US military condemns Afghan government’s release of 65 ‘dangerous individuals’

download (68)Long War Journal, By BILL ROGGIO:

The Afghan government has gone through with its plans to release of 65 of the 88 prisoners the US military has identified as “dangerous individuals.” United States Forces-Afghanistan issued an unusually strongly-worded objection to the release of the 65 detainees. The full text of the USFOR-A statement is below:

United States Forces-Afghanistan has learned that 65 dangerous individuals from a group of 88 detainees under dispute have been ordered released from the Afghan National Detention Facility at Parwan.The U.S. has, on several occasions, provided extensive information and evidence on each of the 88 detainees to the Afghan Review Board, the Afghan National Directorate of Security and the Attorney General’s office.

This release violates agreements between the U.S. and Afghanistan.

We have made clear our judgment that these individuals should be prosecuted under Afghan law. We requested that the cases be carefully reviewed. But the evidence against them was never seriously considered, including by the Attorney General, given the short time since the decision was made to transfer these cases to the Afghan legal system.

The release of 65 detainees is a legitimate force protection concern for the lives of both coalition troops and Afghan National Security Forces. The primary weapon of choice for these individuals is the improvised explosive device, widely recognized as the primary cause of civilian casualties in Afghanistan.

The release of these detainees is a major step backward for the rule of law in Afghanistan. Some previously-released individuals have already returned to the fight, and this subsequent release will allow dangerous insurgents back into Afghan cities and villages.


According to Pajhwok Afghan News, the 65 cases are now closed after having been cleared by an Afghan Attorney General Office team, and investigations of the remaining 23 detainees by the AGO are currently underway.

Seven of those freed may have been involved in the green-on-blue, or insider attacks that have resulted in the deaths of Coalition personnel.

Now that the “65 dangerous individuals” have been released, the US government should publish the names of those freed and the charges against them.






Sharia’s Protector

569By Mark Steyn:

Rohullah Qarizada is one of those Afghans you used to see a lot on American TV in the immediate aftermath of the Taliban’s fall. Trimly bearded, dapper in Western suit and tie, he heads the Afghan Independent Bar Association in Kabul. Did you know Kabul had a bar association? A few years back, I ran into one of the U.S. prosecutors who helped set it up, with a grant from the Swedish foreign ministry. Mr. Qarizada currently sits on a committee charged with making revisions to the Afghan legal code. What kind of revisions? Well, for example: “Men and women who commit adultery shall be punished based on the circumstances by one of the following punishments: lashing, stoning.”

As in stoning to death. That’s the proposed improvement to Article 21. Article 23 specifies that said punishment shall be performed in public. Mr. Qarizada gave an interview to Reuters, explaining that the reintroduction of stoning was really no big deal: You’d have to have witnesses, and they’d better be consistent. “The judge asks each witness many questions,” he said, “and if one answer differs from other witnesses then the court will reject the claim.” So that’s all right then.

Stoning is making something of a comeback in the world’s legal codes — in October the Sultan of Brunei announced plans to put it on his books. Nevertheless, Kabul has the unique distinction of proposing to introduce the practice on America’s watch. Afghanistan is an American protectorate; its kleptocrat president is an American client, kept alive these last twelve years only by American arms. The Afghan campaign is this nation’s longest war — and our longest un-won war: That’s to say, nowadays we can’t even lose in under a decade. I used to say that, 24 hours after the last Western soldier leaves Afghanistan, it will be as if we were never there. But it’s already as if we were never there: The last Christian church in the country was razed to the ground in 2010.

At this point, Americans sigh wearily and shrug, “Afghanistan, the graveyard of empire,” or sneer, “If they want to live in a seventh-century s***hole, f*** ’em.” But neither assertion is true. Do five minutes’ googling, and you’ll find images from the Sixties and early Seventies of women in skirts above the knee listening to the latest Beatles releases in Kabul record stores. True, a stone’s throw (so to speak) from the capital, King Zahir’s relatively benign reign was not always in evidence. But, even so, if it’s too much to undo the barbarism of centuries, why could the supposed superpower not even return the country to the fitful civilization of the disco era? The American imperium has lasted over twice as long as the Taliban’s rule — and yet, unlike them, we left no trace.

Seven years ago, in my book America Alone, I quoted a riposte to the natives by a British administrator, and it proved such a hit with readers that for the next couple of years at live stage appearances, from Vancouver to Vienna, Madrid to Melbourne, I would be asked to reprise it — like the imperialist version of a Beatles cover band. The chap in question was Sir Charles Napier, out in India and faced with the practice of suttee — the Hindu tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. General Napier’s response was impeccably multicultural: “You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.”

