The Taliban Reminder
By Hal Lindsey
People in the west had almost forgotten. It has been a while since the last large, successful terror attack against the United States or Europe. And since the western media refuses to cover the atrocities going on elsewhere, especially in Africa, people here had begun to forget. But the Taliban is now reminding everyone that radical Islamic terror still lives. It thrives. And once again, it is headed our way.
On Monday, August 22nd, The Wall Street Journal reported, “The US warned that Islamic State poses a threat to Americans in Afghanistan.” Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security adviser, said of ISIS, “The threat is real. It is acute. It is persistent. And it is something we are focused on with every tool in our arsenal.”
Yes, the Islamic State — ISIS. Not long ago, they were bloodied, defeated, demoralized, and wilting away. But in today’s Afghanistan, they have been revived and they are a present threat.
And then there is Al Qaeda. On August 23rd, the extremely liberal New Yorker magazine featured an article by Robin Wright. In March she asked a key question of General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the United States Central Command. “Do you really think, given the intermarriage, the interweaving of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, that the Taliban is really ever going to be able or willing to restrain Al Qaeda from doing anything against us?”
She called his answer, “chillingly candid.” “I think,” he said, “it will be very hard for the Taliban to act against Al Qaeda, to actually limit their ability to attack outside the country. It’s possible, but I think it would be difficult.”
That was all the back in March. His answer carries the optimistic assumption that the Taliban might want to limit Al Qaeda’s ability to other strike nations. It’s true that they do not want a repeat of George W. Bush’s invasion of their country after 911. But they have convinced themselves that they defeated the United States, and they do not believe we have the courage or moral conviction necessary to ever invade them again. So, they don’t care if Al Qaeda hits America again. In fact, they like the idea.
Events in Afghanistan should remind everyone of the danger posed by radical Islam. And it is not a theoretical danger. Right now, the world is watching, and the Taliban are on their best behavior. Even so, they’re rounding up known Christians. They are looking on phones for Bible apps. Large numbers of Christians have run for the hills with hope now only in God. And that’s just the Christians. People of all kinds are being hung, shot, beheaded, raped, and beaten. And it will get worse.
The US military says that it has evacuated tens of thousands of people from Afghanistan, but as of Tuesday the 24th, it refused say how many of those were Americans. On the 23rd, Yahoo News reported that they had obtained the actual government numbers. They found that less than 10% of those evacuated by the US military are in fact US citizens or legal residents.
Americans are not more important than Afghans. But they make more valuable hostages and that makes them more strategic. It’s important to realize that we don’t just have a potential hostage crisis in Afghanistan. The hostage crisis already exists! Stranded Americans may not be under lock and key in Taliban prisons, but they are hostages all the same.
Why don’t US forces go out, find Americans, and escort them to the airport? Because the Taliban holds Americans as hostages. They can completely cut off access to the airport. Strong military action might even provoke a wholesale slaughter of Americans. Why does President Biden refuse to extend his August 31st deadline for leaving the country? Because right now in Afghanistan, the Taliban controls the fate of Americans. That makes them hostages.
After the 31st, anything might happen. The Taliban says it will not tolerate an extension of the deadline and, for now, the Biden Administration says it is sticking with the old deadline. If that remains true, then the United States will be abandoning its citizens still stranded in Afghanistan. On the other hand, if the US military goes into the country to rescue Americans still held there, it will probably mean heavy bloodshed on all sides. And it might put our military back in Afghanistan for several more years.
One thing is more obvious than ever. Nothing draws violence like perceived weakness.