To quote Peter Venkman: That oughta do it. Thanks very much. Once again, while the Taliban beat women and reporters, hold Americans and others hostage, and go door to door looking for dissenters, the organs of global order focus on the immediate threat … gender diversity.
The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Friday saying that Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers need to establish an inclusive government that has “the full, equal and meaningful participation of women” and upholds human rights.
The resolution adopted by the U.N.’s most powerful body also extends the current mandate of the U.N. political mission in Afghanistan for six months and delivers a clear message that its 15 members will be watching closely what the Taliban do going forward.
Yes, they’ll be “watching.” And as this makes clear, that’s all they’ll be doing. It’s risible that the highest priority for the UN Security Council isn’t the release of foreigners trapped inside the country at the moment, or the reprisals that the Taliban have already begun against their enemies. The door-to-door collaborator hunt has already begun in earnest, Jim Geraghty points out, along with anyone “tainted” by Westernism:
On the menu today: The Taliban are methodically collecting as much information about the Afghan population as possible, looking for anyone who has, in their eyes, been tainted or corrupted by Western influences or values. Hiding Afghan allies of the U.S. are now wondering if it is worth it to try making the dangerous journey to sneak into Pakistan — although that option offers a separate plethora of deadly risks. …
One of the Americans involved in the effort to evacuate hiding Americans and Afghans passed along this account: “The Taliban have sent notices out to houses, saying the residents must fill out all the questions on the form correctly or suffer the consequences. The Taliban is calling this a ‘house passport.’ People living in the house must fill in the information of past positions and work, location of where the work was done, the organization they worked for, etc. They are asking these questions in an effort to implicate people who worked in democracy building, human rights advocacy, or basically any U.S.-financed project that runs counter to the Taliban philosophy.”
My reader who’s been telling me about his efforts for the past month or so offers a similar account. “Two of my guys reported separately that Taliban outside Kabul are ordering adults to provide their work histories, so the Taliban may determine if they were involved in any ‘anti-Taliban’ efforts in the last twenty years,” he said. “The questioning has not extended into Kabul, but they believe it’s only a matter of time and logistics. University lecturers and professors have been ordered to submit their resumes and curriculum vitaes to Taliban officials for review to determine if anyone had been teaching Western culture and ideas. I have three guys on my list who went on to teach at university. One of them told me he is not going to comply, but is unsure of the consequences.” (For background on this reader and his efforts, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)
Even if one’s inclined to assess this as internal matters that don’t rise to UNSC-level priorities, the Taliban’s other moves certainly do. Most notably, they appointed Sirajuddin Haqqani as their top security minister, a man whose terror network is the subject of investigations by several NATO countries, and who is an explicit ally of al-Qaeda. While the lack of women in Taliban leadership is notable, that’s not the biggest problem facing Afghan women, and it’s far from the biggest risk facing the UN in terms of security.
What about the American citizens and legal permanent residents unable to get out of Afghanistan? Aren’t they a little higher priority than gender representation in the Taliban’s radical-Islamist regime? To be fair, they don’t appear to be much of a priority to Joe Biden, or for that matter to America’s national news media outlets. We have pressed that point every day since Biden’s disgraceful bug-out and we’re not alone on that, but our old colleague Noah Rothman hit the nail on the head today:
I cannot think of another live crisis involving Americans held de facto hostage abroad that has ever generated less attention from the press. And I cannot imagine that is a response to apathy from the audience, which wouldn’t be a valid excuse anyway.
This should be a round-the-clock story. We should know precisely what day of America’s largest hostage crisis we’re on. We should be getting live updates on an hourly basis about how we’re meeting our obligations to our fellow citizens in extremis. But there’s none of that. Why?
Because that would require media outlets to interrupt their preconceived narratives about the compassion and expertise of Joe Biden. And, for that matter, the effectiveness of the global security order in the post-Cold War period. The US bears a significant responsibility for the latter issue, but that won’t get resolved until we have a proper accounting for its failures, especially over the past month.
Instead, the media will dutifully report that the biggest problem we have with the Taliban is a lack of gender diversity while ignoring the hostage crisis that may drag on for months or years. Where’s Peter Venkman when you need him?