Israel Shamir

The Fighting Optimist

The Sheer Joy of Afghanistan

My congratulations, friends and readers! The Taliban’s victory is our victory, yours and mine. We, non-Muslim and non-Pashtun folk, in the US and Europe, may rejoice, for in Afghanistan, virile (not “toxic”) masculinity defeated gender-diversity, believers defeated those weak of faith, the morals of our fathers overcome the morals of our sons. This is the sheer joy of the Afghan victory; this victory of bearded men with arms over a gender-diversified butch-run hosts and their feminist NGOs is our victory, too. Do not be ashamed of being a manly man; stand tall! It is a breath of fresh air, this manly victory in the far-away mountains trod by Alexander the Great’s phalanxes; and it is much nicer to write about than usual stuff, especially after this time of being drip-fed by hypochondriac news of another elder succumbing to the dreadful virus, of green passports, of medical advice on how to live longer, of atoning for the misdeeds of our forefathers, of being of the wrong race and how to avoid microaggressions lest somebody will feel hurt. If we, men, would like to hurt somebody, we won’t stop at a joke, we’ll reach for an RPG.

The RPG rocket launcher, of the kind preferred by the Talibs, really hurts. It is not an imaginary feeling of discomfort, but a real hole in the armour. Or a torn-off head. There is nothing micro in its delivery. You do not need a mask on the battlefield for the mask won’t stop the launched rocket. You won’t worry about the virus when you encounter real bullets. On the battlefield, the problem of gender-neutral toilets does not arise. Twitter can’t ban a machinegun, but a machinegun can banish Twitter and the whole Twitter gang. The Taliban defeated Wokery; they aren’t afraid of being politically incorrect as we are. The Taliban aren’t afraid to worship God and to call upon Him, as we are. They aren’t afraid to stand for family values – they don’t even understand how it could be different.

The Taliban is a harbinger of real muscular democracy and freedom from Bill Gates, Greta Thunberg, Anthony Fauci, Nancy Pelosi who all enslave us. They wouldn’t submit to this bunch; they would mete out revolutionary justice to those who want to deprive us of heating, who would blot out the Sun and suffocate us with their masks. A Trumper watches with envy as these rebels actually take the president palace instead of being accused of doing it on January 6.

These armed peasants reminded us that we still can change the world. It is not necessary to submit. All the rules of the game could be re-written; the whole game could be dumped. Normalcy, a traditional norm can be regained.

And it is a win-win thing: I, for one, do not think that America was defeated or that President Biden made a mistake. Far from it. Ending the occupation of a foreign land is a noble act. It was a real victory for Biden, victory over the Deep State, victory over Jewish Lobby. If it would be up to the Lobby, to the NY Times, to the CIA, the US would never ever leave Afghanistan. Read Bret Stephens in the New York Times (here is un-paywalled text), this is the authentic voice of the Lobby. Stephens, a Neocon and a son of Jewish parents (despite the assumed gentile last name), had been the editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post at the time of the Intifada and glorified the horrors of Israeli occupation. Stephens bewails the US “defeat” and claims the US should have stayed in Afghanistan forever. His best argument runs as follows: “But didn’t we have to leave Afghanistan sometime? So goes a counterargument. Yes, though we’ve been in Korea for 71 years, at far higher cost, and the world is better off for it.” Silly man! The world would be better without US troops in Korea; North and South would unite, and money spent there could pay for Americans’ education and health.

The Neocons, the masters of the Deep State, would never allow Trump to leave Afghanistan, as they derailed his meek attempts to leave Syria. Now Trump can criticize Biden for the Kabul airport ugly scenes, but to tell you truth, there is no nice way to leave, neither an occupied country, nor a woman you lived with for twenty years. If you decide to leave, be prepared for a lot of ugly nastiness. Withdrawal from Vietnam was also ugly, but it was a right decision then, and it is a right decision now.

Consider Auschwitz, definitely a harsh place. When the Germans had to leave, hundreds of Jews followed them westward (Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust writer, was among them). They were afraid of the Red Army coming to liberate them and preferred the Germans they knew. That’s why I am not amazed a lot of Afghans want to follow the US troops elsewhere: they are afraid of their liberators.

Things could be tough for all-too-eager supporters of the occupying regime. When the Nazis left France, many collaborators went to jail, some were lynched by the French patriots. But it does not mean it would be better to keep France occupied.

