It hasn't taken long for the Taliban to show who it really is - or who it's always been - after prior initial declarations of a new "moderate" and "reformed" Islamist group (mostly emanating from Western pundits) following its August complete takeover of Afghanistan amid the US troop withdrawal. Late last month it declared it would begin "cutting off hands" again as well as the public hanging of bodies for executed criminals.
But the latest move is being seen as a huge provocation aimed at the now departed American and NATO soldiers who spent two decades warring against the Islamist insurgency. This week the Taliban's acting Interior Minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani - who it should be noted is still an FBI 'most wanted' terrorist with a $10 million bounty on his head - praised past Afghan suicide bombers who attacked US and Afghan national troops as "heroes of the homeland".
#Afghan #Taliban Interior Minister And FBI Most Wanted Terrorist Sirajuddin Haqqani Honors Families Of Suicide Bombers, Calling Them 'Heroes Of Islam' And Praising 'Jihad & Sacrifices Of Mujahideen & Martyrs' – Audio of report here https://t.co/7gk7VP6acQ #MEMRI pic.twitter.com/MIf74Xt115— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) October 20, 2021
Haqqani held a ceremony inside a Kabul hotel auditorium for relatives of suicide bombers who had conducted attacks when the Americans were present on Afghan soil. He honored the family members with 10,000 afghanis (the local currency) each, or the equivalent of $112, and further promised them land.
The Associated Press detailed the Monday night event as follows:
Addressing the gathering Monday evening, Haqqani praised the sacrifices of "martyrs and fedayeen," referring to fighters killed in suicide attacks, Khosty tweeted. Haqqani called them “heroes of Islam and the country,” according to the spokesman. At the end of the meeting, he distributed 10,000 afghanis ($112) per family and promised each a plot of land.
Over the course of the war there were 2,401 US military personnel killed in Afghanistan, with over 20,000 wounded. Many of these casualties were due to Taliban suicide tactics, which became difficult to defend against, as well as roadside bombs (IEDs).
A Taliban spokesman later explained the event further as follows: "[Haqqani] told everyone about the memories of the martyred and their piety & deeds. He called them heroes of the believing nation." Haqqani himself was cited at the ceremony as saying, "Now you and I must refrain from betraying the aspirations of our martyrs."
The Taliban crime syndicate & its leader Siraj Haqqani honored the suicide bombers who caused the death of 1000s of civilians in the past 20 years in Afg.What other proof is needed that the Taliban is a terrorist group incapable of forming a govt that can represent the ppl of Afg pic.twitter.com/VwTVOMaoyh— Ali Maisam Nazary (@alinazary) October 19, 2021
This comes as the Taliban is trying to continue to attract international diplomatic recognition and the lifting of sanctions. Last month it began urging the Biden administration to unfreeze billions of dollars in assets, something now looking increasingly unlikely.
While not yet providing political recognition, the US has in recent weeks said it will send humanitarian aid "for the Afghan people" - but which will necessarily flow under Taliban oversight.