Biden Will Have To Confront His Failures In The Middle East

As President Biden Prepares To Travel To The Middle East, He Has A Lot Of Damage Control To Do, Resulting From His Administration’s Ill-Considered Policies Like Treating Saudi Arabia As A ‘Pariah,’ Chasing A Bad Nuclear Deal As Iranian Provocations Continue, And Forcing A Disastrous Withdrawal From Afghanistan That Has Left American Capabilities Diminished While The Taliban Represses Women And Provides A Haven For Al Qaeda


America’s Relationship With Saudi Arabia ‘Has Reached A Low Point Under Biden’

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “[Last year] a disastrous retreat from Afghanistan gave our allies and partners reason to doubt that the United States could be counted on…. Saudi Arabia is literally surrounded by violent threats conceived, funded, and orchestrated by Iran. To the north, they’ve got Iran-backed terrorists sowing violence in Iraq and Syria. To the east, they have a Gulf filled with the flags of Iran’s own increasingly belligerent Navy. And to the south, the Saudis have Iran-backed Houthi terrorists strangling Yemen and lobbing rockets, missiles, and armed drones over the border. To be sure, this violence and the plight of the Yemeni people have only worsened since the Biden Administration removed the Houthis from the terrorist list and imposed new restrictions on our support for the Saudi-led coalition. Around the world, from time to time, we all have legitimate concerns about the behavior of our partners. But we are in a better position to influence their conduct if they trust in our partnership…. Whether we help or not, our Arab partners will still be under siege tomorrow. They’ll still need military capabilities to defend themselves. And we know that Russia and China will happily sell them advanced weapons systems. The importance of so-called great power competition is a matter of general consensus. So we should be wary of turning our backs on long-time partners and of pushing them into the arms of our adversaries.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 12/07/2021)

Biden’s Hasty And Misguided Hostility Towards Saudi Arabia Has American Relations With Riyadh At ‘A Low Point’

“When campaigning for president, Joe Biden vowed to turn Saudi Arabia into a ‘pariah’ … Once in the White House, he temporarily froze weapons sales to the kingdom over its war in Yemen. He also outlined a vision to make the US a renewable energy powerhouse, less reliant on an oil market where the Saudis hold so much sway.” (“Soaring Oil Prices Force Biden to Engage With Saudis He’d Spurned,” Bloomberg News, 6/09/2022)

“Bob McNally, president of Washington-based consultant Rapidan Energy Group and a former White House official [says,] ‘The president has rediscovered the importance of stable oil and gas prices—and specifically the critical role played by Saudi Arabia.’ …  To many observers, it looked as if the partnership forged 77 years ago at Great Bitter Lake in the Suez Canal between Franklin Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabia’s founder, was in terminal decline. The relationship has frayed before…. Still, McNally, the former White House official, says it has reached a low point under Biden.” (“Soaring Oil Prices Force Biden to Engage With Saudis He’d Spurned,” Bloomberg News, 6/09/2022)

The Saudis Have Repeatedly Rebuffed Pleading From The Biden Administration To Pump More Oil

“The administration has been seeking for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to make a significant increase in oil production as a way to calm soaring prices. But relations between the U.S. and the two Gulf nations have been souring recently…. [T]he Saudis have rebuffed those requests from the U.S.” (“Getting More Oil From Saudi Arabia Or The UAE Could Require U.S. Concessions,” NPR, 3/31/2022)

And The White House Has Dithered For Months Over Whether The President Should Visit Saudi Arabia At All

“The renewed engagement with Saudi Arabia is one of the most striking policy consequences of the rising prices, as it marks a notable deviation from Biden’s campaign rhetoric and pledge to put human rights at the center of his foreign policy. For months, senior officials at the White House and the State Department have debated whether the president should travel to the country, given his sharp criticism of Saudi Arabia for its human rights record … After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, however, and months-long diplomatic work by Biden officials, the president is set to visit Saudi Arabia later this summer and meet with Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince and de facto leader of the kingdom.” (“Inside Biden’s Frustration With Soaring Prices,” The Washington Post, 6/13/2022)

‘The Biden Administration Has Undermined [The U.S.] Relationship [With Saudi Arabia] At Every Turn, And By All Accounts The Saudis Are Fed Up’ While ‘Beijing Is Happy To Step Into The Breach’

