Following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in late August 2021 and the Taliban's return to power there, Ahmad 'Abd Al-Tawwab, a columnist for the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram, warned that the Western media is downplaying the danger posed by the Taliban by focusing on its human rights violations while ignoring the reason for them, namely the Taliban's religious ideology. This ideology, he says, regards women as the source of all temptation and sin and opposes culture and science, and thus poses a threat to modern civilization and its values. He called on countries that plan to maintain diplomatic relations with the Taliban not to defend this decision by projecting a false image of the movement.
Cartoon in Saudi daily, titled "Kabul Now," shows the "Taliban" removing its mask to reveal the face of the Devil (Al-Madina, Saudi Arabia, August 18, 2021)
The following are translated excerpts from his column:
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"…Some Western states and their media are circulating a false political analysis that will lead to trouble. Some critics of the Taliban are limiting their criticism to the fact that it opposes human rights, while devoting the rest of their time to justifying their position towards it… This approach, which suffices with [floating] a few major issues that grab the attention of those who monitor the commonest violations of human rights, disregards the great catastrophes [the Taliban] has wrought, which are far worse than those [human rights] violations, however important they are. [These analyses] elevate the Taliban and present it as movement that can be convinced of the error of its ways or pressured to change its ideas and behavior.
"This approach distracts people's attention from the greatest disaster, which is that the Taliban's violations are based on religious interpretations anchored in its ideology, which causes it to be proud of [these violations] and regard them as part of its immense superiority, not only over [the rest of] Afghanistan but over the entire world. [The Taliban] brands women as the source of all temptation and sin, who must be excluded from the public sphere, denied education and forced to stay in their homes or drape themselves in a tent if they must go out. It also harbors intense hostility to literature and art, seeing them as the essence of heresy. Moreover, [the Taliban is hostile even] to modern science, because it believes that [science] disregards the miraculous nature of the Quran, [a nature] which means that mankind needs not engage in any kind of research, or the like. This is why the Taliban is the opposite of modern civilization and its values. As for its position on ancient civilizations, suffice it to mention that two decades ago it fired mortars on the statues in an ancient temple, and did not bat an eyelid at the international criticism!
"Some countries may have to maintain ties with the Taliban, because it is now the one that decides whether to heed the interests of others in [Afghanistan], or thwart them. But these ties are no excuse for these countries to promote a false image of the Taliban, or fail to warn about the danger it poses to mankind and to civilization, or hinder those who do voice such warnings."