Biden was right to order the US to leave Afghanistan. He demonstrated much stamina in going against pleadings of his army, his intelligence services and the whole of the Deep State. I must admit that I have today much more respect for President Biden than I had before the withdrawal. I respect him even more for his excellent response to the British poodle. British statesmen complained about Biden’s decision to withdraw “after so much blood was shed there”. The UK could stay there in Afghanistan if they liked, Biden replied. They had this option, to stay. Just without American support. The US does not want to be the world’s policeman anymore.

Incidentally, the UK was the only NATO member that had the appetite for staying there, Johnson admitted. The opposition Labour party’s new boss Keir Starmer (who came to his position after Corbyn was hounded away by the smear of antisemitism) was as strongly against Biden as Johnson was. Well, Brits like wars. They pushed the unwilling US into WWI and WWII, and recently they tried to get some action at the sea of Crimea. It is good that Biden is not an easy guy to play; not as easy as Wilson and Roosevelt were.

Now there is a fighting chance that Biden will command and take the US troops from Iraq and Syria; and with some luck, from other countries, from Korea and the Philippines, or even from Germany and the UK. It would be very good for the American people; and perhaps we shall yet see Boris Johnson climbing on the roof of the Grosvenor Square building of the US Embassy in London to take the last helicopter flight out to an American aircraft carrier before the Brits put him up against the wall.


This is not to diminish the victory of Taliban. They achieved an unbelievable feat: in the course of a few days, they finished off the Twenty Year War. Yes, it’s good news: the long Afghan War is officially over and done with. It began in 2001 with the US invasion; it was over last Sunday, August 15, when the US protégé, the former President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, departed for the UAE with his four carloads of cash.

The Angel of History abided by the triple unity rules of classic drama: unity of action, unity of place and unity of time. In one day, power passed into the hands of the rebels – in Kandahar, and in Mazar-i-Sharif, and, finally, in Kabul. The apocalyptic expectations of the upcoming “battle for Kabul” didn’t materialise – the new government entered the presidential palace practically without a shot fired.

The most remarkable snapshot of this historic turn came on Monday. These weren’t fighters with bazookas or mujahedeen in the palace. These were Kabul girls going to school in the morning. In white kerchiefs, with backpacks, they, as usual, went to school.

Two days later, there was an even more remarkable video of a few female activists taking to the street to demonstrate with placards in front of the presidential palace. This is probably the clearest proof of their belief that they will not be interfered with. And indeed nobody bothered these ladies despite the plain silliness of their slogans in the midst of the momentous upheaval.

The topic of female discrimination in Afghanistan was inflated by feminists on the service of the US State Department, when it was necessary to justify the aggression and seizure of this independent country. It is unlikely that the status of a woman in Afghanistan differed greatly from that of a woman in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia – but nobody is in a hurry to land troops there. The alleged mistreatment of women and gays is often used by British and American hawks to justify “humanitarian interventions” and should be taken with a grain of salt. And the invasive Western LGBT discourse does not seem normal – not only for Afghans. Men love women, don’t believe lying butches, sister!

Sex ethics could be weird, in Afghanistan as well as in England. The Talibs ask ladies to cover their hair, just like Orthodox Jews and to behave modestly. The West hatched the absurdity of mutually non-consensual sex; 28 per cent of young women come to believe that winking ‘usually or always’ constitutes sexual harassment (read about it here); it beats Taliban anytime. Some of Taliban’s ideas are indeed odd; but not as odd as the scourging of Prince Andrew on a word of an aged trollop in the UK/US.

Life in Afghanistan will still improve for women and men, and it will be better than under the puppet regime, Afghans hope. It is Take Two for the Taliban, and both times they came to power practically without encountering resistance, a clear sign of popular support.

The Taliban came into being in early 1990s, after the pro-Soviet government of Najibullah (many Afghans now say that he was the best ruler of the country in the 20th century) had been overthrown by the CIA-sponsored mujahedeen. At the time, lawlessness reigned in the country. Each warlord considered himself a king. Against this background, the Taliban emerged as a grassroots movement for honesty, law and order, against the lawlessness of the warlords. They managed to win in 1996, without bloodshed, triumphantly entering Kabul. They stopped drug production and trade and practically eliminated the scourge. This was their undoing. The CIA wouldn’t allow meddling with drug supplies, for they wanted to keep the Americans in a narcotic-induced dream.

Afghanistan was placed under creeping sanctions; the poor country was even more impoverished; the northern tribes rebelled, and then the American invasion overthrew the Taliban so it would return to power 20 years later. During this time, Afghanistan has changed; Kabul has grown to become a city with four million inhabitants. But there still was no order; warlords and large drug producers still ruled freely, robbing villagers at will.

