Everybody knows that the Taliban are only waiting for the announced and timetabled withdrawal of Allied forces to take over Afghanistan, whether by a spectacular second invasion or, more likely, with a smooth deal with existing government. President Mohammed Karzai is well known to have made his deal already, whether or not it will be kept; and frankly, who can blame him? The Allies have completely failed to root up the Taliban from Afghan society, and their withdrawal is an act of surrender. In particular, the all-important security forces are penetrated from top to bottom – just ask the relatives of any of the dozens if not hundreds of Allied soldiers murdered by “men in Afghan uniform”, as the institutional cowardice of the BBC usually has it.
It is at this time, as twelve years of occupation are about to come to an end in effective failure, that the Allies announed that the first women cadets had been admitted to the Allied-established Military Academy of Afghanistan.
I repeat: it is at this time, as twelve years of occupation are about to come to an end in effective failure, that the Allies announced that the first women cadets had been admitted to the Military Academy of Afghanistan.
I would not, perhaps, have become completely distorted with rage if the BBC had not ran this as their standard “ain't it wunnerful, progress for women” story; a dead and stupid way of looking at things anyway, and, in the case of these pathetic sacrificial victims, as heartless as it was inappropriate. Remember, in a year or two at most, the Taliban will be running things in Afghanistan: the Taliban, the people who bomb girls' schools, throw vitriol in teacher's faces, and shoot young girls in the head if they express any great desire to study. And at the time when this has become clear, not any time before, is this gesture to Western ideas made; I would say, this pitiful gesture, were it not that it's not pitiful, it's murderous. These women are called to make targets of themselves in order for some more than usually heartless and mindless Western decision maker to look as though something had been done for the status and rights of Afghani women. If it was so important to train some women in the profession of arms, why not enlist them in an Allied army and train them at West Point or Sandhurst? No: there had to be this tragic shadow theatre, with these few, probably very brave, certainly reckless, female cadets, playing the part of the vanguard of female enlightenment in a country where such people end up dead. In the end, that was all that was needed to put the final polish on the political, intellectual and moral wasteland that this misbegotten invasion has turned into.