« Making Sense with Sam Harris

#258 — The Fall of Afghanistan

2021-08-22 | 🔗

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Peter Bergen about the US exit from Afghanistan, the resurgence of the Taliban, and his new book, “The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden.” They discuss the Neo-isolationist consensus on the Right and Left, the legitimacy of our initial involvement in Afghanistan, our ethical obligations to our Afghan allies, Biden’s disastrous messaging, the weakness of the Afghan army, the advantages of the Taliban, the implications for global jihadism, the relationship between the Taliban and al-Qaeda, how Osama bin Laden came to lead al-Qaeda, bin Laden’s sincere religious convictions, our failure to capture bin Laden at Tora Bora, the distraction of the war in Iraq, the myth that the CIA funded al-Qaeda, bin Laden’s wives, his years of hiding in Pakistan, his death at the hands of US Special Forces, and other topics.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Bucket of making sense podcast. This cast SAM Harris just a note to say that if your hearing this, you are not currently honour subscriber feed we here in the first part of this conversation in order to access full episodes of making sense packaged you'll need to subscribe at San Aristotle, work there you'll find or private our says. We need to add to your favorite pot catcher, along with other subscriber, only content. We don't run ads on the past and therefore its may possible entirely through the support of our subscribers. So if you join what we're doing here, please consider becoming one while we're about a week. Into the tragedy and fiasco of Afghanistan, which is in part, the topic of today's pocket
as you here. I am not entirely sure what I about our withdraw. That is, I'm not sure, what I think about whether or not it should have happened. I can honestly inhabit both sides of that debate. But how we withdrew the lack of preparation, the lack of foresight, the lack of Consultation with our allies, like the British, our failure to extract the ten The thousands of Afghans who helped us are the interpreters and their families whose lives are now an honor jeopardy because of our bungling. Our failure to ensure this if passage of our own citizens, all of this is such a shocking betrayal of our obligation and of our own interests just beggars belief.
Almost impossible to imagine a great indication of american decline in a greater gift to our enemies to the jihadists globally, who must feel absolutely triumphant. Moment and to China and Russia who, We now know to a moral certainty that they can always call our bluff because we simply are no longer a competent superpower, we have been. Visibly spooked by our own shadow here. So if China invades Taiwan this year or next or the year after, I think a safe to say that our frantic withdrawal from Africa Stan will surely be one of the reasons why they felt they could again or not. can a position on the question of whether we should have left Afghanistan now or last year or ten years ago. I can see both sides of that debate
But the way we left is absolutely astonishing and it will harm us as a nation guaranteed will trust our assurance of protection now Well, there's an ally like Taiwan or any faction within a country that were, trying to support in some future humanitarian crisis,. If you don't think that matters have, you know, Think we need our friends to trust us. and our enemies to fear us. I don't know what you think you're living on perhaps think we can just retreat from geopolitics altogether and simply ignore the rest of the world you just repair bridges and get the led out of our water pipes right. Of course, we should do those things immediately but a world without America, as a functioning superpower is
they very scary world, and not just for Americans, a world where NATO allies can't trust. to honour our obligations, is a world where the risk of major wars has increased, not decreased. So what has happened in this last week is like the wheels have completely come off as a country. We have to get a handle on this and again, I think has to be recognised and responded to whatever you think about the wisdom of getting out of Afghanistan. Anyway, those of you who my want to support our friend, in Afghanistan who desperately need refugee status. I would recommend I donation to the International Rescue Committee. I had Dave Miliband on the past previously think about a year ago, who runs it and the waking foundation will be
it in a hundred thousand dollars to the icy this week, which of course, is made possible by those of you who subscribe either to the making sense podcast or to the waken up app or both. So. Thank you for that and if any of you get inspired to ride along with us in this donation this week to the Irish Sea, I was certainly welcome it and the website the International Rescue Committee is rescue, dot, org and now for today's podcast, where we get into many of the details here to dance again with Peter Bergen Peters, the author of several books. Must recently the rise and fall of Osama Bin Laden, which we discuss in the second half of the broadcast. he is a vice president. At New America and a professor Donna State University and also I now
