Small Wars Journal

Taliban Open New Front Against Aid Workers While Talking Peace

Taliban Open New Front Against Aid Workers While Talking Peace by Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Rod Nordland – New York Times

As the Taliban opened a new front this week in the Afghan war by attacking American-backed aid organizations in Kabul, negotiators for the group and the United States were meeting in the latest round of talks on ending the war.

The Taliban has struck aid organizations sparingly in the past, making the attacks on Wednesday at the offices of CARE and Counterpart International even more stark. At least nine people were killed and 20 others wounded, Afghan officials confirmed. The death toll was nearly double initial reports.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, was quick to claim responsibility for the attack and to offer an explanation on Twitter: Counterpart International, which works largely on civic engagement projects, is American led and is financed primarily by the United States Agency for International Development.

But neither Taliban nor American negotiators commented on the inherent contradiction in talking peace while attacking civilian targets. The Taliban had rejected pleas by the Afghan government and the Americans for a cease-fire during Ramadan, but they had promised to avoid civilian targets during the holy month…

Read on.


Bill C.

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 11:56am

Going back at least to the time of the Soviets/the communists attempts to "transform" Afghanistan -- more along "foreign" alien and profane political, economic, social and value lines -- the Afghan resistance (which, of course, was not to be found in the form of the Taliban way back then?) has consistently, it would seem, drawn a line in the sand when it comes to such things as:

a.  "Aid" organizations

b.  Overstepping their bounds and, in effect,

c.  Becoming "agents" of the foreign entities trying to "transform" the state and societies of Afghanistan more along such alien and profane "foreign" way of life, way of governance, values, etc. lines: 


On asking an anti-government tribal leader – whom he first met in the mountains of Afghanistan in 1987 – whether the ICRC could travel safely in the area under his control, a senior ICRC delegate received the following reply:

"Today, like 20 years ago, a government and its international allies are trying to impose a model of society, with all the modernization, reconstruction, development and Western values that go with it. Today, like 20 years ago, I disagree and we all shed blood. Today, like 20 years ago, you come here to try and make sure prisoners are well treated, wounded taken care of, our families not bombed, or starved, or humiliated. We respect that. Now, be warned: just as we do not expect you to support our religious, social, political views and actions, so we expect you not to support – in any way – our enemies. Know when so-called humanitarian action becomes a sword, or a poison – and stop there."


(See page 188 of the International Committee of the Red Cross Report entitled: "The International Committee of the Red Cross in Afghanistan: Reasserting the Neutrality of Humanitarian Action."

Thus, for the Afghan resistance at least -- and for many decades now -- it seems clear that THEY certainly have no illusion as to "the kind of war they are embarked upon?"