Mullah Mohammad Omar, the leader of the Taliban, is now dead, and the Taliban, we are told, are on a charm offensive. As The New York Times reported Friday, they’re pushing the line, “We’ve learned the lessons from our time in power, and we’re ready to moderate a bit.” At international conferences they deign to meet and speak with women, and they may have softened their opposition to music and photography just a bit.
But we’d be naive if we believed they’ve changed, and more credulous still if we failed to understand that the Taliban were the role model for the so-called Islamic State now spreading its gruesome practices across the Muslim world. ISIS, too, will someday claim it is “moderating” its positions, and ISIS, too, will find apologists. Which is why it’s so important to remember and understand the truth about the organization Mullah Omar led for so long.
On the very day the Taliban entered Kabul in 1996, Mullah Omar announced that Afghan girls could no longer go to school. Women could not work. In fact, women could no longer even leave their homes without a male relative.