Our security analysed for CNN Peters testified before congress and held positions at Harvard and Johns Hopkins and has covering jihadist. Terrorism and Al Qaeda in particular, since the nineties. So in his pockets we discuss the? U S: exit from Afghanistan and the resurgence of the Taliban, And then we get into his new book, we cover the neo isolationist. Consensus seems before me on the far right and far left politically the legitimacy of our initial involvement in Afghanistan, whatever you think of the ultimate outcome. We discuss our ethical obligation, store afghan allies, buttons, disastrous messaging weakness of the afghan army and one. Happen there the advantages that the Taliban had them patient for global jihadism. The relationship between
the Taliban and Al Qaeda. How some latin. Came to lead. Al Qaeda Bin Laden's religious convictions are failure. The capture him a torrent, Bora the distress, the war in Iraq, the myth that the CIA, funded how cater Bin Laden's relation with his wives. His years of high in Pakistan his death at the hands of you. A special forces and other topics. The conversation is also timely. Unfortunately, and whether or not Afghanistan stays in our new cycle. I think the reality of what's happening there is gonna have implications for a long time to come, and this conversation is certainly a good starting point for thinking about why that's the case, and I bring you Peter Bergen.
I am here, would Peter Bergen Peter. For joining sound Give me on so you ve written. A wonderful book which we will get into the rise and fall of Osama Bin Laden is that it is a great audio book to us how consumed most of it this week, good to hear yeah, you didn't you didn't read it, but I do it you achieve. Strangely reading these books, I don't have you ve done your own books, but that its very exhausting pious wishes kind, o Connor Intuitive, oh yeah, yeah nigh it's a total ordeal for me to read. It is genuinely heroin, I've actually to rewrite sentences, on the fly, because I could literally could not get through them Even after twenty takes. I just stated they were not written to be read by me. It was just a and it's saying Cirque du Soleil routine that I could not perform. So I guess it will get to the book, which is which is all who germane to the current topic that absorb
in everyone's interests now and concern, which is the all of Afghanistan to the Taliban, but term I guess but for we jump in maybe someday your background. How is it that you come to know about these issues and What have you focused on these many years? We I was living in Manhattan there in the early nineties, before I him did he see an old February in life every ninety. Ninety three, a group of man- Moreover, Van into the World Trade Center parking garage and blew it up in ten to bring down both towers animal these I had one thing in common: they all support it the Afghan war effort against the Soviets are actually even fought in Afghanistan against service, and so I went to my also it CNN and serve the seams interesting, the seems to be some sort of phenomenon here. I travel to Afghanistan
first time I ever want there? It was in the middle of very brutal civil war, much more intense and what we see now, with Peter on who was then almost certainly the world's most famous correspondent because it was relevant shortly after the end of the Gulf WAR, and we and another colleague, sort of spent many weeks now I was just trying to document this and it was a very tricky situation. Those day very noisy civil war and be No communication to speak of. We took us satellite phone in that was the size of two hundred pounds. That was the state of the art satellite. Today. Of course, you can just use a cell phone service. It was kind of a hard place to function, but after that I heard about Bin Laden and ninety nine
sex again went my bosses asean on. They, of course, had no idea who he was, and I said it I'm near. Perhaps he was responsible for this for this fund He really wasn't involving the traits the bombing and ninety three, except in the most peripheral of ways. But of course you all is responsible for this. both organization, a movement that the kind of was an hour growth of the ninety three trade center bombing here yeah so on? we'll get. You will go back into the history, a burden and tractor your book, but one thoughts now upon me, in over the last week. What has happened in Afghanistan, which unfortunately, was both predicted and predict? Predictable there are not many by myself but by others, because you didn't. To be sort of Klaus was to recognise that if we have sent it off, I was entirely with the United States,
then it will. Our NATO allies would leave, though it by the way twenty five hundred american troops, but there were seven thousand NATO, allied troops and sixteen thousand contractors, all of which have left or are in the process of leaving this cause a complete collapse of morale. Amongst the afghan military and afghan government and there's a kind of line of argument that the afghan army was weaken them you have. Sadly, there is some truth to bits and incontinently led organization, but sixty six thousand afghan soldiers can policemen died? Fighting the Taliban is about thirty times larger than the number of american fatality. So here is not that the wasn't a will to fight it, just the willow. I'd operated when there was no longer medevac, closer support, american advisers, etc. Yeah what I wanna get to the the see me conundrum of what happened with afghan army, but but Are we do well? What I'm doing