Read more at Steyn Online


Op-Ed: Why Are America and The West Funding Sharia Law?

By Phyllis Chesler:

President Hamid Karzai’s government is considering bringing back stoning for adultery—and imposing 100 lashes (which is a death sentence) for unmarried people who have had sexual relations.

Thus, Afghan men can marry female children, keep male children as sex-toys, maintain four wives, and visit prostitutes from dawn to dawn.

But it is a capital crime if an Afghan man dishonors another Afghan man by having relations with his female “property;” and, if he has raped the poor wife, she is also to be stoned. Worse yet, if two young Afghans meet and fall in love on their own and have sexual relations, but do not marry—they, too, will be committing a capital crime.

Just imagine what it is like to live in a world where marriages are arranged, often to first or second cousins; where a woman cannot divorce a man, no matter how violent or cruel he and his family may be.

Imagine that if a girl is maritally raped, tortured or forced into prostitution by her mother-in-law (these things happen all the time in Afghanistan).

Understand that if a bride is bold enough to run away, she will be jailed—that’s if she is lucky. Otherwise, her family of origin and her husband’s family will kill her for dishonoring them.

This reality is surreal, actually worse than Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel “The Handmaids’ Tale”. Such customs are indigenous, tribal, and pandemic– and have not been caused by Western colonialism, imperialism, militarism or even Zionism!

In fact, Afghans are very proud of the fact that they have never been colonized, not by Great Britain and not by Russia.

Why are America and the West funding such a country which is so clearly headed back towards the darkest days of the Taliban in the 1980s and to the even darker days of the bitter battles between warlords which massacred so many innocent civilians in the 1990s? Do Americans really believe that we can wean the Sunni Afghans from gender and religious apartheid?

Why is America funding humanitarian projects and training an Afghan Army when Hamid Karzai, presumably America’s puppet, is in reality a quintessentially wily Afghan who needs to posture against the infidel West in order to keep his conservative countrymen from assassinating him; who breaks promises as fast as he makes them and considers this clever diplomacy, Afghan-style; whose family has grown very rich allegedly as opium dealers as well as bankers and landlords.

Karzai has just now even gone against the wishes of his own Loya Jirga (mass meeting of elders) by deciding that he would not sign the agreement with America that he promised to sign.

I was once held captive in Kabul—the very country that sheltered Bin Laden as he hatched Al Qaeda and 9/11. Now, the entire civilian world is being held hostage by this style of terrorism and asymmetrical warfare i.e. a war in which soldiers are dressed as civilians and there is no “front.” A suicide bombing can happen anywhere and everywhere.

How eerie, how destined that I would know something about this particular country, the people, the customs, and could bring my hard-won knowledge to bear at this moment in history.

Read more at Arutz Sheva

img422118Phyllis Chesler is the author of fifteen books, including Women and Madness, Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman, and The New Anti-Semitism. She has published three studies about honor killing and is work on a fourth. Her new book, An American Bride in Kabul, (Palgrave Macmillan) has just been published to great acclaim. Professor Chesler may be reached at her website


Individual Rights vs. the Barrel of a Gun

by Ali Salim:

When, as Arabs, we see how Western society agonizes over everything concerning the legal system and the rights of the individual, we can only conclude that democracy is a recipe for self-destruction, and that the last thing we should do is adopt it. It seems obvious that we should use the West’s lack of commitment to its own existence to finalize Islam’s global mission.

The Americans are getting ready to withdraw from Afghanistan at a designated date, but not in wild retreat like the red-faced Soviets. One of the reasons the U.S. is able to luxuriate in an orderly withdrawal is its ability to adopt the tactic of using small UAVs [Unmanned Aerial Vehicles] for the targeted killing of terrorist operatives. The UAVs were what overcame al-Qaeda and the Islamists and their terrorist threats, and that turned these terrorists from being free agents into “sitting ducks.” The UAVs were what made it difficult for these Taliban opium-growers to continue killing the over-equipped American soldiers who were trying to locate them in those snow-capped mountains and high craggy cliffs of Afghanistan.

There are, however, people in the West who criticize the targeted killings of the Taliban; they claim that fair trials were not given these terrorists. The result, however, was that it was those aerial assaults that brought the Taliban leaders, at least for a short time, to the negotiating table in the new glass-and-steel offices in Qatar.

