RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Talk to the Taliban? Don’t waste your breath… whichever way you cut it, this was a humiliating defeat for the NATO alliance. Militarily, the game is up
The last American troops are on their way home, confirming that the war in Afghanistan is all over bar the shouting.
Whichever way you cut it, this was a humiliating defeat for the U.S.-led NATO alliance, Britain included.
Militarily, the game’s up.
Yet the shouting goes on, as Western politicians try to salvage some face from the rubble.
Gisteraand, an emergency session of the G7 was taking place, wondering how the West can still put pressure on the Taliban.
Ongelooflik, Boris Johnson has dangled the possibility of establishing formal diplomatic relations with the new regime in Kabul.
There’s even talk of unfreezing billions of dollars in seized Afghan assets and increasing foreign aid in exchange for the Taliban guaranteeing safe passage to all those who want to leave.
The Prime Minister is offering to double our humanitarian and development aid to £286 million if the Taliban promise not to allow their country to once again become a haven for international terrorists targeting the West. Hy het gesê: ‘We will use every lever we have to help the people of Afghanistan and protect our own country from harm.’
The Taliban must be trembling in their trainers. With the troops out, the West no longer has any leverage.
The Prime Minister is offering to double our humanitarian and development aid to £286 million if the Taliban promise not to allow their country to once again become a haven for international terrorists targeting the West
The Taliban must be trembling in their trainers. With the troops out, the West no longer has any leverage. Op die foto: Taliban fighters securing the airport perimeter in Kabul as evacuation flights depart overhead
Does anyone in London or Washington seriously believe that the Taliban is desperate for a seat at the UN top table in New York, or an invitation to take afternoon tea at Chequers?
Trying to bribe them by offering to double their pocket money will cut no ice. They’ve already had the gift of tens of billions of dollars worth of U.S. military equipment left behind. They are armed to the teeth with American weapons, and Afghanistan now has a bigger air force than most NATO countries.
OK, so while there’s still a faint hope that the thousands of American and British citizens and their allies who are still stranded will be allowed to leave, it probably makes sense to flatter the Taliban.
Om redelik te wees, Boris isn’t the first to believe that if you talk to the Taliban nicely they will behave properly.
Fourteen years ago, after becoming Prime Minister, Gordon Brown made a flying visit to Afghanistan for a photo-op with British troops. While he was there, he suggested it might be time to engage in talks with the Taliban.
Fourteen years ago, after becoming Prime Minister, Gordon Brown made a flying visit to Afghanistan for a photo-op with British troops. While he was there, he suggested it might be time to engage in talks with the Taliban
Op daardie stadium, the idea was so absurd that I imagined him as Dr Dolittle, played by Rex Harrison. Headlined ‘If I Could Talk To The Taliban’, here’s a brief flavour . . .
If I could talk to the Taliban
Or the dialect of
Try a phrase or two of Farsi,
A word of Gujarati,
I’m sure that I could make
We could converse in Ashkun
Learn a little of the lingo
If people ask me: ‘Can you
Ek sou sê: ‘Of course I can,
If I spoke the native tongue of
I could guarantee that I would
end this war.
Give a massive grant
Wel, it always works in Scotland,
I’d even let them have
Sharia Law . . .
That appeared in the Daily Mail on December 14, 2007. It was supposed to be a joke. Vandag, talking to the Taliban is official government policy on both sides of the Atlantic.
You couldn’t make it up. Except I did.
Back then the Taliban was considered to be an international terrorist organisation, which gave safe haven to Al-Qaeda to launch the 9/11 attacks on America.
It still is.
But there are plenty of people now prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt. A couple of weeks ago, I noted the public relations offensive aimed at selling us Taliban 2.0, the new caring, sharing cuddly version. The usual useful idiots have fallen for it, hook, line and sinker.
Vandag, its spokesmen are interviewed on television with the kind of reverence normally reserved for the leader of the Swedish social democrats.