troubled by in the last few days in industry and what seeing the reaction to this. There seems to be a consensus forming in a domestically in America, maybe with worldwide, but Zack, I kind of NEO isolationist consent on the far left, the far right Finally made may be far as in scarecrows at how far in either directly have to go before we run into this, but it seems that both sides of the political spectrum, have large cohorts that agree that not only did we have to leave Afghanistan, but we had no business being there in the first place right it and the whole project was illegitimate and you're gonna write. I thank you You tend to hear people denigrating the Afghans and then and thinking that they just then they're not ready for democracy. They want the Taliban there barbarians. This was a fool's errand. to try to bring them into the twenty first century and, above all, at this moment, less keep their day
refugees out of our country right to this, that added on the far right on the left. People tend to denigrate. America and western civilization and so the very the idea that we will could pretend to one spread our values to the rest of the world when, where the greatest criminals and terrorists in history and measures, it's a real and the one on the left. You have people who list their preferred pronouns in their twitter buyers and who had want to see their neighbours and coworkers destroyed for telling off color jokes, but who will simultaneous? They claim that we shouldn't judged the treatment of women under the Taliban grandma. Who are we to pretend to care about these women and who are we to even judge this ancient culture for its own norms? Both sides seem to agree that we have no business being the world's cop and that now Billy never works and I hear that energy have these phrases. These catch raises a do immense work,
care what you that Afghanistan was the graveyard of Empires Reiser, which of course we this was ill conceived, and you know it We were committed to a forever war here, and on both sides. People seem to imagine it this is why we are in there was to enrich ourselves in some way. We were steely natural resources and I'm sure boss, lives in the end will find someone put the Jews at the back of all of this means just what we're living in eight in a information space that is contaminated by conspiracy theory and a complete loss of Trust in the media in institutions in the possibility of a benign american power, and so I just got here before we get. to the details of the rest I'm just wondering how you see that this consensus that we, you know had to rip the bandaid off and what therefore I would get the hell out. This was can fail precisely in some way
Biden has almost echoed this. I guess it was. It was all he's gonna- be this bad. There was no way to exit. There was gonna, be any better just the band aid off right yeah on across. I have a whole host of reactions. To that I mean yet. We ve heard from the White House in the sense of through White House reporters that the other factors it will collapse are quickly. You is evidence of guidance, Berlin's Berlin decision, which kind of this strange way of defending and not very small decision but Tom. So you know I mean there are many things to be said for some. There are one point three an active duty, Americans, two million when you find the reserves and twenty
five hundred is not a large I'm not a mathematician, but is a really really small percentage of the force that we have, and that was what sufficient account to prevent the collapse that that followed, and you know, I think that this is completely unnecessary. This kind of two arguments, of that. A breather behind one is tat. This was a great idea, but the execution was terrible when no one is denying the execution was a total fiasco, but I'm also I'm unconvinced was right policy decision. One of the hitherto does a great washing BC, tenancy tendency which were seeing right now, which is when you make a policy fiasco. You blame it on the intelligence, are you so the intelligence didn't really tell us that this will clap so quickly or whatever, but I think this was very fast moving and it was predictable that if we just pull the plug ripped of manage off as you put it
yeah, that there was gonna, be real problems, and here they are and there's gonna back to the future element to this, because we were approaching the twentieth anniversary of nine leavin. The Taliban are in court and control Dennis song, Al Qaeda, according to the United Nations in a report released in June, is closely aligned with the Taliban. The tub Al Qaeda is present in nineteen of the thirty four afghan provinces. Again, according to the? U N and the resistance to the Taliban is being led by accident Michel Masood some. in the past Year Valley, which is exactly what was two days before nine eleven act. Michel Masood was assassinated by Al Qaeda. So well how this would it mean it? What does it mean for american actual securities kind of another question I mean read with much more well
