The Taliban resume public executions on Sunday by stoning to death a young couple who had committed the crime of falling in love and eloping. The couple — Khayyam, 25, and Siddiqa, 19 — publicly proclaimed their love for each other and reportedly refused to yield to the fanatics who are retaking control of parts of the country.
Some of their own family members were part of the hundreds of local residents in the village who stoned them to death. The couple reportedly proclaimed “We love each other no matter what happens.” They were promptly stoned to death in the name of Islam by the Taliban.
What is most disturbing is not just the resurgence of the Taliban but the support of such violations of human rights by our allies. Human rights officials in the country report an renewal of draconian measures and the oppression of women with the support of government officials.
The head of the Ulema Council in Kunduz Province, Mawlawi Abdul Yaqub, is considered a “moderate” figure in the country but said that the stoning was the appropriate sentence for an illegal sexual relationship. The woman had been told to marry another man and had refused. The Ulema Council is a body of Islamic clerics with religious authority that works closely with the government.
The national Ulema Council of hundreds of leading clerics issued a statement on August 10th calling for more such punishment under Shariah law, which includes stoning, amputations and lashings. We continue to spend billions and lose American lives to help a government that is quickly descending back into such medieval practices and oppressing women across the country.
Failure to carry out such “Islamic provisions,” the council statement said, was hindering the peace process and encouraging crime.
While he has condemned the couple’s execution, , Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly warned that he might join forces with the Taliban. Various moderate officials have threatened to resign due to Karzai embrace of Taliban allies and Karzai has said that he doubts the Taliban can be defeated.
In a move that would abandon any principled reason for our sacrifices and years of war, Obama has indicated that he may also accept the Taliban returning to positions of power. It seems that we are just trying to secure some semblance of peace to offer political cover for a pullout. So, with thousands of dead and wounded in our ranks, we could be declaring victory by leaving a country in at least partial Taliban control, where the most basic rights and protections to women and religious minorities are savagely denied. If we are just waiting for politically plausible moment to declare some pyrrhic victory, our continued sacrifice of lives and treasure in that country is grossly immoral. I have long been a critic of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, though I believe that the invasion of Afghanistan was justified in light of their protection of Osama Bin Laden. However, remaining in that country to try to build a new nation was folly in my view in light of the hundreds of years of strife and the extreme form of Islam followed by many residents. I am particularly disturbed by our soldiers fighting to protect officials who are opposed to the most basic rights of women. It is a bizarre scene to have our female soldiers dying so that government-supported clerics can continue to impose Shariah-based restrictions on their ability to be educated or even marry.
The scene of this loving couple dying on this dusty field symbolizes more than simply the grotesque views of the Taliban. It symbolizes the tragic and fruitless sacrifice of our own people — and perhaps our own values if we are soon to reach a “compromise” with the Taliban. I would prefer a “principled pullout” over a “victory” based on alliance with the Taliban. We have been right to declare the Taliban the enemy — not just because of Bin Laden but because of their hostility to human rights. If we cannot maintain that line of distinction, we are sacrificing our personnel to manufacture a politically convenient moment of withdrawal to benefit our leaders.
Source: New York Times