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “The White House confirmed Tuesday that President Biden will travel to Saudi Arabia next month, though the left was already criticizing the trip before it was formally announced. While his trip makes strategic and economic sense, it would be less embarrassing now if Mr. Biden had been more realistic about the world from day one. Mr. Biden came into office bowing to the left’s disdain for Riyadh without appreciating the strategic need for Arab allies in the Gulf. As a candidate he vowed to make Saudi Arabia ‘pay the price and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are.’ He added that there was ‘very little social redeeming value in the present government.’ As President he rolled back support for the country’s war against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen and tried to isolate Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Mr. Biden also courted Iran, as Barack Obama had done to no good effect, which further discomfited the Saudis. It all backfired. Iran has refused Mr. Biden’s concessions to return to the 2015 nuclear agreement and has hamstrung United Nations nuclear inspectors. Meanwhile, the Saudis have courted Russia and China as alternatives to the U.S. as strategic and economic partners. Until recently the Saudis refused Mr. Biden’s pleas to pump more oil, and the Crown Prince reportedly refused to take his phone call. Now Mr. Biden is courting Saudi Arabia again, and his public bows may have to be all the deeper given his early public disdain.” (Editorial, “President Biden’s Saudi Arabia Flip Flop,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/14/2022)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “Saudi Arabia is edging closer to accepting the yuan as payment for oil shipments to China. This is one more cost, and a potentially significant one, of the Biden Administration’s bungled handling of a strategically important ally…. [T]he two sides are said to be keen, and news of renewed discussions sends an alarming signal. Saudi Arabia committed in 1974 to conduct its oil trade only in dollars, in exchange for security guarantees from Washington…. Beijing is happy to step into the breach, and it could benefit if it can coax Riyadh into a yuan-for-oil arrangement. Doing so would help Beijing start building the scaffolding for a global yuan, including greater dispersion of the currency around the world. This in turn could open the door for China to offer the yuan as a trading currency to U.S. adversaries such as Russia and Iran. U.S. economic sanctions would be that much less effective.” (Editorial, “How Biden Lost Saudi Arabia,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/18/2022)

  • “The Biden Administration has undermined [the U.S.] relationship [with Saudi Arabia] at every turn, and by all accounts the Saudis are fed up. One of the Administration’s first foreign-policy actions was to end U.S. support for the Saudi war against the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen. It also removed the terrorist designation from the Houthis. The White House then postponed a scheduled arms sale to Riyadh—a security slap-in-the-face that wasn’t reversed until late last year. The Houthis have returned Mr. Biden’s gift by sending drones and missiles to attack the oil fields and cities of Saudi Arabia and its ally, the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, the Saudis watch, aghast, as Mr. Biden chases a new nuclear deal that will give Iran the resources to finance proxy wars against Saudi Arabia—until Tehran gets its own nuclear bomb.” (Editorial, “How Biden Lost Saudi Arabia,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/18/2022)
  • “[T]he U.S. needs every friend it can keep in a difficult part of the world. The high-minded internationalists populating the Biden Administration assume, wrongly, that a power such as America has the luxury of cooperating only with the morally pure. The Saudis are recalculating their interests now that they fear they can’t rely on the U.S.—amid the Biden Administration’s hostility and the horrifying Afghanistan withdrawal. The Crown Prince has refused Mr. Biden’s entreaties to pump more oil …” (Editorial, “How Biden Lost Saudi Arabia,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/18/2022)


Iran Continues To Use Proxies To Attack American Bases With Impunity While It Evades And Undermines Inspections Of Its Nuclear Program

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “The nature of the Biden Administration’s approach to Tehran thus far has concerned not just Republicans, but members of both parties. Our Democratic colleague, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, recently exhorted the Administration and our partners to, ‘exert more pressure on Iran to counter its nuclear program, its missile program, and its dangerous behavior around the Middle East, including attacks on American personnel and assets.’ … Reports indicate a sequel to the bad 2015 Iran nuclear deal may be imminent, yet the Administration has laid zero bipartisan groundwork…. Rumors of this impending ‘deal’ — because rumors are all that Congress has — suggest it would be an enormous step in the wrong direction…. President Biden appears to want to give Tehran enduring sanctions relief now in exchange for limited and short-term curbs on their nuclear program…. This is wildly reckless. This is an Administration chasing a deal, any deal, instead of pursuing our interests.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 3/07/2022)

