Retired Indian diplomat M K Bhadrakumar makes an important point in the midst of the idiotic blather over this tragedy:
Following the Friday Prayer, a crowd that was leaving the famous Blue Mosque found another set of religious leaders in a Toyota Corolla fitted out with loudspeakers urging people to join them at the burning of the effigy of a militant fundamentalist Christian pastor in the US by name of Terry Jones who oversaw the burning of a copy of the Koran at his church in Gainesville, Florida, on March 20.
The crowd then turned and started walking the one-kilometre journey toward the UN compound. The Gurkhas who provided security for the UN were somehow overwhelmed and killed while a larger group apparently broke into the compound. In the violence that followed, all Afghan national staff and the Russian head of the UN office were spared, while the crowd went for Westerners, namely, three workers from Norway, Romania and Sweden.
What stands out is that the victims were deliberately murdered rather than killed by an out-of-control mob. Meanwhile, agitation against Jones has spread to Kandahar and the violence in Mazar-i-Sharif and Kandahar has somehow become coalesced, as if originating from one vast reservoir.
Afghan authorities and De Mistura have instinctively blamed the Taliban for the violence in Mazar-i-Sharif. The Taliban flatly rejected the imputation. Indeed, there are intriguing questions as to what really happened.
You know when the Gurkhas can’t handle the situation you have a serious problem, and Bhadrakumar goes on to pinpoint that problem.
Americans easily forget that the Taliban is as much an ethnic Pashtun phenomenon as an Islamic religious one. Americans have also forgotten that one reason why the U.S. won such an early victory in Afghanistan in 2001 is because of the non-Pashtun groups’ (remember the “Northern Alliance?”) early support for the U.S. invasion. The Taliban’s policy towards non-Pashtun minorities in Afghanistan had been, in a word, genocidal up to that time.
Now the Obama Administration is mulling over releasing some of the Taliban’s leadership from Club Gitmo as part of a peace deal with the Taliban. Needless to say, the ethnic minorities are unenthusiastic about their former Pashtun masters reasserting control over the country. Jones’ pyrotechnics were a convenient excuse to whip up an attack against the international presence there, which many of the locals (justifiably) believe will facilitate the Taliban’s return to power.
Before we go off on another politically correct tangent and start to pitch our First Amendment rights in the name of “tolerance,” we need to step back and look at what’s really going on rather than another knee-jerk, politically correct reaction.