An armed USAF Predator drone. (Source: U.S. Air Force)

Now, on the eve of the final withdrawal of the American forces from Afghanistan, the Taliban have made clear that they are ready to meet in a show of good faith with the UN, the Americans and the government of Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai to find a peaceful solution under the auspices of the international community.

The Taliban, although they still refuse to recognize the Karzai administration, have even promised not to launch more attacks from their territory into neighboring countries. They identify themselves as the “Islamic Taliban Emirate,” and promise a military campaign against any invader. Their statement was filled with ambiguous expressions, generalizations and problems yet to be solved; among them, their intention of establishing a consensus Islamic rule of an Islamic emirate in Afghanistan — after they destroy what they refer to as the “occupation” of Afghanistan.

Although this initiative of the Taliban is a product of the upcoming withdrawal of troops, the upcoming elections in Afghanistan and the formation of a coalition of Sunni Arabs against Iran, it is mainly a product of the massive losses the Americans caused them in Afghanistan’s mountains. The next bloody conflict is already on the horizon. President Karzai has demanded that the peace talks be held in Afghan territory, and he conditioned any future interaction with the Taliban on its ending its terrorist campaign and stopping its operatives from acting as proxies beyond Afghanistan’s borders. The Taliban agreed, but claimed it had not yet been given guarantees from the Afghan government that the agreements would be honored.

What made the Taliban consent to talk to the West was, yet again, the determined American use of military force based on reliable intelligence — and the targeted killings.

The lesson of Middle East has been that enforcing justice in this merciless corner of the world can only be accomplished with a loaded gun and the readiness to use it. For this reason, the West’s condemnation and wringing of hands against wiretapping, the prisoners’ conditions in Guantanamo and targeted killings carried out by UAVs are a symptom of either alarming sanctimony or alarming ignorance.

Neither Western intelligence nor the conditions of internment and interrogation will ever deter Islamic terrorism in the Middle East — or anywhere else. The terrorists regard them as a joke, especially compared to the techniques used by their own intelligence services.

When, as Arabs, we see how Western society, especially in the United States, agonizes over everything concerning the legal system and the rights of the individual, we can only conclude that American-style democracy is a recipe for self destruction, and that the last thing we should do is adopt it. It seems obvious that we should use America’s lack of commitment to its own existence to carry out Islam’s global mission.

Read more at Gatestone Institute


taliban2by MEREDITH DAKE:

State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday that talks between the United States and the Taliban for a “political solution” to the security of Afghanistan will result in concessions from both sides. Within hours of that statement, the Taliban took credit for an attack in Afghanistan that resulted in the death of four Americans.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday morning that the Taliban have “claimed responsibility” for an attack on an U.S. air base in Afghanistan that resulted in the death of four Americans. This attack was facilitated after the Taliban announced the opening of offices in Qatar for the purpose of negotiations for a “political solution” in the Afghan region.

The State Department seems to have put no pre-conditions for the Taliban to come to the negotiation table and suggests that major concessions could be made to the terrorist group in an effort to bring security and stability to the region without the need for U.S. presence.

State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki left the possibility open with reporters on Tuesday that upcoming “negotiations” with the Taliban could result in the delisting from the United States’ “Most Wanted” terrorists list in order to facilitate stability in the Afghan region. When asked about the Taliban’s insistence for leaders to be removed from the “Most Wanted” list, Psaki said, “There need to be negotiations, there need to be discussions. The U.S. will have some, Afghans will have some, but I’m not going to get ahead of what the end results will be.”

Read more at Breitbart with video

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Obama’s Dangerous Fantasy of Al-Qaeda Defeated

warisover_6067-85x85By Robert Spencer

When he met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Washington last Friday, Barack Obama said this [1] about the war in Afghanistan: “We achieved our central goal … or have come very close to achieving our central goal, which is to de-capacitate al-Qaeda, to dismantle them, to make sure that they can’t attack us again.”

He said this four days after a Muslim imam who was a soldier in the Afghan National Army opened fire [2] on a group of his British “allies,” murdering one of them and wounding six. The Taliban, al-Qaeda’s partner in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the attack, which was yet another in an ever-lengthening string of “insider” attacks by Afghan forces against those who are putting themselves at risk to train and assist them. The BBC reports [3] that “in 2012, more than 60 Nato service personnel, and a quarter of the British troops who died in Helmand, were killed in such attacks.”

