I am deliberately going to try and stay away from partisan politics here, but this must be noted today. It is the second anniversary of the withdrawal of all US troops from Afghanistan. I am particularly focused on this milestone, because I have dealt with so many victims of the now-governing body in that country, the Taliban.

Americans, at least the ones I grew up with, always believed that we had a higher obligation than most of our allies to reach out and intervene when human rights were being violated. We were instrumental in the signing of the International Convention on Human Rights, we were the animating force behind NATO, we devised the Marshall Plan to reconstruct the bridge between Italy, Germany and Japan, a bridge that had been destroyed by their collective hands, and it is no coincidence that the United Nations is located in New York. I cannot understand isolationism, I reject the idea that we are only responsible for our “own” citizens, and that the pain of those who are separated by oceans and deserts from us is less relevant than the pain of those who live in our backyards.

In fact, I cannot critique the debacle in Afghanistan if I insist on cutting off aid to Ukraine. Somehow, that has become a dividing line with conservatives, and I don’t care. We are, in fact, our brothers’ keepers, and while I am open to arguments that there are limits on that aid, I reject categorically the suggestion that we should leave an invaded country to its own devices. That only plays into the hands of tyrants.

And speaking of tyrants, let’s talk about the Taliban. That term is thrown around by progressives, especially women who think that being pro life makes you an “American Taliban.” There is nothing more offensive, and nothing that is more indicative of a mediocre mind. The real Taliban are terrorists, seeking complete compliance with their fundamentalist beliefs. Women must be veiled, men must wear beards, girls must be illiterate, books are banned, and the world is turned into a prison for those who don’t comply. I know this from personal experience, having handled the asylum cases of many Taliban victims. There is no end to their brutality, and any suggestion that we have a slightly chastened, kinder gentler Taliban is shattered by our own State Department Country Reports.

According to the most recent report for 2022:

“Significant human rights issues included credible reports of: arbitrary killings, including targeted killings; forced disappearance; torture, or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment by the Taliban; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest or detention; political prisoners or detainees; arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy; punishment of family members for alleged offenses of a relative; serious abuses in a conflict, including widespread civilian deaths or harm, enforced disappearances and abductions, torture, and unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers; serious restrictions on freedom of expression and media by the Taliban, including arrests of and violence against journalists and censorship; serious restrictions on internet freedom; substantial interference with freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association; severe restrictions on religious freedom; restrictions on freedom of movement and residence and on the right to leave the country; inability of citizens to change their government peacefully through free and fair elections; serious and unreasonable restrictions on political participation; serious corruption; serious restrictions on and harassment of domestic and international human rights organizations; lack of investigation of and accountability for gender-based violence, including domestic and intimate partner violence, sexual violence; child, early, and forced marriage, and other harmful practices; substantial barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health services; violence or threats of violence targeting members of ethnic and religious minority groups; trafficking in persons; violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex persons; existence and enforcement of laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual conduct; severe restrictions on workers’ freedom of association; and the existence of the worst forms of child labor.”

In light of that, a woman’s inability to obtain an abortion in the last trimester, a common lament of the pro- choice coterie, seems laughably irrelevant.

During the almost twenty years that US troops were in Afghanistan, the living conditions for women and children increased exponentially. There were females flourishing in all walks of life, including education, journalism, media, government and the arts. Now, it is virtually impossible to find a woman who is allowed to leave her own home without surveillance.

This has also had a devastating impact on Pakistan, a country which shares a close border, customs and history with its neighbor. In fact, the Taliban in Afghanistan are brothers in arms with the Tehriki-e-Taliban in Pakistan, and exchange manpower, strategy and weapons. The withdrawal in August of 2021 created a vacuum into which poured the opportunistic, effective wave of terror.

I am angry that we have come to this point, and that Joe Biden has paid little to no price for his incompetence. I hope we remember this in November of 2024 and punish the Democrats for their malfeasance.

But this is bigger than any one administration. We are obligated to remember what we did, what we failed to do, and what we allowed happen to an entire nation of people who supported us at their own risk, for many years. While most people were complaining about the failure to effectively evacuate Americans in Afghanistan, I was focused on the tragedy of our Afghan allies, brave men and women who had aligned themselves with the US for years, and found themselves left without protection to the wolves.

And then, the women.

Today, we must remember, if nothing else.

Christine Flowers is an attorney and lifelong Philadelphian.@flowerlady61

16 thoughts on “Christine Flowers: Happy anniversary, Taliban”

  1. It’s reprehensible that you are dancing on the graves of the last 13 Americans killed in Afghanistan when there were 2,402 United States military deaths in that country. Where’s your sympathy and outrage for them? George W. Bush started that war. I must have missed your columns about how incompetent he was as POTUS. I’m so glad Biden got Americans out of Afghanistan and ended that charade. He ultimately saved American lives. Even in Afghanistan women are allowed an abortion. Thanks to Republicans, American women in many parts of the country have no access to a safe abortion. I’m not talking about late term. All American girls and women should have access to abortion in the first trimester. Republicans will pay dearly for this in 2024.