‘Washington Has Not Responded With Force’ To ‘Attacks By Iranian Proxies Against Bases Housing U.S. Military Personnel’ Since 2021

“Attacks by Iranian proxies against bases housing U.S. military personnel in Iraq and Syria are increasing, U.S. officials say, and Washington has not responded with force since 2021. There were seven attacks in May, as many attacks that month as February, March and April combined, and there have been a total of 29 since October without a kinetic U.S. response…. The attacks have been carried out by Iranian-backed militias, the U.S. officials say.” (“Iran-Backed Militias' Attacks Against U.S. Targets Are Up. The U.S. Hasn't Responded With Force Since Last Year.,” NBC, 6/10/2022)

  • “In October 2021, five so-called suicide drones packed with explosives and shrapnel attacked the U.S. garrison at al-Tanf in southern Syria. No U.S. troops were killed in the assault, but several structures were badly damaged. Iran was behind the attack, according to three U.S. defense officials and two administration officials, with its proxy forces carrying out the attack with the intention of killing U.S. troops…. After the al-Tanf attack, the U.S. sent a message to Iran through diplomatic channels, warning it not to strike again. Since then, U.S. troops have been attacked on at least 29 separate occasions, according to a list provided by a senior defense official. The most recent attack was [in early June] when an Iranian-backed group fired five Katyusha rockets into al-Asad air base in western Iraq.” (“Iran-Backed Militias' Attacks Against U.S. Targets Are Up. The U.S. Hasn't Responded With Force Since Last Year.,” NBC, 6/10/2022)

‘Iran Is Removing 27 Cameras Used By The [IAEA] To Monitor The Country’s Nuclear Sites’

“The head of the United Nations atomic energy watchdog said Thursday that Iran is removing 27 cameras used by the agency to monitor the country’s nuclear sites, a move that he warned could deliver a ‘fatal blow’ to the stalled international negotiations to restore a 2015 nuclear deal. The removal of the cameras followed the passage of a resolution Wednesday by the watchdog’s board censuring Iran for not cooperating with an investigation into uranium traces found at three undeclared nuclear sites. Only Russia and China voted against the resolution. Unresolved questions about the sites have long been a source of contention between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency … Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director general of the IAEA, said during a news conference in Vienna that Iran’s removal of the cameras ‘poses a serious challenge to our ability to continue working there and to confirm the correctness of Iran’s declaration’ of the full range of its previous nuclear activities.” (“Iran Will Remove 27 Cameras From Nuclear Sites, U.N. Watchdog Says,” The Washington Post, 6/09/2022)

‘Iran Used Secret U.N. Records to Evade Nuclear Probes’

“Iran secured access to secret United Nations atomic agency reports almost two decades ago and circulated the documents among top officials who prepared cover stories and falsified a record to conceal suspected past work on nuclear weapons, according to Middle East intelligence officials and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The International Atomic Energy Agency documents and accompanying Persian-language Iranian records reveal some of the tactics Tehran used with the agency, which is tasked with monitoring compliance with nuclear nonproliferation treaties and the later 2015 nuclear deal. The U.S. and the IAEA have said for years that Iran has failed to answer questions about its past nuclear work in a cat-and-mouse game that continues to this day and now complicates a revival of the nuclear deal, which lifted most international sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on Iran’s nuclear activities.” (“Iran Used Secret U.N. Records to Evade Nuclear Probes,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/25/2022)

  • “Iran’s acquisition of sensitive IAEA documents ‘represents a serious breach of IAEA internal security,’ said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a former U.N. weapons inspector. ‘Iran could design answers that admit to what the IAEA already knows, give away information that it will likely discover on its own, and at the same time better hide what the IAEA does not yet know that Iran wants to keep that way.’” (“Iran Used Secret U.N. Records to Evade Nuclear Probes,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/25/2022)
  • “The IAEA records accessed by Iran were among more than 100,000 documents and files seized by Israeli intelligence in January 2018 from a Tehran archive. Some documents include handwritten notes in Persian on IAEA documents and attachments with Iranian commentary. In several of the documents reviewed by the Journal, Iranian officials credited ‘intelligence methods’ for obtaining the IAEA reports.” (“Iran Used Secret U.N. Records to Evade Nuclear Probes,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/25/2022)