defended funded than we were in the past, then say: I'm leavin, but they're gonna be plenty of people sort of. Excited about this? You either will try to go on get training in Afghanistan was simply Braddock lies at home in front of a computer And do something in the name of the Taliban or Al Qaeda, as we saw during the ICES Caliphate, yeah yeah. What's it just to focus on The legitimacy of this of the initial project for another moment it seems to me one: can one really has to make distinctions fairly granular distinctions across every point in this timelines offers. One could certainly admit that going into Afghanistan was perfectly gentlemen. We want we went in for the right reasons we had to go in, but then also concede that the project failed there for a variety of reasons We need to understand and that warrant for ordained right. He or you could
further argue that, despite how difficult How are twenty years there were. The project itself was still salvageable right at the end of this is serious, combat for our troops, attended somewhere around two thousand and fourteen, and that are continued. presence there would have been far preferable. To what has now happened to me. We ve been in South Korea for seventy years or so, and I've Western Europe longer than that, and no one is talking about a forever war with respect to those places. So clearly clear. We can maintain troops in places for the same purpose. Weathers you, U humanitarian or geopolitical, are both with feeling that we have become the world's massacres. sort where an evil empire. So it is Beware whenever you that, wherever you fall in Europe, your eye commissioner pessimism about with respect to the past abilities in Afghanistan is still possible. to argue that
Containing our presence there as meat, Ok, as the result seemed, is full or better than than what has just happened and what is likely to becoming. I mean Violent agreement with the enemy of the perfect, isn't sort of recently: okay and the boy before was a reach me. Ok, this is obviously a cat, catastrophic debacle, ah that sort of taking place and so that the twenty five hundred troops or the thirty five hundred troops and partners So we just about, I think, our messaging, and we been saying since there were planning to leave Afghanistan since December, two thousand nine, when President Obama went West point to announce a surge, none of the sort same time, assertive troops and the same time announced that withdrawal day and, of course, from mere repeatedly said, relieving and and Biden has completed the withdrawal. Of course, you can change his mind. Irene present Obama changes mine in Iraq after there
rise, vices and sun and thousands of troops in the end to train the iraqi counterterrorism service, which turned out to be a very effective special forces unit which pretty much destroyed much of Al Qaeda. In Iraq with American as support so that this is not over I can change his mind right now or in the phase of trying to get Americans. I've, not allies, but some near it Yes, I may even there again, even if you disagree with the position I just sketched out. The truth is, I'm not I'm not even sure, my view is here. I could easily be persuaded that we should have gotten out. more or less now right, but what seems Emily obvious and an is has been denied. I'd buy every one of Biden's public utterances. I've heard thus far is that we could have and should have massively prepared to? It
dragged not only are the ten or fifteen thousand american citizens who were rumoured to still be there, but done. All of our allies. May all the people who put their lives on the line to call vibrate with us in a whore translator and people who are now very much at risk in killed by the Taliban. Maybe we had an ethical obligation. We have an ethical obligation to get them and the idea that we couldn't have done it in a truly orderly way, with sufficient force on the ground. That seems insane, and in that I don't know how, in his message about this will know why Biden would even be tempted to try to put a brave face on on how this has unravelled here and claim that there's there was no better way to do this. We can't even guarantee the safe pair some of our own citizens to the airport, I am completely,
We were that I don't think there's a single person this needed, as he doesn't think that this has been the extremely poor handled. The tardy question where people do disagree is light. Was the right thing to do list less with authority, Burma, where this was perfectly planned and a year went into the planning and everybody needed to get our got out. The I think you it is still ended up with the with the Taliban in control, and some people may be fine with ants. People may or may not be. I'm here I fall into the category of I spent a fair amount of time and Taliban control, Afghanistan, and I have a healthy scepticism for their claims of amnesty for people that were fighting them. I have a healthy scepticism for their claims about girls being educated and having jobs. I mean that is the crucial modified in their statements. Sam is whenever they say something like will. Yeah, of course, will have education for four