The original support base of the Taliban were the village Pashtuns, who generally wanted very little from the state: they wanted order, functioning customary law, or Islamic law, no interference with their private lives, and preferably no taxation at all. (Here is an excellent background piece by Anatol Lieven) Now as the big cities come under Taliban rule, they will have to show more flexibility. In cities with a population of over one million, customary law does not always work. But the Taliban also learned a lot. It is hoped that they will be able to find a compromise between the village and the city, bearing in mind the fact that the weapons are in the hands of the villagers.

This confrontation of city and village reminds us of Mao’s revolution and of the Khmer Rouge takeover in Cambodia. But the world is different today. The Western way of life is hardly attractive now; the progress entered an impasse of gender madness, corona lockdowns, critical race theory and digital totalitarianism. Even the great crime of Taliban pre-2001, the destruction of ancient monuments, has been repeated by the US and British progressives from Atlanta to London. Perhaps the Afghans will be able to figure out how to proceed. Every nation is a great architect of its future. And over the past 200 years of constant incursions, Afghans have had little chance of figuring out what they really need.

An important new factor is a powerful China, which needs Afghan transit. The British and Americans did not need to transit through Afghanistan; they dominate the sea. But in the old days, before the European arrival, caravan routes went through Afghanistan. Maybe traffic flows will start again, Iran’s oil will flow to China, trade with the north through former Soviet Central Asia will resume, and a corridor to India will be open. Russian geological prospecting has discovered huge reserves of rare earth elements in the mountains of Afghanistan, and their development could re-link Russia and China with Afghanistan.


In Kabul, the people awaited the Taliban entry with great trepidation. However, the Taliban didn’t interfere with the evacuation; when President Biden asked for their permission, they immediately gave the go-ahead. But in general, there was no need to rush the planes.

The Russian Foreign Ministry announced they reached an agreement with the Taliban that Russian civilian airlines will fly out everybody who has a place to go to. Alas, there is no place on earth that would like to accept so many Afghan refugees. People should stay home and make peace with their countrymen; if they have committed crimes, they should pay for these crimes. However, the Taliban issued a general amnesty, and hopefully they will stick to this humane and merciful course.

In Kabul itself, as in other cities, the first days of the new government passed calmly. The Taliban replaced soldiers at their embassy posts and promised that not a single hair would fall from the heads of diplomats. At the Russian embassy, ​​diplomats said that it is even safer now than it was under the old regime.

The Taliban statements are also reassuring. They promised that there would be no revenge. Women can continue working without having to dress in a strict traditional style. Indeed, in the first few days of the new Afghanistan, these promises were kept.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov believes that we need to wait and see how things will develop in Afghanistan, although his first impressions are favourable: “We are observing positive processes on the streets of Kabul, where the situation is quite calm and the Taliban are effectively enforcing law and order.” The Russian ambassador to the UN also expressed cautious optimism at the Security Council meeting. “You shouldn’t give in to panic. It is important that we managed to avoid mass bloodshed among the civilian population, ” he said. The Russian president’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Kabulov, also assessed the turn of events positively. “The Taliban have long seemed to me much more reliable than the puppet Kabul government,” he said.

The Taliban’s first steps in law making were encouraging, too. The Taliban have banned blood feuds, the long-standing scourge of Afghanistan. They say they will be guided by Sharia law – which may seem like a nightmare to our secular readers, but this is a much more merciful alternative to the Pashtunwali tribal law. Pashtunwali approves of blood feuds; according to Sharia, it is prohibited. Referring to Sharia law, the Taliban banned the distribution and use of drugs, which was the main occupation of Afghans under American occupation. They also banned the local custom of bacha bazi, the homosexual exploitation of boys. They banned witchcraft and interest-bearing loans, and even cancelled all debts, something we all can learn from. Let’s see what of this will be implemented and what will remain an empty promise.

A real and present danger would be any attempt of the Western forces to come back and meddle in Afghanistan. There are many warmongers; guys like John Bolton always want more war. Ahmad Massoud, a son of the Northern warlord has already asked for arms to keep fighting the Taliban. He had met with BHL (Bernard-Henri Lévy), the French-Jewish master of discourse who always comes before the storm.

That’s why President Putin, at his press-conference after meeting with Frau Merkel said, “It’s not in our interests right now to talk about US failure. We are interested in the situation in the country being stable.” Vladimir Putin has demanded that countries not interfere in Afghanistan after the liberation of Kabul, saying the West “must stop the irresponsible policy of imposing foreign values from abroad”. And that is probably a very good point.

Israel Shamir can be reached at

This article was first published at The Unz Review.

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