    1. 1-Bush intended Afghanistan to be a brief clean out. It was Obama who labeled it “the real war” and expanded operations there.
      2-Remember when the Afghanistan soldiers’ bodies were returned home and Biden kept looking at his watch? One Gold Star father’s take: “It’s two ****ing thirty, ***hole!”
      3-High body count Karens reduce everything to abortion.

      1. No, it was Bush, Cheney & the neocons who wanted to ‘democratize’ the Middle East (How’d that Iraq invasion work out, btw?). They turned it into a nation building exercise.

        1. No. The 9/11 terrorists trained in Afghanistan. Bush explicitly wanted a clean-out-and-leave. It was Obama who called it “the real war” and expanded operations.
          Most of the American casualties in Afghanistan were under Obama.
          Try reading with comprehension.

  2. Christine has her usual myopic view of the subject at hand and as she often does, mixes it in with her ridiculous hypocrisy. Because it’s her meal ticket, she feigns empathy for women who are brutally treated by their own countrymen in places that she deals with in her job.. This is a common theme for her while completely ignoring other people who are going through the same or worse kind of treatment in countries that don’t support her wallet. What is happening in Benin and Cameroon doesn’t even make a blip on her radar. Yemen has the worst gender equality in the world. Not a word from Christine about it. Why is she so furious about Afghanistan? Because a Democratic President got us out. There is a valid discussion that can be had about how it was handled. Those on the left say Biden had the guts to rip off the band-aid at the cost of American lives. Those on the Right say he is responsible for their deaths and should be held accountable. What is rarely discussed is that the Afghan people, despite being trained by the American military, literally dropped their weapons and ran as soon as the U.S. left. A country whose own people won’t fight for it is a lost country. This doesn’t diminish the horrors that the women of Afghanistan have to endure. If anything, it magnifies it. But then someone like Christine comes along with her fake outrage and her childish, bible-based tropes. She throws around terms like “brother’s keepers” and talks about how we should protect other countries of the world while day after day after day promoting and supporting “America First” candidates and completely trashing any politician who advocates helping these other countries and their citizens. Of course, she also has to slip in her outlandish anti-abortion position by using a completely ridiculous comparison. The other thing that Christine won’t say (or is incapable of discussing) is what exactly drives the evil of the Taliban? Yes folks. It’s religion. Religious zealots throughout history have been the biggest oppressors of human rights. Right now, it’s fundamentalist Muslims. Go back only 80-100 years and it was the Catholic church and its alliance with fascism in Europe. (Sorry, Christine. It’s true.) But in Christine’s world, Joe Biden and the Democrats in general are to blame for every woman in the Middle East who is denied basic human rights. This is how non-critical thinkers write columns.

    1. Women’s repro rights in the US are “laughable” because of the . . . . . Taliban????? Good click bait effort but seriously what are you on????

  3. I normally avoid commenting on so called “abortion rights” because I believe that “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” belongs to human beings, even if they are in a woom and do not yet have the ability to speak for themselves. I am appalled that there is ideology out there that has no problem with tearing a fully formed human being to avoid a problematic life or to sell body parts. Abortion has become a type of religion and no amount of yelling, screaming and arguing will change anyone’s position. I could only wish more people would read the Book: “Dr. Kermit Gosnell, America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer.” It is interesting to see how the comments quickly try to turn the issue from the Taliban to abortion. My questions are: How many American lives were saved by giving up women to the rule of the Taliban? How can the withdrawal be classified as a win when we gave up Bagram air base without even telling the Afghan government, we were abandoning the base. How is it a win to give up several billion dollars in sophisticated military gear to an intractable enemy of American society and way of life? Just for yuks and giggles, religion really has nothing to do with abortion rights, other than if you believe abortion, is a sacrament. It also has nothing to do with driving evil in the world. Pol Pot did not have a religious motive, Stalin did not have a religious motive, Hitler did not have a religious motive. They all just enjoyed death.

    1. You normally avoid commenting about abortion rights because why would you? It’s not an agonizing choice you would ever have to make. Obviously a young teenage girl cannot even consent to sex. I cannot imagine being a girl today forced by her government to bear a child she doesn’t want and can’t possibly take care of. I’m not harshly blaming the girls, they are too young to consent to sex. Of course, the guys who impregnated the girl are totally immune to any judgement or punishment. It’s probably wise that you don’t comment.

      1. Bingo Jane!!! George himself is going to raise all those unwanted pregnancies no doubt. Look, Christine writes this kind of ridiculousness on purpose because if people didn’t hate read her column she’d be out of a job.