The Taliban is not al-Qaeda, although the distinction on the ground in Afghanistan may be exceedingly fine, too fine to be discerned by the average NATO soldier when the Afghan he is trying to teach how to be a military man turns the gun he has just given him on his benefactor. In any case, the appalling fact that “a quarter of the British troops who died in Helmand” perished in such attacks indicates that the enemy in Afghanistan is far from being either “de-capacitated” or dismantled, and still has the ability to attack us.

Nonetheless, Obama officials keep doing the victory dance over an al-Qaeda that they repeatedly imply is on the verge of extinction. Jeh Johnson, general counsel at the Defense Department, recently said that “military pursuit of al-Qaida” should end soon [4]. His reasoning was apparently that al-Qaeda is now so severely damaged that we will soon reach a “tipping point” after which military action against them will no longer be necessary, and local police can handle it.

This astounding manifestation of an overconfidence of Baghdad Bob proportions, or else of a capitulation attempting to disguise itself as a victory, is bitterly ironic coming at a time when al-Qaeda is anything but on the ropes: in fact, it is “carving out its own state [5]” in Mali, with so much success that last Friday the French launched airstrikes in hopes of stopping its advance and its consolidation of power in the vast areas it already controls.

Viewed alongside the Obama administration’s unstinting support for the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt and support for jihadist rebels elsewhere, along with its active work to further the agenda [6] of Islamic supremacist Muslim Brotherhood front groups in the U.S., this raises questions about whether Obama is preparing to abandon the last elements of any U.S. resistance to jihad in any form.

Read more at PJ Media

Saudi to build major Islamic center in Afghanistan

Al Arabiya:

Saudi Arabia will build a massive Islamic center complete with a university and a mosque in Afghanistan, an Afghan minister said Monday, describing the project as “grand and unique”.
Estimated to cost up to $100 million, the center on a hilltop in central Kabul will house up to 5,000 students, Dayi-Ul Haq Abed, the acting Hajj and religious affairs minister told AFP.
It will be named after Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the minister added.
“The agreement was signed last week in Jeddah. The construction will start next year, in couple of months or so,” Abed said.
The mosque, similar to the Faisal Mosque in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad that was also built by oil-rich Saudi Arabia in 1980s, will hold 15,000 worshippers at a time.
The minister said the center will be run jointly by the Saudi and Afghan ministries of religious affairs. Other universities in Afghanistan are run by the higher education ministry.
Saudi Arabia was one of only three countries — along with Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates — that recognized the hardline Islamist Taliban regime during its rule in Afghanistan from 1996-2001.
The Taliban were overthrown in a US-led invasion shortly after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington for harboring al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, but have waged an 11-year insurgency.
The US and NATO still have more than 100,000 troops in Afghanistan supporting the government of President Hamid Karzai, but they are due to pull out all combat forces by the end of 2014.

‘My Son Trained Somebody to Murder Him’

by Richard Sisk (h/t Dave Bailey)

The grief-stricken father of a slain Marine lashed out at the U.S. training policies with the Afghan National Security Forces. His son’s death became one of many recent insider attacks leading to high-level meetings between U.S. and Afghan leader to re-evaluate their training methods.

“At the end of the day, what happened is my son trained somebody to murder him,” Greg Buckley Sr. said at the funeral Saturday for Lance Cpl. Gregory T. Buckley, 21, of Oceanside, N.Y., according to a CBS report.

The Afghan recruits “come in, they say, ‘We want to be police officers,’ and we hand them a blue uniform and hand them an AK-47? That’s insane,” the father told CBS as he stood surrounded by family and friends wearing buttons with a picture of his fallen son in uniform.

“If my son died on the battlefield, I would’ve been — maybe been — able to accept that, but instead they killed him inside the gym,” said Buckley Sr., according to CBS.

Buckley; Staff Sgt. Scott E. Dickinson, 29, of San Diego, Calif.; and Cpl. Richard A. Rivera Jr., 20 of Ventura, Calif., were shot to death on Aug. 10 while they worked out at a base gym in the southwestern Helmand province. The assailant allegedly was an unvetted 15-year-old “tea boy” who was the personal aide to the local Afghan district police chief, the Washington Post reported.

The grief and anger of Buckley’s father reflected the opinions of most Americans. Numerous recent polls have shown that a majority believe the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting.

While services were held for the young Marine in Long Island, N.Y., Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called Afghan President Hamid Karzai to curb the growing incidents of “insider attacks” by Afghans wearing uniforms that have killed at least 109 coalition troops since 2007 — 39 since January, including 25 Americans.

