human rights

How was Malik Faisal Akram killed in the hostage-release operation in Texas? (Updated January 17, 2022)

Reports of the rescue of hostages and the killing of the hostage-taking gunman in Collingwood, Texas are extremely opaque as to how the hostage-taker, identified as Malik Faisal Akram, was actually killed.

Official statemeents simply say that he was dead, with absolutely no details, raising a lot if questions.

According to one report, “One hostage who had been held was released during the stand-off and the three others got out when an FBI Swat team entered the building, authorities in the US said.”

Questions raised include the following:

Why was it necessary to kill the hostage-taker?

Was he simply executed after the hostages had escaped or been released?

It may seem to some that, given the heinous nature of the crime, these details are unimportant. There was a similar disinterest in the details of the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2010, after he had apparently been brought under control.

These little details are important.

An entire civilization built on the rule of law depends on them.

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The situation in Afghanistan today, September 5, 2021

Ångeles Espinosa reports from Islamabad on the external challenges facing the Taliban leadership in naming a government. The announcement, originally expected Fiday, September 3, has been repeatedly oushed back. The Taliban are faced not only with overcoming their internal divisions, but also the immense challenges of providing food to the population and keeping the machinery of government working.

To meet the latter challenges they must satisfy the demands of foreign governments, international donors, and other international actors. The latter are demanding guarantees regarding human rights and the rights of women, many of which are at odds with basic tenets of the medieval Islamic ideology the Taliban have in the past espoused.



Abandoning Afghanistan: The moral costs

President Joe Biden ridiculed the Afghan soldiers who did not fight after the American withdrawal left them with no prospect of holding their own against the Taliban. Biden’s remarks were a cruel attack upon soldiers who had founght valiantly over the years, at a cost of some 68,000 lives.

He didn’t mention the girls of Afghanistan, who for 20 years displayed great courage in going to school, too many times at the cost of their lives. Angelina Jolie pays tribute to these girls and women, and their courage.


Afghanistan today, September 3, 2021: The Taliban government is forming, with no nods to Western wishful thinking

The Taliban are forming their government in Kandahar, with few concessions such as those imagined by American and Western leaders in their illusionary wishful thinking. Espinosa reports from a source close to the Taliban that the protection of women’s rights seems to be a third priority, while there sa a push toward decentralization. The latter augurs poorly for those provinces under the control of the most hardline factions within the Taliban.

Those who know Afghanistan appear to be getting it right.


The situation in Afghanistan today, August 30, 2021

See,

1) Jacques Follorou, “En Afghanistan, les talibans seuls aux commandes; Après le départ des Américains, mardi 31 août, les fondamentalistes islamistes, dont les principaux dirigeants se sont réunis à Kandahar, vont devoir gérer une économie à l’arrêt,” Le Monde, le 30 août 2021 (à 10h05, mis à jour à 15h33).

Taliban leaders are gathered in Kandahar for a meeting to define the contours of the new government, and in doing so to sort out ideological and personnel issues related to internal divisions.

Jacques Follorou describes the three main factions within the Taliban .


What is happening on the ground in Afghanistan? UPDATED August 29, 2021

“General amnesty has been granted,” he wrote, adding that “we are focusing on future.”
Yet there are growing reports of detentions, disappearances and even executions of officials at the hands of the Taliban, in what some current and former government officials describe as a covert and sometimes deadly pursuit of the Taliban’s enemies.

Leaving behind computer records that would enable the Taliban to identify who worked with the allies and acted as intelligence sources is inexcusable, as inexscusable as the American surrender and withdrawal which was not negotiated subject to serious conditions.
The closer you look. the more shocking and scandalous the Biden administration’s decisions and actions related to the American withdrawal seem to be.

The American military’s record is definitely mixed. While they seem to have done an impressive job with their airlift out of Kabul airport, given a disastrous lack of planning, perhaps the most enduring image of the U.S. military’s performance was their departure from Bagram Air Base in the middle of the night, without even telling their erstwhile Afghan “partners” they were leaving.

While there is ample blame to be shared by others, particularly Joe Biden, Anthony Blinken, and Jake Sullivan, Lloyd Austin was Secretary of Defense and directly responsible for the military’s failings. If there is to be any accountability for this catastropHe, Austin should be fired–along with Blinken and Sullivan.



The Big Picture: President Biden’s Decision to Withdraw from Afghanistan

The decision to surrender to the Taliban and abandon our Afghan allies and supporters is among the most craven and dastardly decisions in U.S. military and foreign policy history. One searches in history for a decision of such dishonorable magnitude.

The comparison that comes to mind is the agreement by Neville Chamberlain of England and Ėdouard Daladier of France with Adolf Hitler at Berchtesgarten in October, 1938. The agreement, known as tge Munich Pact, has become synonymous with betrayal and appeasement

That will be Joe Biden’s legacy, unless he changes course, which seems unlikely.


The Taliban and the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan: “Nice doggie…”

Yet however emotionally appealing Noonan’s prescriptions may be, to follow them would be to court disaster on an extraordinary scale. Any attempt to force open corridors by the use of military force would produce open armed conflict between the Taliban and the U.S. forces, which were sent to Afghanistan on an evacuation mission. American soldiers would be killed.

The Taliban occupy the entire city of Kabul, and the rest of the country. Who knows how many people would die if the U.S. tried to force the issue with military force.

Anyone entertaining such ideas should immediately watch the classic movie, Black Hawk Down (2001) which realistically depicts what happened in 1993 when American forces attempted to extract a relatively small number of soldiers from a firefight in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Why are F-16’s overflying Kabul?


There is no new Taliban (Updated August 20, 2021)

In failing to recognize that its surrender to the barbarism of the Taliban in Afghanistan was a major defeat for civilization and its defense of human rights and the rule law, the United States has committed a tragic mistake.

It has abandoned 38 million Afghans to the barbarism of a medieval terrorist regime, and 19 million Afghan women to the dictatorial rule of a misogynistic Islamic ideology which predates the Enlightenment and has not been influenced by it.

The American and allied capitulation to the barbarism of the Taliban must be understood as a terrible setback to civilization and the values of the Enlightenment.