Yet The Biden Administration Continues To Pursue A Revival Of The Flawed Obama Nuclear Deal With Iran At All Costs

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “The Biden Administration finally got around this week to supporting an international censure of Iran for not cooperating with United Nations nuclear investigators. Yet the White House still wants to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, which is useless without a proper accounting for, and checks on, Iran’s nuclear malfeasance…. Iran responded to the censure by doing more of what led to the censure. The IAEA said Thursday that Iran had removed 27 monitoring cameras from four nuclear sites, and Tehran plans to install more advanced centrifuges at an underground facility…. [I]t seems the Islamic Republic has decided its response to anything—from concessions to censures—will be escalation.” (Editorial, “The Iranian Nuclear Deal Dream Never Dies,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/09/2022)

  • “[The U.S.] left the 2015 nuclear deal more than four years ago because it didn’t address Iran’s ballistic missile program or its support for terrorism in the Middle East. The agreement rewarded the country with billions of dollars for temporarily limiting nuclear activity. Iran’s noncompliance with international inspections has strengthened the case for leaving, but the White House has spent more than a year trying to revive the increasingly irrelevant deal.” (Editorial, “The Iranian Nuclear Deal Dream Never Dies,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/09/2022)


President Biden’s Debacle In Afghanistan Has, As Predicted, Led To Diminished U.S. Intelligence And Counterterror Capabilities While ‘Al-Qaida Has A Haven’ In The Country

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “One year ago …the Biden Administration announced its withdrawal from Afghanistan had reached a halfway point. Analysis after analysis has confirmed what was clear to many of us in real time: The President’s shoddy plans for a reckless pull-out were doomed to disaster from the start. Back in February, an Army investigation found that in the run-up to President Biden’s botched retreat, his senior national security and diplomatic advisers were ‘not seriously planning for an evacuation’ and not paying attention to ‘what was happening on the ground.’ Last month, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction blasted the Administration’s bad judgment before Congress. He explained that removing U.S. military and contractor support to our Afghan partners was, ‘the single most important factor’ in the collapse of Afghanistan’s resistance to the Taliban. It’s not just that this giant policy failure should have been foreseeable to the Biden Administration. It was, in fact, foreseen. Experts spent months warning the President’s policies would create chaos. I spent months saying the same things. Now many of the worst predictions about the aftermath are coming true before our eyes. Our country and our partners are facing needlessly heightened risks from terrorists because of how the Biden Administration botched Afghanistan…. Pentagon leaders have been clear about the dramatic ways the withdrawal has limited our ability to identify, target, and strike terrorists in Afghanistan…. A brand-new report from the Lead Inspector General for our ongoing counterterrorism operations further confirms that the Biden Administration’s mistakes have put us way behind the curve. Without human intelligence or bases in country, the United States is already suffering from less insight into emerging terror threats. Our sources are drying up. Just as predicted. We haven’t conducted a single strike against a terrorist target in Afghanistan since the last U.S. military personnel left Kabul. And that isn’t because there aren’t any terrorists there. As the IG report confirms, it’s because of, ‘logistical challenges and limited intelligence.’ The Taliban-Haqqani government in Kabul is not just a state sponsor of terrorism. It is literally a government made up of terrorists and kidnappers, with deep ties to al Qaeda.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 6/09/2022)

‘The Single Most Important Factor In The [Afghan National Defense And Security Forces’] Collapse In August 2021 Was The U.S. Decision To Withdraw Military Forces And Contractors From Afghanistan’

SPECIAL INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR AFGHANISTAN RECONSTRUCTION: “SIGAR found that the single most important factor in the [Afghan National Defense and Security Forces’] collapse in August 2021 was the U.S. decision to withdraw military forces and contractors from Afghanistan through signing the U.S.-Taliban agreement in February 2020 under the Trump administration, followed by President Biden’s withdrawal announcement in April 2021. … According to retired General David Barno, ‘We built that army to run on contractor support. Without it, it can’t function. Game over…When the contractors pulled out, it was like we pulled all the sticks out of the Jenga pile and expected it to stay up.’” (Collapse of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces: An Assessment of the Factors That Led to Its Demise, SIGAR 22-22-IP Evaluation Report, May 2022)