Another Afghan dressed in a police uniform shot and killed a NATO soldier Sunday in southern Afghanistan. It wasn’t immediately known what country the NATO soldier was from. And an Afghan police recruit killed two U.S. Special Forces trainers Aug. 17.

Panetta thanked Karzai for “condemning the attacks and the two “expressed shared concern over this issue,” said George Little, the chief Pentagon spokesman.

To counter the insider threat, Panetta and Karzai discussed measures that have already been put in place or are in the planning stage. The two called for “augmented counter-intelligence measures, even more rigorous vetting of Afghan recruits, and stepped up engagement with village elders, who often play a key role by vouching for Afghan security personnel,” Little said.

Marine Gen. John Allen, the overall Afghan commander and head of the International Security Assistance Force, has also ordered all U.S. troops in Afghanistan to carry loaded weapons with them at all times.

Buckley and the two other slain Marines were members of Kilo Co., 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, which had not taken any casualties before the Aug. 10 incident in the gym. On that same day in Helmand province, three other Special Operations Marines were killed by an Afghan wearing a police uniform in a separate incident.

Capt. Matthew P. Manoukian, 29, of Los Altos Hills, Calif.; Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Jeschke, 31, of Herndon, Va.; and Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote, 27, of El Dorado, Calif., were shot to death by an Afghan police officer with whom they had just shared a meal.

In yet another incident, U.S. military officials strongly suspect that the Afghan police recruit who killed two Special Forces trainers with a weapon just handed to him was a Taliban plant and part of a growing threat from enemy infiltrators.

The U.S. and NATO have begun a major review of the vetting process for Afghan recruits for the police and the army to include checking on the identities and loyalties of village elders and Afghan officials who are required to vouch for the trainees, the officials said.

Until recently, Pentagon and NATO officials had routinely dismissed Taliban claims to have infiltrated the ranks of the Afghan National Security Forces as idle boasts, but the recent spike in “green on blue,” or “insider,” attacks has forced commanders to rethink policy.

“We think it’s about 10 percent,” a Pentagon official said of the percentage of deadly insider attacks carried out by Taliban agents or sympathizers since January 2011.

A total of 50 attacks by Afghans in uniform had occurred in 2011 and 2012 through last Friday and killed 74 coalition troops, the vast majority of them Americans.

Read the rest at

U.S. Troops Could Face Sharia Trial for Quran Burning

by Clare Lopez:

In what must surely be the most shameful episode of the ongoing U.S. retreat from Afghanistan to date, top officials not only have offered abject apologies for the burning of Qurans defaced by Afghan Muslim detainees in the Parwan Detention Facility at Bagram Air Force Base, but repeatedly have promised to bring those responsible to “justice.”

President Barack Obama pledged to hold “accountable those responsible;” NATO officials actually gave their word to hold “an open trial” of the “perpetrators of the crime;” while Gen. John R. Allen, NATO Commander in Afghanistan, told FOX News on February 29, 2012, that following an investigation, the soldiers would be subject to provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Allen’s statement follows the murder of a growing number of U.S. military personnel by Afghans and days of Muslim rioting across the country that has taken dozens of Afghan lives.

Precisely which sections of the UCMJ cover subjection of American troops to charges brought under Islamic Law is not entirely clear. The UCMJ Subchapter II, Section 814, Article 14 says that “(a) Under such regulations as the Secretary concerned may prescribe, a member of the armed forces accused of an offense against civil authority may be delivered, upon request, to the civil authority for trial.”

It is not unprecedented for the U.S. military to turn an American soldier over to a foreign civilian authority for trial, but such cases are dependent on the provisions of such Status of Forces or Status of Forces-like agreements as may exist between the U.S. and the government in question.

A U.S. bilateral agreement with Afghanistan does exist regarding the status of military and civilian personnel of the U.S. Department of Defense present in Afghanistan, but in accordance with the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, “U.S. personnel are immune from criminal prosecution by Afghan authorities, and are immune from civil and administrative jurisdiction except with respect to acts performed outside the course of their duties.” [Emphasis added.]

The above provision of the UCMJ, then, does allow U.S. military personnel to be turned over to foreign civilian authorities for trial; and the SOFA-like agreement which the U.S. has with Afghanistan does seem to allow for a loophole by which some actions (like the Qur’an burning?) might conceivably be categorized as “outside the course of their duties.”

In this light, Gen. Allen’s careful parsing of his remarks to FOX’s Bret Baier must ring ominously in the ears of every American soldier. Rather than stating forthrightly that no American under his command would ever be subject to the blatantly unfair provisions of shariah, which as a matter of law holds non-Muslims inferior to Muslims and the ‘desecration of the Qur’an’ by infidels as potentially a capital crime, Gen. Allen has allowed doubt about his position to linger in the public perception.

