It is nonetheless sickening for being de rigueur to hear Barack Obama mourning the death of the war criminal Burhanuddin Rabbani as a “tragic loss.” Rabbani had recently been appointed to lead a “High Peace Council” to start negotiations with the Taliban. He was killed at his home in Kabul by a visitor with explosives hidden in his turban. President Hamid Karzai, at the start of talks with Obama on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, said Rabbani’s death “will not deter us” from continuing the quest for peace. (Reuters, LAT, Sept. 20) Rabbani ruled Afghanistan from 1992 until the Taliban take-over of ’96, and then led the Northern Alliance insurgency. He has been perceived as the real power behind President Karzai. The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) decried Rabbani as leader of the “Northern Alliance mafia” made up of “millionaire rapists busy in the opium trade under the very nose of the US troops.”
Rabbani’s program of an amnesty for Taliban fighters, announced two years ago, was preceded by a similar amnesty for Mujahedeen warlords such as himself. While RAWA and international human rights groups have protested these programs as a betrayal of the victims of Taliban and Mujahedeen terror, they have ironically also been embraced by the anti-war left, which seems to often confuse “peace” with “impunity.”
When Rabbani’s military commander Ahmed Shah Massoud was similarly killed by suicide agents two days before 9-11, a sickening posthumous personality cult sprung up around him. His own memorial website hails him as the “Afghan National Hero”—a title officially conferred on him by Karzai (Afghanistan Online). When Massoud was nominated by French parliamentarians for a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize, RAWA angrily retorted: “Masood had a deceptive personality. He belonged to the Jamiat-i-Islami that was an ultra-fundamentalist outfit. During his regime, thousands of women were raped in Afghanistan. How could a civilised nation like France do this injustice? We strongly condemn his nomination and urge the human rights activists to protest it.” (RAWA, May 12, 2002)
We are almost certainly in for a similar round of revisionist hagiography concerning Rabbani—as we also were after the 2004 passing of Ronald Reagan, who massively underwrote the Mujahedeen insurgency. As we put it then: “Do not eat this vomit.”
See our last post on Afghanistan.
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Terry Glavin on the assassination of Rabbani
Here is a very different take by a journalist who has spent quite a bit of time in Afghanistan:
“Assassinated Tuesday at his heavily fortified compound in Kabul, Rabbani, 71, was a man chastened by the horrors the global triad of cold, hot and holy war had unleashed upon Afghanistan. He was acutely aware of the misery that the grand doctrines of his youth had visited upon his fellow Afghans. Jihadism of the book was one thing, Rabbani had come to know. In the real world, Islamism had failed utterly in its mission to reverse the centuries of humiliation and squalor afflicting Muslim societies. Its fanaticism was insatiable, the depths of its savagery unfathomable, and in the end, the cannibalism of jihad came for Rabbani in the form of an assassin with a bomb in his turban.”
Rabbani as McNamara?
Reminds me of Robert McNamara expressing regret over Vietnam—long after the damage had already been done. And the article doesn’t even include a quote in which he forthrightly expresses regret for anything. Sorry, I’m not buying it.
A few brief responses.
For one, read our Posting Policy. As a rule, we do not approve posts whose original content consists of “More here.”
For another, there is still no repentance for his war crimes in the new Rabbani interview you link to. The writer refers to the Taliban insurgency as “counterrevolutionary,” while favorably quoting Rabbani as calling revolution an “unwanted thing.”
The Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee that Glavin prominently links to fails to make clear what it is in “solidarity” with, yet says: “We support the UN-sanctioned mission in Afghanistan and the NATO-led International Assistance Force to Afghanistan (ISAF).” Solidarity with NATO? Count us out.
It all seems rather muddled. Sorry.
We suggest you try these websites:
Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)
Afghan Women’s Mission (US)
SAWA: Support Association for the Women of Afghanistan (Australia)
Women for Afghan Women
Afghanistan Rights Monitor
Afghanistan Peace Organization