journal, “just as in the Taliban administration of the 1990s, almost all top members of the new government are ethnic Pashtun.” The Shiite Hazara community, whose representatives held important positions during the republic and which accounts for more than a fifth of the nation’s population, was excluded altogether.
Frankly, this doesn’t matter to me. But the Taliban promised an ethnically diverse government, so the absence of one is further confirmation that its promises are meaningless.
These promises were the stated basis for Donald Trump’s decision to agree to a pullout. Trump’s decision, in turn, became Joe Biden’s stated basis for pulling out.
Biden’s pullout leaves him relying on the good faith of the Taliban to protect stranded Americans and to prevent Afghanistan from becoming the launching pad of terrorism against the West. The Taliban’s string of broken promises confirms that this reliance is badly misplaced.