Coupled with the obsequious letter that President Obama sent to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Allen’s failure to stand behind his troops leaves America’s courageous volunteer force in a perilous state of uncertainty about whether soldiers could one day be handed over to Afghan authorities operating under the Islamic law that U.S. advisors helped write into their constitution.

The Qur’an is believed by Muslims to be divinely revealed scripture. As such, it is a book that is supposed to be handled only by Muslims with clean hands and in a reverent manner.

This is indeed the noble Qur’an.

Kept in a secure Book.

None may touch it, except with ablution.

(Q 56: 77-79)

It is haram (unlawful) for anyone not in a state of purity to touch a Qur’an. Obviously, handling of the Qur’an by infidels, who according to shariah exist in a permanent state of impurity, is considered by Muslims to be deeply disrespectful.

The 7th century Pact of Umar, which lays out the subordinate status of conquered Christians and Jews (dhimmis), stipulates that they may not teach the Qur’an to their children. The shariah-based legal codes of Afghanistan and Pakistan both impose the death penalty for desecration of the Qur’an.

On February 28, 2012, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta issued an official statement in which he clarified exactly where he stands on this barbaric Islamic law: “We honour and respect the religious practices of the Afghan people, without exception,” he said.

What are our American troops fighting and dying in Afghanistan supposed to understand about their commanders’ commitment to them and to the U.S. Constitution? How can the U.S. Commander-in-Chief, his Defense Secretary and the theater commander even think about turning American troops over to be judged by Islamic law or adapting the UCMJ to the provisions of shariah?

A real possibility exists that significant numbers of the U.S. troops — which are all volunteer — will not re-enlist if they have to fear being turned over to Afghan shariah judgment. Although the Department of Defense has been mandated to reduce its payroll, this does not seem the best way to do it.


Clare M. Lopez is a senior fellow at the Clarion Fund and writes regularly for Lopez is a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on the Middle East, national defense and counterterrorism issues. Lopez began her career as an operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Qur’an Burning and Destructive Double Standards

By Bruce Thornton at Front Page:

The riots and violence in Afghanistan over some accidentally burned Qur’ans are following a script that by now is all too drearily familiar. As we have seen over the years with the riots over the Mohammed cartoons, Pope Benedict’s comments about violence in Islam, or false rumors of Qur’ans flushed down toilets, violent Muslim overreactions to slights are immediately followed by anxious apologies from American leaders. Rather than defusing the anger, however, such groveling merely encourages more contempt and violence.

So too with the current riots, which have killed 30 people, including 4 U.S. soldiers, two of them in the high-security Interior Ministry. Another seven Sunday were wounded in a grenade attack by demonstrators. This violence, moreover, has been encouraged by mullahs in mosques, teachers in madrassas, and members of parliament. Predictably, the Taliban––with whom our government is eager to talk peace––has encouraged people to “turn their guns on the foreign infidel invaders.” President Obama has responded to this incitement and violence by offering his personal “sincere apologies,” professing his “deep regret,” and vowing to hold those responsible accountable. Defense Secretary Panetta and NATO commander John Allen also apologized.

But no reciprocal apology has been demanded from President Hamid Karzai for the incitement to violence on the part of government and religious leaders, or for the deaths of two of our troops at the hands of an Afghan soldier we trained and armed, and another two inside a government ministry. Newt Gingrich had the best response to this sorry spectacle: “There seems to be nothing that radical Islamists can do to get Barack Obama’s attention in a negative way and he is consistently apologizing to people who do not deserve the apology of the President of the United States period,” Gingrich said in Washington D.C. “It is Hamid Karzai who owes the American people an apology, not the other way around. This destructive double standard whereby the United States and its democratic allies refuse to hold accountable leaders who tolerate systematic violence and oppression in their borders must come to an end.”

