What sort of regime normalizes self-destruction
Special Note: this originally appeared on my political blog, "Crisis and Cure," but I thought it was worth repeating here.
Hey, everyone! So, as you may recall, I wrote the other day about seeing a photo of a Talibani soldier “guarding” a demonstration…who seemed to have a suicide vest around his middle. I asked: a) how did the demonstrators feel about being “protected” by someone whose life’s calling seemed to be blowing himself up (and taking as many innocent bystanders with him as possible) and b) what kind of a regime would employ suicide bombers as guardians of law and order (answer, a very much f**ked up one).
Well, I thought about that picture a bit and I wondered if maybe, just maybe, I’d overreacted and maybe (I hope) it wasn’t a suicide vest the man was wearing. Maybe it was just some kind of weird ammunition carrier or something.
So, to make certain, I emailed the author of the article in which the photo had appeared, specifically Ron Synovitz, who writes and edits for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Gandhara (i.e., Central Asian) page. To my surprise, he wrote back and, sadly, confirmed exactly what I’d suspected. It was an explosive belt, and the “guard” was a suicide bomber.
Mr. Synovitz was also kind enough to provide me with links to a number of other articles and papers on the Taliban’s use of suicide bombers within its military. I will place the links below, but summing them up quickly, it seems that the Taliban is attempting to make such people a major part of its regular armed forces.
That is truly bizarre. It means, I think, that the Talibani are having real difficulty shifting from an insurgency (where suicide bombers may have a role) to a government supported by legitimizing security forces (where they decidedly don’t). That, in turn, makes me wonder if, in the long run…or even the short…the Taliban regime will fail.
The question may be, then, to what degree the rest of the world will get involved with the debacle.
Anyway, here’s the links:
“As Taliban Attempts To Transform From Insurgency To Government, Suicide Bombers Remain Key To Its Strategy,” Abubakar Siddique, Gandhara, Nov 4, 2021, https://gandhara.rferl.org/a/taliban-suicide-bombings-afghanistan/31546216.html
“Why the Taliban Still Love Suicide Bombing, The group is normalizing death and despair in the Islamic Emirate,” Atal Ahmadzai, Foreign Policy, December 7, 2021, https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/12/07/taliban-suicide-bombing-parade-violence-afghanistan/
“Will The Taliban Stay United To Govern, Or Splinter Into Regional Fiefdoms?,” Ron Synovitz, Aug 25, 2021, https://gandhara.rferl.org/a/taliban-govern-regional-factions/31428069.html
And check back here now and then. I will be quoting from Gandhara fairly frequently.
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