A disturbing development involving the recent attack of our diplomatic missions in the middle east and the Taliban in Afghanistan just occurred.
The New York Times is reporting that the Taliban has released a statement blaming the United States government for an online movie that is offensive is Muslims:
A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabiullah Mujahid, e-mailed a statement blaming the American government for the film, claiming it was shown in a cinema “with the permission of the United States government.”
“This disgusting act is not the act of one person, indeed this heinous act has been done with the consent, even direct support, of the government,” the Taliban statement said. The statement called on religious mullahs to publicly denounce the movie; such condemnations in the past have led to violent riots, particularly after Friday Prayer.
“Mujahedeen must take revenge here in the battleground in Afghanistan,” Mr. Mujahid said in the statement.
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has also condemned the film and said in a statement that he, “strongly and resolutely denounces this desecrating act and declares its serious abhorrence in the face of such an insult.”
In November of 2009, MSNBC cited a Nation article reporting that the Taliban was being funded by the U.S. taxpayer. Essentially, according to the report, the United States paid off the Taliban millions of dollars to not attack U.S. military supply convoys that were traveling across vast expanses of desert from Bagram air base to military bases all over the country :
The Huffington Post reported on a book titled “Funding the Enemy” in March of this year which covered the issue of the Taliban pocketing American tax payer dollars:
Not only does Wissing paint a disturbing portrait of how the U.S. government has mismanaged billions in development aid, he provides a painfully realistic view of the war that contrasts sharply with the rosy outlook spun by the White House. Impeccably researched, based on riveting frontline interviews with hundreds of troops, aid workers, contractors and government officials — Funding the Enemy is a scathing indictment of U.S. policy in Afghanistan and its reliance on a recycled Vietnam-era strategy of commingling military and development objectives.
Some experts have estimated that close to $1 billion a year of foreign assistance has fallen into the hands of the enemy as a result of poorly-run counterinsurgency programs, ill-devised USAID projects and countless logistics and security extortion rings. In addition, a free-market ideologue outsourcing craze has led to a wholesale lack of oversight while the prioritization of private greed over the public good has fostered unprecedented levels of corruption.
Afghanistan is a case study in paradox, of how development aid can actually destabilize a war-torn country. But development does not reduce violence in a war zone when a large portion of it goes to the enemy — which makes sense. It also makes for an absurd cycle which has served to prolong the conflict to the sole benefit of war profiteers, warlords and corrupt Afghan officials.
Siphoning of international largesse by the Taliban has burgeoned into an industry unto itself. In fact, it is so widespread the Taliban opened its own shadow office in Kabul where U.S.-funded development, security and logistics contractors line up to pay the Taliban a cut of each deal — usually about 20% of the contract’s value. One U.S. official told Wissing: “I have yet to find a local security firm not in bed with the Taliban.”
Road construction has been seen as a panacea to Afghanistan’s woes by many U.S. leaders. In 2008 then Senator Joe Biden said: “How do you spell hope in Pashto and Dari? A-S-P-H-A-L-T.” But the truth has been quite the opposite considering construction contracts themselves have been a source of Taliban funding. A political analyst told Wissing that if the insurgents don’t get their share, nothing gets built. Wissing captures the absurdity of the situation succinctly: “Development wasn’t countering the insurgency; it was paying for it.”
The Obama administration has been in negotiations with Taliban leaders over settlement issues in Afghanistan.
“We’re not abandoning Afghanistan…and the Taliban has taken notice,” James Cunningham, the administration’s nominee to take on the key post of U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, told U.S. News and World Report two weeks ago.