The administration and the military, of course, rationalize their indulgence of this double standard as motivated by “the safety of American men and women in Afghanistan, of our military and civilian personnel there,” as Obama spokesman Jay Carney put it. But as one demonstrator in Kabul said, “We don’t care about Obama’s apology. We have to protest to be responsible to our god. They are burning our Qur’an. An apology is not enough.” Most Afghans obviously agree, since rioting and killing have intensified despite apologies from our highest government and military officials. Indeed, over the past few decades, no amount of apologies for alleged “insults” to Muslims has stopped Islamists form attacking us. Nor have the good deeds benefitting Muslims, from rescuing Bosnians from genocide to liberating Libyans from Gaddafi, stopped jihadists from wanting to kill Americans for an endless list of reasons. The past decades of such incidents have shown instead that apologies are useless, and merely confirm the impression among Muslims that we are spiritually inferior, and so endorse the perverse logic that accidentally burning a book is worse than murdering our soldiers and citizens. Why else would we publicly flagellate ourselves over such “insults” even as we say nothing about the Muslim murders of Christians in Egypt and Nigeria, or the Muslim laws prescribing capital punishment for converts to Christianity, or the Muslim vandalizing and destruction of 300 churches in Cyprus, or the Muslim slow-motion extermination of Christians in lands that worshipped Christ for 6 centuries before Islam even existed?

As Gingrich pointed out, these double standards are counterproductive and have been proven over and over to make Muslims despise us rather than like us. What we refuse to accept is the intolerant chauvinism inherent in Islam, the belief that Muslims are the “best of nations” and destined to rule the world. Accepting the double standard merely confirms their superiority and our inferiority. After all, to let someone behave according to one set of principles or standards while demanding that you be subjected to others is to validate a claim of superiority that justifies the disproportionate and unjust behavior. It’s acting like a battered wife, who accepts a beat-down from her husband as justified punishment for burning his dinner. This double standard also reflects incoherent thinking, a failure to apply consistently a principle that presumably has universal validity. Hence we celebrate and practice “tolerance” at the same time we enable, ignore, excuse, and rationalize intolerance. In the West’s struggle with Islamic jihad, our doubts about the superiority of Western beliefs have coupled with this breakdown in ethical reasoning. The result is the appeasement of jihadist aggression and the confirmation of the jihadist estimation of the West’s weakness and corruption.

This record of appeasement, then, has encouraged many Muslims to demand from Westerners a hypersensitivity to Islam, all the while that Christians and Jews in Muslim countries are subjected to harassment, assault, vicious insult, and murder. In the West, respect for Muslim holy books and practices is supposed to be granted as a self-evident right beyond argument or debate. Yet Western ideals and principles, such as tolerance for different creeds, are derided, disrespected, and rejected as self-evident evils. Worse yet, we pretend that our appeasement of jihadist violence is an expression of tolerance, the liberal-democratic virtue that simply has little meaning in Islamic theology. Why would any pious Muslim “tolerate” an infidel culture that jeopardizes the eternal souls of Muslims, and that stands in the way of others’ converting to Islam? As the Ayatollah Khomeini said, “Those who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. All the countries conquered by Islam or to be conquered in the future will be marked for everlasting salvation.” Such confidence is reinforced when we acquiesce in a standard whereby burning a Qur’an or insulting Mohammed with a cartoon is worse than killing people.

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U.S. Set to Release Key Taliban Figure in 9/11 Attacks

The U.S. intelligence community is warning that the Taliban have abandoned none of their goals to conquer all of Afghanistan and enforce strict Islamic law (shariah). A new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which represents the collective judgment of the most senior U.S. intelligence analysts, warned the White House in December 2011 that the Taliban would settle for nothing less than total control over “an Islamic emirate.” Nevertheless, the Obama administration acknowledges that its envoys have been pursuing talks with the Taliban for the past year, are working on the opening of a political office for the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, and are considering the release of several Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay—as a “trust-building measure.” What could possibly go wrong?

Aside from the fact that Afghan President Hamid Karzai seems somehow to have been left out of this flurry of diplomatic activity with the Islamic jihadists who have been fighting for the better part of two decades to take over his country, the continuing failure of U.S. leadership to know the enemy cripples our ability to defend America’s most critical national security needs and exposes the homeland to the very real possibility of another 9/11. The December 2011 NIE on the Afghan Taliban plainly stated that Mullah Mohammad Omar, the Pashtun warlord whose government sheltered Usama bin Laden and al-Qa’eda in the 1990s, remains totally committed to taking over all of Afghanistan and subjugating it to the harsh dictates of shariah.

When the Taliban ruled The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from 1996 until they were ousted by U.S. forces in late 2001, the world saw the most barbaric cruelties of Islamic law inflicted on the Afghan people: amputation, flogging, and stoning, as well as the savage repression of women and girls.