Some journalists, who should know better, have abandoned all sense of scepticism and objectivity. Take this drivel, from the once-respected U.S. magazine Newsweek, headlined:
‘Seeking World Recognition, Taliban Vows to Help Fight Terror and Climate Change’.
Did no one grasp the absurdity of a caveman dressed up as an extra from Carry On Up The Khyber, surrounded by thugs with AK47s, burbling on about fighting terrorism and global warming?
Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country. The leaders have been dubbed by some as ‘Taliban 2.0’ for their charming public relations offensive
There is talk among Western leaders of unfreezing billions of dollars in seized Afghan assets and increasing foreign aid in exchange for the Taliban guaranteeing safe passage to all those who want to leave
As, 14 jare terug, I’d filed a column — even in jest — about the Taliban promising to tackle terrorism and climate change, the editor would have concluded that I’d gone too far this time, even by my own miserable standards, and would have checked me in to the Priory for a drying out session.
Yet today, this far-fetched PR guff is reported as gospel.
Soon we’ll be hearing about the Taliban’s enlightened plans for a congestion charge, bike lanes and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in Kabul.
Meet the Green Taliban, twinned with Extinction Rebellion. We’ll be asked to believe that they only closed the airport to cut greenhouse gases, not stop anyone escaping.
Next thing you know they’ll be drumming and dancing and chaining themselves to a giant pink yacht outside the abandoned American Embassy.
Boris talks a good game — perhaps that should be Great Game — but without leverage he’s just another Dr Dolittle.
I’m surprised he hasn’t already invited the Taliban to take part in the upcoming COP26 climate summit in Scotland. I can just see him posing for photos with Wee Burney, Sleepy Joe Biden and one of the mad mullahs.
Na alles, in the war on global warming the British Government has already taken its lead from Kabul and is hell-bent on dragging our economy back to the Stone Age.
So the Afghans could be considered trailblazers by the environmentalists. Never mind ISIS-K, stand by for ISIS-XR.
The way things are going it can only be a matter of time before the Taliban are nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Fashion house Dolce & Gabbana is going into the furniture business. It has launched its first ever interior design collection, with prices to match.
Some of the stuff is so flamboyant it makes Lulu Lytle look like John Lewis.
The launch featured a bedroom kitted out entirely in leopard-skin print. The bedding alone runs to £1,700 a metre.
You can get an elaborately painted toaster for a bargain basement £499.
A matching fridge will set you back at least £25,000. The centrepiece is a fancy Venetian chandelier, made from Murano glass, which is expected to cost north of 100 grand.
The collection has got Carrie Antoinette written all over it. She’s already blown at least £53,000 refurbishing the Downing Street flat.
How long before she’s pestering Boris for a leopard-skin bedspread and a new £100,000 chandelier?
If she does get her way, they’ll have to reinforce the ceiling before they put up the chandelier — especially if Boris plans to swing from it.
As knife crime rockets and XR exhibitionists cause chaos in London yet again, the Met is considering introducing gender-neutral uniforms.
Different outfits for men and women are said to discriminate against trans and non-binary officers. (I wonder how many of them there actually are?)
Steeds, since coppers seem to spend half their time wearing high-heels, painting their nails and swanning round in rainbow-coloured cars, it was probably only a matter of time.
Mind how you go.
Extinction Rebellion climate demonstrators launched a protest at London Bridge on Monday and attempted to block Tower Bridge
Country sports fan Ian Botham has joined the campaign against the government’s new animal welfare legislation.
Botham, elevated to the Lords last year, says it’s ‘bizarre to recognise in law that fish have feelings’.
Hy het gesê: ‘I really do struggle to have a soft spot for a prawn.’ Unless, natuurlik, it’s served with mayonnaise, thinly sliced wholemeal bread and a chilled bottle of Sancerre.
The former England cricketer was recently appointed as a trade envoy to Australia. At least the Aussies now know that you don’t come the raw prawn with Lord Beefy.
Former England cricketer Ian Botham (reg) was recently appointed as a trade envoy to Australia