Since The Withdrawal, The U.S. Military Has Not Conducted A Single Strike Against Terrorists In Afghanistan ‘Due To Logistical Challenges And Limited Intelligence’

LEAD INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT TO THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS: “USCENTCOM reported that, as of the end of the quarter, it had not conducted any airstrikes in Afghanistan since the completion of evacuation efforts on August 29, 2021. In testimony to Congress in February, the incoming Commander of USCENTCOM, then-Lieutenant General Michael Kurilla, said that over-the-horizon counterterrorism was ‘extremely difficult, but not impossible.’ General Kurilla said that the greatest challenge for over-the-horizon counterterrorism operations is that Afghanistan is a landlocked country. Without a presence on the ground, the DoD relies on aviation assets to collect intelligence, surveil terrorist targets, and carry out airstrikes on terrorist targets. The DoD therefore requires overflight agreements with another bordering nation to enter Afghan airspace. Regarding overflight options, General McKenzie said that the DoD remained reliant on Pakistan, and there is currently no other way to get into Afghan airspace. The DoD reported no updates on U.S. Government efforts to secure support from Central Asian states for the OES mission.” (Operation Enduring Sentinel Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Lead Inspector General Report To The United States Congress, January 1, 2022–March 31, 2022)

  • “A second challenge is the flight time required to conduct operations from locations outside of Afghanistan, such as Doha, Qatar. General Kurilla stated that approximately two-thirds of the flying time is spent getting the aircraft there and back, versus time spent over the target. He said that conducting the necessary reconnaissance to establish and locate a potential airstrike target was a resource-intensive effort. As an example, General Kurilla said that the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has a range of up to 30 hours flying time; it can take the aircraft 10 hours to arrive over the target and another 10 hours for the return flight. Therefore, counterterrorism teams would need to dedicate multiple MQ-9 Reapers, taking off at 10-hour intervals, to maintain a single sensor over a suspected terrorist target. General Kurilla contrasted this with the situation when the U.S. military had a presence on the ground in Afghanistan, when he said he would often have 12 sensors monitoring one individual to develop the potential target.” (Operation Enduring Sentinel Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Lead Inspector General Report To The United States Congress, January 1, 2022–March 31, 2022)

The Result: ‘Al-Qaida Has A Haven In Afghanistan Under The Taliban’

“Al-Qaida has a haven in Afghanistan under the Taliban and ‘increased freedom of action’ with the potential of launching new long-distance attacks in coming years, a UN report based on intelligence supplied by member states says. The assessment, by the UN committee charged with enforcing sanctions on the Taliban and others that may threaten the security of Afghanistan, will raise concerns that the country could once again become a base for international terrorist attacks after the withdrawal of US and Nato troops last year. … An undisclosed number of al-Qaida members are reported to be living in Kabul’s former diplomatic quarter, where they may have access to meetings at the foreign affairs ministry, the report’s authors say, although they say this information is not confirmed. The report also says a sudden spate of statements and communications from al-Qaida’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, suggests ‘he may be able to lead more effectively than was possible before the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.’” (“Al-Qaida Enjoying A Haven In Afghanistan Under Taliban, UN Warns,” The Guardian, 6/03/2022)


In The Wake Of The U.S. Retreat From Afghanistan, The Taliban’s Repression Of Women Is Back In Full Force

‘In A Matter Of Months’ The Taliban Have Cracked Down On Women’s Rights In ‘Every Facet Of Public Life’

These are perilous times for Afghan women. The Taliban show no sign of easing a crackdown not only on such basic rights as education and jobs for women, but on every facet of public life, from deportment to travel. The cover-up decree, which also urged women to stay home unless they had a compelling reason to go out, followed a previous rule requiring women who travel more than about 45 miles from their homes to be accompanied by a male relative. In August, the Taliban promised less restrictive policies toward women than during their previous rule in the late 1990s. ‘There will be no violence against women, no prejudice against women,’ the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters. Instead, in a matter of months, the Taliban have imposed onerous decrees that have dragged women from the relative freedoms achieved over the past two decades to a harsh interpretation of Islamic law that smothers women’s rights.” (“The Taliban Pressure Women in Afghanistan to Cover Up,” The New York Times, 5/21/2022)