for women, and they then they add in the context of Sharia LAW, which is a pretty large caveat, because their interpretation, Sharia law differs pretty markedly from most Muslims and the same thing, they ve actually said about the independent media. Yet where we're gonna have an independent media, but they're gonna have to kind of do it in the context of Sharia LAW so that these are broom huge caveats, and these are coming from the sort of Doha, Taliban or police. go Taliban the people in the field, the begging to to make their own judgments about who they wanna, kill or attack, because the Taliban itself is not a monolithic entity. So its idea, question few witches you if you had to school. This is sort of an american failure. Is this hurricane Katrina for bushes The Iraq war decision is. This is it's hard for me to think
of an analog or something that was so poorly handled and so unnecessarily screwed up, even with IRAN, war decision. Aberdeen really become tear until several months in what a fiasco at war, will the false pretences at it, but it was kind of predicated upon here of the disaster. is immediately obvious from day one, and I doubt the pictures are gonna get better over time year. Ominous there's something especially grotesque about this big. Has the images you know- and I am sure we can see worse in coming weeks- for many, the images we have are every bit as bad as the fall Saigon and Biden is becoming a gas machine with respect this topic an easier way, the images have who have been supplied precisely in the form of had they they would never appear
right. You know he said we will not see, follow Saigon, like images and what we have seen it is worse, but certainly reminiscent of of of those older images. Haven't they just a pervasive sense that There are no grown ups left too help run the world immediately. If binds presidency and anything as eight a real turning of the page from trumps, it was in it, really a renewed commitment to competence right and that this is so when companies Emily, I don't think we should be under under any illusions that it would be better if too for in charge and treated if, if Trump were president, I'm sure He would have done something just like that. He's the one who committed us to getting in May your heap sign this, I believe, is referred to as the cap relation agreement with the Taliban so he's he started us on this path,
If he were president, we could imagine what is messaging would be. He would say things like big is totally capable of saying things like I love Taliban in other say own as they always say nice things about me. You know his. He could just be a complete repudiation of any sort of moral integrity we once had, but effectively happening anyway, in how little thought we ve given to the door well being of the people who helped Us- and I am the the idea that a generation of women and girls is now going to be pitched back into. The dark ages is something No one should be comfortable with it only argument to it all one needs for an organ and to have continued our presence there for other generation at whatever sacrifice it seemed This point is a truly minimal sacrifice, just to ensure that women and girls are not tat point
Leslie misery waited for the rest of their lives, I was under the Taliban amused. I like he, unlike the verb commiserated, because also that's gonna, be proven. much of the rest, the population out immigration. The I witnessed when I was in Taliban controlled Afghanistan was, now that the hundred already gone through the soviet occupation and the civil war, the economy was what remained in the economy completely disappeared under the Taliban Ere. I spoke to doctors running in Kabul who earning six dollars a month Taliban that so what is the Taliban project? A Taliban project is to make society pure and the amendments societies, pure everybody will be, Utopia will be.
Shaved unfortunate, that doesn't plan things like in keeping the electricity on or the water or the Taliban is not really interested in sort of conventional governance. They are interested in judicial decision making and they're interested in kind of monarchy. I've kind of how to set up an educational system that conform, with our views but ass for anything else. They don't have it. Maybe the new Taliban will have more competent people, but they certainly didn't whenever in power, and it's really not that priority, I mean I haven't seen a Taliban plan for a kind of what their economic plan is or like it's almost good that might almost an oxymoron. So you are socially. We can expect them to us, as we have already seen no attack or trine attack anybody that they consider to be an enemy wishes. Anybody who collaborated with United
so our NATO allies and the number is united by ETA, put a number on how many people worked with different. We had forty nine countries and there are one point, however, by two, this friendly legitimacy, as some in this parliament more legitimate wars in history, has no need of the Congress vote overwhelmingly. I, with only one deciding vote, which was formerly of California, then NATO invoked article five for the first time and only time in its history, the collective right to self defence, and rather crucially, the United Nations Paul stay. Resolution a few days after nine eleven sign that the United States could respond by any me enemies necessary which is new and speak for the basic that you can go to war than it should have been sent. So the icon, Think of what a war sandy denies faces conducted whether was that level of international and unit unanimity on the legitimacy of the war.