As became obvious on one clear day in September 2001, it wasn’t the Afghan people alone who would suffer at the hands of the Taliban. Mullah Omar’s Afghanistan harbored Usama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the rest of al-Qa’eda as they plotted the attacks of September 11 together with the Iranian regime. As we now know from the December 2011 ruling in the Havlish case by Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of New York, the top levels of the Iranian regime, and specifically the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and intelligence service (MOIS—Ministry of Intelligence and Security), were closely involved in providing “direct and material support” to al-Qa’eda in the 9/11 attacks—and it was Mullah Omar whose steadfast loyalty to Usama bin Laden and secret dealings with Iran allowed those attack plans to proceed.

This is the same Mullah Omar with whom Department of State envoy Marc Grossman has been meeting for months, unbeknownst to the American people and unbeknownst to the thousands of American troops who are still fighting against the Taliban, dying, and coming home maimed for life, in a valiant effort to defeat the forces of shariah Islam.

Unfortunately, most Americans and most of our service members probably don’t know that the Department of State long ago helped write the Afghan constitution, which placed the country firmly under Islamic law, complete with dictates that apostasy is punishable by death, blasphemy/slander against Islam is a capital crime, minority faiths such as Buddhism and Christianity face institutional discrimination, women are officially second-class citizens, and freedom of speech and expression is non-existent. This means that, for the last decade or so, thousands of Americans and other NATO coalition forces have been fighting to defend a government in Kabul that was already subjugated to shariah (one of the key objectives of al-Qa’eda and the Taliban in the first place).   

Late December 2011 and early January 2012 reporting indicates that the situation may yet become even worse. There are indications that the U.S. government is considering the release of several senior Taliban leaders who have been held at Guantanamo Bay for years and have until now been considered too dangerous to let go. Now, however, in a desperate effort to complete the American withdrawal from Afghanistan and entice Mullah Omar’s Taliban jihadis into negotiations, the White House is thinking of setting free some of the worst of the worst Taliban terror leadership—including at least one figure who personally arranged and attended a pre-9/11 planning meeting with Hizballah, Iranian, and Taliban officials.

Khirullah Said Wali Khairkhwa is a former Governor of Herat Province, Afghanistan who served under Mullah Omar’s Taliban government from 1999-2001. Khairkhwa met in Kandahar directly with Usama bin Laden and other jihadi fighters at least once in early 2000 and also after 9/11 at a clandestine October 2001 meeting between senior Iranian intelligence and Taliban officials at which Iran pledged to assist the Taliban in its war against the United States.

Indeed, according to the Havlish case documents, Khairkhwa had been appointed Governor of Heart Province in western Afghanistan with the explicit mission to improve relations between Iran and the Taliban. Guantanamo Bay Combatant Status Review Board transcripts show that he fulfilled that tasking by bringing senior Taliban leaders such as Hizbi-I Islami commander Gulbuddin Hekmatyar together with Usama bin Laden and Hekmatyar associates in the Iranian IRGC and MOIS. Khairkhwa was captured in 2002 and transferred to Guantanamo Bay; significantly, Washington, D.C. District Court Judge Ricardo Urbina denied Khairkhwa’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus in an opinion issued in May 2011.  

Now, the U.S. government is considering releasing Khairkhwa anyway and perhaps several other senior Taliban figures as well, all of whom were closely associated with al-Qa’eda and all of whom the U.S. military has assessed as posing a high risk of returning to Taliban ranks to continue fighting jihad if let out. This would be in return for nothing from the Taliban except some promises to continue talking.

Khairkhwa’s close relationship with the Iranian IRGC and intelligence service only compounds the danger of allowing him out of U.S. custody. And yet, that is exactly what reportedly is now under serious consideration by the U.S. government. With Afghanistan under Islamic law, U.S. and allied Western troops soon to withdraw, and now possibly the Taliban’s top jihadis to be released from American detention, it would be a clean sweep total victory for the forces of shariah Islam. Minus Usama bin Laden and some other former top leaders now gone from the scene, but bolstered by the incredible wholesale collapse of Western resolve, al-Qa’eda and the Taliban, together with jihadist allies in Iran and Pakistan, would be free once again to consolidate their hold over Afghanistan.

As Iran continues to drive towards a deliverable nuclear weapons capability and with Pakistan already in possession of a nuclear arsenal, the forces of shariah Islam clearly are ascendant across multiple fronts. Prospects for stability in West Asia look increasingly dim. Prospects for American leadership in defense of genuine democracy and freedom look even worse.

Clare M. Lopez, a senior fellow at the Clarion Fund, writes regularly for, and is a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on Middle East, national defense, and counterterrorism issues