August 18, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9503

Al-Jazeera Reporters Celebrate 'Taliban Victory', 'U.S. Defeat' As Historic Triumph For Islamic Ummah

August 18, 2021
Qatar | Special Dispatch No. 9503

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban's takeover of the country sparked many reactions worldwide, including in the Arab world. Conspicuous among these reactions were expressions of joy by Islamist organizations such as Hamas,[1] the Palestinian Islamic Jihad,[2] the International Union of Muslim Scholars[3] and various elements identified with the Muslim Brotherhood.

However, satisfaction over the U.S. "defeat" was also evident in tweets by reporters and presenters for the Qatari Al-Jazeera network, who wrote that the U.S. "collapsed" and stood "dumbfounded" and "terrified" in the face of the Taliban's advance. This, they said, was a historic event that "put an end to the foolish American escapade in Afghanistan" and proved that the will of the peoples could defeat even the mightiest force. Some these journalists tweeted under the "Taliban Wins" hashtag, which went viral among users who welcomed the resurgence of this terror organization.

It should be noted that, in the recent two years, Qatar, which supports the Taliban, has been mediating between the U.S. and this organization. In recent months Qatar also hosted talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government aimed at establishing a joint rule, but at the same time the Taliban took over the country.

Below is a sampling of tweets by Al-Jazeera reporters and presenters rejoicing over the U.S. "defeat" in Afghanistan:

Al-Jazeera Reporter: "A Victory For The Islamic Ummah"

On August 14, amid reports that the Taliban was taking over more and more of the country and would soon enter the capital, Kabul, Al-Jazeera reporter Ahmad Muwaffaq Zaidan, the former head of the network's offices in Pakistan, tweeted: "#Taliban wins. [This is] a victory for the [Islamic] ummah, because anyone who belongs to this ummah feels its pain and shares its hopes. The faces [of the Muslims] are shining and beaming with imminent victory. As for their enemies and rivals, their faces have been covered with dust for a while… The Islamic ummah is like a globe whose center is at any point on its surface. Today the center is Afghanistan."[4]

Senior Presenter Ahmad Mansour: "An Unprecedented Historic Event"; "The U.S. Collapses And Withdraws, Defeated," In The Face Of The Taliban

Senior Al-Jazeera presenter Ahmad Mansour tweeted on the same day: "The rapid collapse… of the Kabul army, trained [by the U.S.] and equipped with the most advanced American weapons, completely shocked and amazed the Americans. It proved that power [does not depend on] weapons but first of all on the might of those wielding the weapons, so possessing state-of-the art weapons does not guarantee victory. This is what happened in Gaza, and is now happening in Afghanistan."[5]

In a series of tweets the following day,  Mansour added: "What is happening in Afghanistan is a historic event, unprecedented in the history of war. The U.S., with its immense military might and its advanced technology, collapses and withdraws, defeated, along with the Kabul army on which it spent billions. It stands dumbfounded, terrified and helpless in the face of the Taliban forces, which have descended on it like lightening from the mountaintops." Following the Afghan president's flight from the country, Mansour tweeted: "[President] Ashraf Ghani, the product of the American occupation, has fled Afghanistan. #Taliban Wins."[6] On August 16 he tweeted under the same hashtag: "Biden is giving his speech of defeat and acknowledging that Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires."[7]

Other Al-Jazeera reporters also welcomed the events in Afghanistan. Jaber Al-Harmi, the former editor of the Qatari daily Al-Sharq, tweeted: "Arab media figures who preach 'openness' attack the Taliban in an excessive manner… Regardless of its Islamic source of authority, the Taliban is a liberation movement which opposed the occupiers and their servants for 20 years and [eventually] beat them. Would this alarmist [attitude to] the Taliban and this distortion have existed if it had been a secular or a communist [movement]? Certainly not."[8]

Former Al-Jazeera Director: Arrogant Force has Been Defeated By The Will Of The Peoples; "This Is The Sorry End Of America's Foolish Escapade In Afghanistan"

Waddah Khanfar, the former director-general of Al-Jazeera, tweeted on August 15: "The Taliban has triumphed, and American is defeated! Twenty years of popular resistance, legendary steadfastness and an unwavering [moral] compass. This reminds us of America's defeat in its 20-year war in Vietnam (1955–1975). Arrogant force has been defeated by the will of the peoples."[9] In a tweet the following day, Khanfar shared news footage of a U.S. plane taking off from Kabul airport while hundreds of Afghan citizens try to board it and flee the country, and commented: "This [video] clip will go down in history. This is the sorry end of the foolish American escapade in Afghanistan, a fitting [end that] encapsulates the humiliation suffered by the occupiers and their helpers."[10]

Jordanian journalist Yasser Abu Hilala, the former director of Al-Jazeera in Jordan, shared a photo of a U.S. plane leaving Saigon in 1975 alongside a photo of a U.S. plane leaving Kabul, with the comment: " …The U.S. has learned nothing. Occupation is destined to disappear."[11] 

In another tweet he wrote: "Let us note that [Afghan President Ashraf] Ghani governed and won [the elections] on behalf of the American occupation, with Emirati [funding]. Neither the world's most powerful army nor its richest country can grant a ruler legitimacy. [The only thing] they can provide is a seat on a plane fleeing [the country]."[12]

Lebanese Journalist: Al-Jazeera's Coverage Of Afghanistan Events Is A Disgrace

Conversely, Lebanese journalist Diana Moukalled directed harsh criticism at the elements that welcomed the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan, and especially at Al-Jazeera's positive coverage of the events. She tweeted on August 16: "The poison of political Islam began emerging in various places in the form of applause for the benighted ideology of the Taliban. [This was evident on] Al-Jazeera, which welcomed [the developments] and in messages of congratulation by Syrian armed factions, alongside reactionary remarks by enthusiastic [commentators], and the list goes on and on." In another tweet she wrote: "Al-Jazeera's coverage of Afghanistan, which is eager to highlight the reassuring messages, instead of the alarming reality, is a disgrace. This channel of the [Arab Spring] revolutions ignores all those who are currently living in fear in Afghanistan, and disregards the women and minorities who fear this benighted organization. They should at least treat the Taliban the way they treat [Egyptian President] Al-Sisi, and cover everything they do."[13] 


[1] See, August 16, 2021.

[2] See, August 16, 2021.

[3] See, August 16, 2021.

[4], August 14, 2021.

[5], August 14, 2021.

[6], August 15, 2021.

[7], August 16, 2021.

[8], August 16, 2021.

[9], August 15, 2021.

[10] 16, 2021.

[11], August 15, 2021.

[12], August 15, 2021.

[13], August 16, 2021.

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