I'm surprised by the figure that you gave earlier of the truth levels of our allies, there were still there that that opens the question. Why is it all on us- or maybe I'm just have a myopic view of our own national disgrace here, but and I, I think the UK is people who care expressing the same opinion of themselves but why? Why was our point out synonymous, would the unravelling of everything? That is a very good question, but I mean the seven thousand american allied troops, the NATO troops were there. Yet the northern were doing advise and assist mission. It was known, combat roles yeah like him in Germany and in a way that the German the german political dispensation, wouldn't allow Germans to be involved and combat, and so that they were
mostly supporting rows of one kind or another, which is important, were gathering intelligence, but can we provide the the security on brother onto under which all this took place where knots in terms of you know I'll, satellite, imagery and Austin drones and the levels of intelligence we have in the end and the fact that we have set the operations forces that can go out on counter terrorism missions? I think that when that was put loud, I mean a leading indicator died out of the summit. You'll strains they were getting closer embassy feels like it was several weeks ago that I said that I mean they saw the writing on the wall and the Austrians actually full rather bravely in in Afghanistan. So you just it just created a sort of crisis of confidence and and war war is always about a contest, the wills, and if there is a will, starts gotta receding, it says
quick. He knows the Hemingway line about how did you go bankrupt will first gradually and then suddenly. This is what happened while also on on the poor, bankruptcy. What do we make of the collapse of the act? and government in the afghan police and and armed forces seems like the writing has been on it. Are there for a very long time in terms of our knowing about the corruption of the government. Action I was unaware of how deep this ran, but this week I someone's first, a documentary that was from twenty twelve. Perhaps he saw they this, the journalist Ben Anderson provide We will go along with any Moretti produced this documentary type This is what winning looks like and he came out in twenty twelve and he was just a minute
and was embedded with: U S, forces who were taken a purely supportive role for I'm asking. forces at that point. It just letting them execute all their missions and the vehicle lack of real trust. Real morale between Americans and they d. The Afghans was pretty start. When and mistresses ghastly episodes where you know they they find. You know that an afghan police commander, whose raping boys and either one of the end of the year. The Americans want to do something about this, and what they come up against is that this is based. play a social norm that you know if it's just because ubiquitous is like that, I think one of the Afghan said. You know good luck, a police commander who's not raping boys, her mistress. This is what we do than they were. They were raped his boys, another entitled to rape boys, and so there was just there was such a disjunction between.
