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Why the Taliban WON

Posted by Steve Turley ● Aug 23, 2021 4:10:20 PM

On August 15th, 2021, the world changed.

As American troops withdrew from Afghanistan, the Taliban stunned the world by seizing the capital city of Kabul in mere days.

Scenes of tens of thousands of Afghans flooding the Kabul airport desperate to flee their country shocked viewers around the globe

The hope of a pro-Western Afghan democratic republic crumbled in the blink of an eye.

How did the Taliban do this? After 20 years of American occupation and over 2 trillion dollars spent, how did Afghanistan fall quickly? The answer will surprise you, for it goes far beyond successful Taliban tactics or embarrassing Biden blunders; something far deeper is at work here, and the world will never be the same.


The Taliban originated as a social force in 1994 through the influence of young Afghan Islamic students in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar. Their very name, ‘Talib,’ means ‘student’ or ‘seeker.’ These young Afghan students studied in Sunni Islamic schools in Pakistan, having fled Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion and occupation beginning in December of 1979. After the Soviets withdrew in 1989, Afghanistan descended into the chaos of tribal civil war, which gave the Taliban the opportunity to bring stability to the war-torn region. Under the leadership of the one-eyed warrior-cleric Mullah Omar, the Taliban became hugely popular among Afghanistan’s southern Pashtun ethnic group. With the support of conservative Islamic forces in Pakistan, they seized the city of Kandahar with virtually no resistance. By September of 1996, the Taliban conquered the capital city of Kabul and effectively gained control of the entire country, officially establishing the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

Their six-year rule represented the most intense and strict interpretation of sharia law. There was limited technology - No movie theaters, music, or television. Women and girls were banned from all education and required to cover their bodies entirely while in public. Thieves were punished in a traditional hand amputation ceremony, and countless national monuments were destroyed – including the historic Buddha statues in Bamiyan province, an act that drew global condemnation.

And then ….9/11.

When the Taliban harbored Osama Bin Ladin and Al Qaeda inside Afghanistan, the United States military invaded and quickly overturned the armies of the Taliban, forming a new interim government headed by Hamid Karzai.

But over the years, the Taliban began to regroup and grow, carrying out numerous attacks on foreign and Afghan forces; the Taliban even established a formal political office in Doha, the capital city of Qatar. From this political office, both the Obama and Trump administrations negotiated with Taliban leaders, eventually signing an agreement in February of 2020 that paved the way for the withdrawal of US and NATO forces. Despite the agreement, the Taliban continued their military offensives, and in an astonishing seven-day blitzkrieg, they entered the presidential palace and effectively retook Afghanistan after 20 years in exile.

Which raises the question: how and why did the Taliban win and win so easily?

[1]Tactically, the Biden administration has received international condemnation for what many consider an inexcusably hasty troop withdrawal, [2]which included the July evacuation of Bagram airbase, an evacuation that the Afghan commanding officer found out about only after the troops were gone. The lack of airpower left Afghan forces largely defenseless against Taliban offenses. The sense of American betrayal only served to drain what remained of military morale among the Afghan troops.

[3]However, the Taliban didn’t simply have a tactical advantage due to Biden’s blunders. Another major reason for the Taliban’s victory, often overlooked by analysts, is that the Afghan population is significantly younger than the American and Western populations. The median age among Afghans is 18, in stark contrast to the United States, 38, or Britain, 40. There are two significant factors entailed in this age difference. First, given that the Taliban were deposed 20 years ago, at least half of Afghan men and women weren’t even alive when the Taliban last ruled, which partly explains their current popularity. Secondly, nations made up of 18-year-old men are far more prone to fight than nations comprised of 40-year-olds. The relative youthfulness of the Taliban membership meant that they were able to effectively wait out the American and NATO occupation, all the while the relatively older American population grew increasingly tired and impatient with prolonged military campaigns overseas.

But what accounts for Afghans being so young? The relative youthfulness of Afghans is reflective of the significantly higher fertility rates in Afghanistan than in the West, which had already greatly benefited the Afghan mujahadeen in their fight against the Soviets. [4]In his landmark 2013 study, Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth? University of London scholar Eric Kaufmann noted that relatively low fertility rates among Soviet women might indeed have led to their eventual defeat in Afghanistan. Russian mothers, unwilling to sacrifice their only son, became vocal opponents against the Afghan campaign. Afghan fighters came from families with an average of seven or eight children. Families with one child are far more hesitant to fight than families with several children.

But as Kaufmann went on to observe, this fertility advantage among Afghans is precisely why the secular liberal project that our globalist elites tried to establish in Afghanistan has so readily collapsed. While birthrates have plummeted in secular progressive populations, high fertility rates among conservative religionists are awakening a religious renewal across the globe, the likes of which the world has never seen, a resurgence that is now effectively pushing back against the secular society of liberal globalism.

Within hours of the fall of Kabul, the American state department together with the UN demanded that the Taliban adhere to progressive international norms. But it was apparent to all the world, the Taliban hardly treated such demands seriously, responding instead by mocking and ridiculing our secular elite.

As it turns out, over the past 20 years, our Washington elite were not so interested in establishing a democratic society in Afghanistan as they were in creating a highly liberal society, replete with feminist and LGBT influence. The New York Times recently published a piece celebrating the flying of the rainbow flag in Kabul by American troops, which they saw as an important step towards establishing liberal progressive influence in Afghanistan.

But as the Taliban’s recent surge in popularity suggests, such aspirations were nothing more than leftwing wishful thinking projected on a highly conservative and religious population, one that has grown only more so in the years since the Taliban’s first rule.

And Afghanistan is hardly alone. In contrast to the tone-deaf demands of our Western political elite, scholars are increasingly seeing our world as one that is becoming more religious, not less; more traditionalist, and less progressive. All throughout the world, higher fertility rates among conservative religionists are contributing to the ascent of a new political order, a post-secular order that is rapidly replacing the secular order that dominated the last several decades.  

The reestablishment of yet another Islamic theocracy has only served to underscore just how in retreat the secular liberal globalist project really is.

As it turns out, the fall of Kabul represents nothing less than the fall of the globalist political order. A theocratic Iran, along with a renewed Orthodox Russia, an increasingly fundamentalist Pakistan, a Hindu nationalist India, and a China that is going through its own Confucian revival, are now more emboldened than ever to remake the global political order in their more traditionalist image.

Already the progressive agenda of our permanent political class has largely lost its leadership position on the international stage, all as the once unassailable notion of the unstoppable advance of globalist liberal values has shattered.

To the shock of our Western political elites, the Taliban are standing in leadership once again, and in their shadow, a new conservative religious world is rising.

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