  • “Muslim women in Afghanistan must cover from head to toe in public, according to a Taliban ruling announced [May 7th], its latest move to constrain the lives of women since taking control of the country last year. ‘This is not a restriction on women but an order of the Quran,’ said Akif Muhajir, a spokesman for the Ministry of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, referring to the Taliban’s strict interpretation of Islamic law. ‘It is the order of Allah and the prophet Muhammad.’ … Women may choose to wear the head-to-toe covering called a burqa, or a cloth veil covering the face paired with a headscarf and long robe called an abaya, Muhajir said. Women who appear in public in violation of the new guidelines on dress will first be issued warnings, the ministry’s announcement stated. Those who continue to disregard the ruling will have their homes identified and their male relatives summoned for punishment that could include prison time, the Taliban said at a news conference Saturday.” (“Taliban Orders Head-To-Toe Coverings For Afghan Women In Public,” The Washington Post, 5/07/2022)
  • “‘At the beginning, we had hope the Taliban would be softer, but now the only safe place for me is my home,’ said Negina Lali, 22, a university student who was recently barred from attending class because she wasn’t dressed entirely in black. Lali has put her colorful scarves away, but even when she follows the Taliban’s new dress code, her parents worry about her going out. ‘My mother remembers the previous Taliban government, so she is very afraid for me. More and more, she tells me stories from that time,’ she said. When the Taliban controlled Afghanistan in the 1990s, the Ministry of Virtue and Vice was one of its most feared institutions. As a young woman, Lali’s mother said, she was beaten in the street by the ministry’s enforcers because she forgot to wear socks. Another time, she was whipped in front of her young children when the scarf covering her head and face was blown off by a gust of wind. ‘All this is to erase women,’ Lali said. ‘They don’t want to see us outside at all. I only expect the situation to get worse.’” (“Taliban Morality Police Tighten Their Grip On Afghan Women”, The New York Times, 5/26/2022)
  • “Days after the ruling requiring women to cover in public, the Ministry of Virtue and Vice issued another edict mandating that women on television also cover their faces. Television news outlets in Kabul protested, but during a meeting shortly after the announcement, a team from the ministry ended the debate before it could begin. ‘The door is closed,’ the team said, according to Khpolwak Sapai, the director of ToloNews, Afghanistan’s largest independent news network, who was at the meeting. Sapai has been in regular contact with the Ministry of Virtue and Vice for months over what he is allowed to broadcast. ‘At the beginning, it was like we were having normal conversations,’ Sapai said, referring to the first time he was called in to discuss a ban on female actors in television dramas. ‘But with each order, they have become more and more strict. We used to see a path forward, but after this last decision, I can’t imagine it anymore.’” (“Taliban Morality Police Tighten Their Grip On Afghan Women”, The New York Times, 5/26/2022)

‘The [Taliban] Ministry Of Virtue And Vice Is Expanding Its Reach Into All Aspects Of Afghan Society’

“More than nine months into Taliban rule, the Ministry of Virtue and Vice is expanding its reach into all aspects of Afghan society. Women have been the targets of the ministry’s new laws, but on patrol, its employees enforce gender segregation, address allegations of bribery and demand that men pray regularly.” (“Taliban Morality Police Tighten Their Grip On Afghan Women”, The New York Times, 5/26/2022)

  • “During another vice and virtue patrol, a team stopped at a bazaar. They moved from store to store and asked shopkeepers whether they break to pray and if they have witnessed corruption, and they warned them against serving women who are not fully covered…. An owner of an amusement park in Kabul made a similar observation about the widening reach of the vice and virtue teams. ‘They are everywhere. In every part of our lives and every part of the country,’ he said, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. Teams visit his park regularly, and he blames them for plummeting attendance, saying gender segregation makes it almost impossible for a family to visit together. ‘Just watching the news, we hear more about the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice than any other ministry. It seems they are responsible for everything important,’ he said.” (“Taliban Morality Police Tighten Their Grip On Afghan Women”, The New York Times, 5/26/2022)



Related Issues: War on Terror, Iran Nuclear Deal, Al Qaeda, Afghanistan, Iran