Any kind of idealism for what could be built through this partnership, and What was actual and the actual truth on the ground and there were so many signs that this woman, Rob lobby that were putting people in tone The untenable situations, when we're words or going to a village what you, along with afghan forces and demanding that people support the government, and it was perfectly obvious that the villagers imitate the hand to hedge, their bad semitic, because they know the Taliban could be in there than in the next with the next week, make any the opposite demands, and they just have to more or less agree to be loyal to. Whoever is standing in front of them, holding a gun. So judge ever see that thumb
I didn't, but you got me experience it myself and hang. I was in Helmand with the Marines in two thousand and nine there was a marine lieutenant colonel. He was off by a van How long do you plan to be around and the marine lieutenant colonel wasn't gonna like him. He said if I can, promise. You I'll be here for nine months and the farmer. Clearly what the farm amount was exactly what you pointed out, which is I I people switched surrender the Taliban, not because I suddenly became enthusiast for the Talibans view of utopia, but because I want to keep their heads on their bodies, and here the worn Afghans on began began a nineteen seventy eighty it began even before the soviets invaded. So it's been going on for forty three years. Afghans wanted
Five and they ve had multiple switches and ninety two, the Kabul felt the communists were defeated and Kabul fell to the sort of warlords in ice in Kabul, fell to the Taliban, and two thousand one cobble fell to the Americans, and now it's fallen back to the Taliban. So I think this is told that Afghans are inherently
even if they just a young, they fatted lonely spirits of needing to survive in a war. That's gonna for almost half a century, and so what you describe in that document trees is. There is exactly right wishes of going back to the question of corruption and the police and the army. Now old, I went out and patrol with the afghan police in the sort of two thousand three two thousand full time period and there were smoking. The best quality grouse you can get in the world and I was about the all they were doing so you have. The police were very poorly paid, no real morale, the army slightly better, but you and president by tax by the three thousand four hundred thousand men army. That better is probably half that, because so many people deserted somebody ghost go soldiers so Babbitt's we haven't really been that wasn't ready much of this success. The afghan special forces are quite robots,
last and they were they ve been fighting's well, and the Afghan AIR Force has some competence, but but clearly the afghan army. If you haven't been fed or paid from many many months, it's not like you're, going out of tremendous loyalty to the central government. Yeah and this also justice, truly a trickle advantage weathers. Two morale and commitment when you picture the psychology on the table, inside of you. You have one side that is literally fighting for a paradise or their conception of Paradise and the other is fighting for money praying some pragmatic sense of the word. In theory of the moment- and he has just said. All of that is a hurried and stick together is far more fragile unless they were their people. a sufficient number of people on the two governments
and army side who are with this, the egg- and this speaks to some possibility that there's there's more simple They were the f with it with the How about world view then we might want to emphasise in this context a mistress s eyes is economic. most Afghans are, as horrified by Taliban as I am then there donation that they haven't been paid, doesn't cut it. Item, and this is a life and death struggle against totalitarian- the accuracy you'd expect, the two sides would really fight it out, but I have to expect that, while they may not be totally sympathetic with the conception of the Sharia, let the Taliban is going to demand of them. It's not as some seemingly divergent from what most people think should be normative.
As the only way we would be. In our context, I went to the caviar pretty heavily in the following sense so The Taliban is overwhelmingly pasture movement, the Pashtuns on yet forty percent, roughly the population they almost almost entirely from the south and the east, and so the norms that they have the norms of rural passions These are not the norms of tat, cheeks, ass, ours or whose backs. People who live in the cities and don't like right now, it's all receiving saying that people in Kabul are like himself taking down drugs in Ghana. Discos like in others, does odyssey gender segregation, but it's a very of a different lives over a much lower order I beg you really get in the sense that just ass you like, if you I don't know on about him. But you know someone like Eichmann shall Masood right it who young mentioned earlier can't imagine he was a m as lip the figure is as we would want,
to be in opposition to the UK, and the talent. That's not true. Look at me as Michel Masood, whom I met a ninety three was kind of an astonishing human being, probably the most impressive peasant over my he was an islamist wreck. Buddy. ozone is amiss with a kind of orientation to the West and east. I think you enter a friendly, say in Kabul. He began. He was perfectly happy dealing with Westerners. So it so. I would say it is a matter of gray, as you point out yet, but the everything it also exists that are really The point on the Taliban Intolerant also pays people unless it yeah multi billion dollar poppy opium enterprise, and so I think for her mother foot soldiers of the Taliban yeah they may all completely subscribe to. Taliban ideology