  4. It sounds very much like abortion is just a form of lifestyle convenience. I would like someone to explain to me what the difference is between a full-term abortion in the birth canal the foetus being considered a clump of non-human cells and a recognized human being if birth is completed. Is it just a matter of geography? Does place determine humanity? There are certainly plenty of people who have no problem with taking a live baby and snip its spinal cord, or in its more pernicious form, just put the child somewhere, withhold nourishment and care until it dies. When this becomes “normalized”, society begins to devalue all human life. I think the 20th century gives us an indication of what this means. As long as the subject of men and pregnancy is concerned. Why are men’s rights not considered in abortion? Generally, the fathers are not informed or consulted, nor is their acquiesce required for a woman to have an abortion, yet the baby is half theirs. Funny thing, I grew up in the era where abortions were back ally affaires by rogue nurses or doctors, or depending on the culture, women who provided abortions to members of their particular ethnic group. They often did not end well. As to experience, my wife and I had personal contact with several women friends who had abortions. It did not make their lives happy and fulfilled. Again, I suggest you read the book about Philly’s own Dr. Gosnell to help remove some of the Rosey filters about abortions.

  5. George, people who push rationales for abortions are insincere. It is that simple. The absolute number of pregnancies resulting from rape are hard to determine; yet, a nationally representative survey by the abortion rights group Guttmacher Institute showed about 1% of women in 2004 obtained an abortion after they became pregnant by rape. In condoning the killing of the unborn child, we are urged to embrace the long-rejected idea that children should be punished for the sins of their fathers. Too often abortion is presented as if it will automatically lessen or eliminate the emotional and psychological pain of the rape victim through the intentional death of the unborn child. This is simply not true. While the intensity of the pain and misplaced shame resulting from rape may fade over time, nothing will fully erase the horror of the crime. Her life and her body are irretrievably altered. Abortion cannot undo these wounds, instead only trying to hurry past them at the cost of another life.
    ​”I am so very grateful that our nation is having a very important conversation about life,​” ​Kathy Barnette, an Army veteran running for the US Senate in Pennsylvania, said during a Wednesday night debate.
    “I am the byproduct of a rape. My mother was 11 years old when I was conceived, my father was 21​.”
    Barnette made the startling admission as she called out Dr. Mehmet Oz, the former TV doctor who’s also running for the Republican nomination, for flip-flopping on abortion, pressing him to say she was not “a lump of cells” before being born.
    “I was not just a lump of cells, as you can see, I’m still not just a lump of cells​. My life has value and that is one of the reasons why it was very disturbing when I saw Mehmet Oz running for this particular race when I’ve seen him on numerous occasions and specifically at the ​’​Breakfast Club​’ saying that my life was nothing more than an acorn with electrical currents​,” Barnette said.

  6. Only a Republican man would present an 11 year old being raped and carrying her rapist’s child as some inspiring tale. Once again – who cares about the mother?

    1. Jenn,
      The quote is from Kathy Jean Barnette (born September 6, 1971) and I guess you think she identifies as a male? Wow! I did not know Kathy Barnette identifies as a man. Breaking news …if it is accurate. What is your source? Here is the most important point… she is talking about herself. Let’s read her quote again: “I am so very grateful that our nation is having a very important conversation about life,​” ​Kathy Barnette, an Army veteran who ran for the US Senate in Pennsylvania, said – raised by her mother on a pig farm in the south of the state, in a house where her great-great-great grandmother, who was born a slave, formerly lived.
      “I am the byproduct of a rape. My mother was 11 years old when I was conceived, my father was 21​.”
      “I was not just a lump of cells, as you can see, I’m still not just a lump of cells​. My life has value and that is one of the reasons why it was very disturbing when I saw Mehmet Oz running for this particular race when I’ve seen him on numerous occasions and specifically at the ​’​Breakfast Club’ saying that my life was nothing more than an acorn with electrical currents​,” Barnette said.
      So… maybe you don’t like what she said, and instead tried to pretend it was a Republican male who said it, and also took the easy road and focused on the despicable and terrible rape of her mother – who was a child; because, to acknowledge Kathy Barnette’s point of view is too uncomfortable for you? I know you’re not a racist and it has nothing to do with Kathy Barnette’s race. It simply must be too difficult having to acknowledge all these actual children getting murdered. The ironic thing is just about every pro-choice argument turns to rubbish if you replace a few words and make it an argument about slavery. These babies are being murdered for money and for racist reasons. It is that simple.

  7. Absolutely money and racism. In today’s world, an abortionist doesn’t have to worry about whether or not the person can scrape up the money to pay for it. We have all kinds of entities, including government willing to pay. As far as racism is concerned, Margaret Sanger, the founding saint of Planned Parenthood, was a eugenicist who expected abortion to rid society of the unworthy, which generally worked out to be the poor, mostly illiterate workers, the mentally ill, the handicapped and minority groups who were deemed to be “inferior.” It is interesting to know that as of several years ago, 73% of Planned Parenthood facilities were located in poor, urban neighborhoods.

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