After retaking control of Afghanistan, Taliban militants are following in the footsteps of every tyrannical despot in history by seizing private firearms.
The Taliban quickly took control of the country’s provinces following the hasty withdraw of U.S. Armed Forces. American citizens who had been working in the country have been struggling to reach the only remaining airport in Kabul, the country’s capital city. There have been numerous reports of civilians being abused, threatened, or even beaten by Taliban personnel. The Biden Administration is currently facing harsh criticism by international allies and local lawmakers alike over the debacle.
For the rest of us, we get to watch the onset of tyranny in real time. As we’ve seen in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Communist China, and numerous other examples, one of the first things the Taliban did after assuming control is disarming the populace. As the National Rifle Association points out, Afghans had become used to owning guns for personal safety during the 20-year war they had been living through. Now, Taliban militants are making the same arguments for gun control that Democrats make in America.
“We understand people kept weapons for personal safety. They can now feel safe. We are not here to harm innocent civilians,” a Taliban official told Reuters.
Of course, this statement falls apart when you see just how subjective the Taliban’s definition of the word “innocent civilian” is. Within days of the Islamic radical group taking control of Afghanistan, there have been numerous reports of severe punishment for Afghans who fail to follow the group’s strict religious edicts. In the past, this has included stoning, dismemberment, and beheading.
In short, legal life in Afghanistan has been reset to the 8th century. And with civilians being forced to surrender their weapons under penalty of death, there seems to be little hope for that to change any time soon.
Many Americans have long advocated for the end of U.S. occupation in Afghanistan, and there’s a lot of arguments for that position. America’s longest war didn’t appear to have clear objectives after Al-Qaeda had been routed. The military operation quickly turned political when nation building became the order of the day. However, war hawks and peace doves seem to agree on one thing: the way the war abruptly ended — with the dislocation of American citizens and the disarming of innocents — was completely despicable.
It’s forgivable to call this a multi-president failure. The mission in Afghanistan changed so many times that it’s hard to keep count. But as we’re seeing the brutal crackdown of the most basic civil liberties — including the right to preserve one’s own life — President Joe Biden owns all of this.