where did care about it completely. They are getting paid pretty steadily and just like ISIS was able to pay people whose conversation between a terrorist group and in such a group always either kind of military differences, but terrorist groups honeybees. What is an and often from the middle upper middle tassel middle class. In such a group you she had people payroll. You know we have thirty thousand men in the field of sixty thousand or seventy five thousand the case now the Taliban yeah, that's a pretty big payroll me and so. the Taliban was paying people? There are limited jobs for young men and in Afghanistan. I so I dont there is somebody logical compared to this, but is also for some people. This is just a job at some, it's a job where you actually pipe year here at its again, your pay, your backing me. What appears to be were clearly is Stronger horse right is just is purely pragmatic at that point, as well yeah
So how do you view this now? Let us think about the implications of this for jihadism globally. Do we think that time, a resurgence Taliban in something like a their version of a caliphate enough Ghana then we'll have a similar galvanizing, a fact that led to the islamic state had worldwide, and this is just the pendulum swing back into global jihadism. claim in more and more of our of of our bandwidth, geopolitically and journalistic me? Are you sure answer. Yes, I mean. Why would it be any different, I'm in here here. The Taliban in their minds defeated first the Soviets, because a lot of came out of the Anti Soviet, your heart and now the Americans. You must have three big deal and we're gonna declare not a counterfeit but an emirate. The distinctions between the two are
less important than similarities, and the commander of the faithful is how the Taliban refers to their leader, which has a claim that not only do I led the Taliban, but I'm in charge of all Muslims everywhere, which was the same climb, the Backup Alba Daddy made when he declared ISIS. So one of the big differences, I think, is that ISIS was like pathologically sectarian. The Taliban some have engaged in anti. Sheer anti has our massacres. They may not be the defining corps that movement which for the ice for ISIS. Clearly that was the case, but I think you're gonna see firefighters pouring in from South Asia and and parts of Europe.
to join this incredible. Incredibly successful enterprise and you'll see a few Americans who may try and travel there. You'll Sunday see people radicalizing in front of their computers because they they believe that this great Johannes victory, as happened in the self identify- and we saw that with ISIS problem, of course in the United States- was people kind of self radicalizing because of the ICES Geographical Caliphate, and that was very exciting once I caliphate geographically disappeared, the number of people got excited about. It was much much more because no one wants to join the losing side. right now. The Taliban are the winning side. Al Qaeda is kind of on the front lines with them. Not only are Qaeda but other jihadi groups, so young. I think we ve seen this movie before We want to know how it begins and we also know how it If it doesn't, then did you very well for the groups concerned, because, ultimately, a coalition of nations and other groups
kind of Newport, like Napoleon and eighteen, thirteen which is like, if you may make it of enemies is gonna. Let your own defeat and these groups tend to do that coming gray, lot of anti bodies, brothers, domestically or internationally in our work and of backing into the content of your book we know through your reporting that there's been a very cosy relationship between the Taliban and Al Qaeda. All the while I was While there was some discomfort at various stages of Osama Bin Laden's rain, where you see are seeking publicity in ways that, that Mullah Omar and others found inconvenient There was never really significant breach, but in them and they ve been be mutually supportive until the present but I am wondering what do we about the fact that there was not only not real.
collaboration, but actually overt hostility between the Taliban and ISIS or the Islamic State ya mean they they suddenly be fighting each other and It is an ideological or is it just not wanted ere the power. As far as I can tell it's, mostly Taliban groups of slapped only ISIS kind of a patch that makes them bigger and better- and I don't think it's it's like. The narcissism of minor differences, wishes Freud Zone, brain observation about those human activity. Here you do think it ever. You don't think it is. No, I think it's I think I do I do think that some big ideological split rat sandy ices is more likely to attack sheer or whether in Afghanistan or anywhere else, but by think his modest- that certain Taliban groups wanted to be the biggest bodice person on the Blockin slap on the ices patch, and it was more about local,
who says local personalities they. I don't think that was the Taliban across had engaged in negotiations in other states, which I see as clearly hasn't done, but I see it is more than the Nazis and move minor differences rather than some be illogical, split, rare, obviously, ISIS an hour I too have split in a kind of products a little more it illogical manner, because our Qaeda has tended to wanted to avoid attacking sheer except I caught her in Iraq, which of course was the turn of the Projector Vices Rep Ray. Ok. So, let's get into the history here and the fascinating. Hey study of Osama Bin Laden, there's, no there's that we naturally need to know a lot about him now and Maisie reward. How many documents, if you'd like to continue listening to this conversation, you'll need to subscribe SAM Herriston work once you do
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Transcript generated on 2021-09-02.