US troops arrived in Afghanistan to help evacuate thousands of people, including embassy staff, and Afghans and their families who worked for them as the Islamist outfit Taliban finally reached the gates of Kabul on Sunday (August 15). In such a situation, when the Taliban offensive is resulting in a massive humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan, the ‘human rights’ minister of Pakistan tweeted an image which appeared to mock the situation unfolding in Afghanistan.
Shireen Mazari, the Minister for Human Rights in the federal government in Pakistan posted a tweet which juxtaposed the image of US withdrawal and evacuation exercise from Saigon in 1975 after Vietnam War with that of similar image from Kabul earlier today.
Saigon, Vietnam and Kabul, Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/gIfqDSL1ve— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) August 15, 2021
In her Tweet, she posted two pictures side by side. On the left, she posted the most iconic photograph of the Vietnam war, clicked by Dutch photojournalist Hugh Van Es, showing American diplomatic staff and Vietnamese evacuees boarding a helicopter on the roof of the US embassy in Saigon on 29 April 1975.
On the right-hand side, the Pakistan minister posted the picture of a US helicopter carrying out sorties between Kabul airport and the American Embassy, evacuating American diplomatic staff and thousands of civilians, both American and non-American. She captioned her post: “Saigon, Vietnam and Kabul, Afghanistan”.
By sharing the two pictures, Shireen Mazari attempted to poke fun at America, insinuating that for the US, the scramble to evacuate the Kabul assembly is a deja vu moment; a reminiscence of the humiliation it faced when it had to retreat from Saigon after the Vietnam war in 1975.
Between 29 and 30 April 1975, America had launched Operation Frequent Wind in which, 7,000 people were evacuated, including 5,500 Vietnamese, in less than 24 hours, when South Vietnam, backed by the US had surrendered, ending the decades-long war and signalling the reunification of North and South Vietnam.
Netizens, however, were not amused by the flippancy shown by Pakistan’s ‘human rights’ minister at a time as sensitive as this.
“Mame is this our state policy or you teasing US government in personal capacity? How would you respond if a US secretary of states tweets a picture of our troops signing a surrender deal in Dhaka?”, tweeted a social media user, offended by Shireen Mazari for making light of the serious situation in Afghanistan.
Mame is this our state policy or you teasing US government in personal capacity? How would you respond if a US secretary of states tweets a picture of our troops signing a surrender deal in Dhaka?— jamshaid hassan (@hasanjamshad) August 15, 2021
Another too castigated Pakistan ‘human rights’ minister for “openly celebrating the Taliban’s victory and teasing Americans”.
Pakistan’s Human rights minister Shireen Mazari is openly celebrating the Taliban’s victory & teasing Americans.— Jaffar Khan kakar (@jaffar_bazai) August 15, 2021
Can you please live with your current hairstyle under the Taliban’s rule?#AfghanistanBurning https://t.co/XXGGKBOciC
Some others schooled the Pakistan minister asking her to behave in accordance with her stature and repute.
Being a part of Govt. you should not tweet like this. What message you are giving to World that Govt. of Pakistan is celebrating US defeat???— فارغ Flight ✈️ (@s_w_a_z110) August 15, 2021
Hello Mrs Mizari Please Delete this shit.— Inam Ur Rehman (@Adv_Inaam) August 15, 2021
Don’t act nasty and be in your ministial limits. Your tweet can hurt our state policy. https://t.co/v8Mbpkfuv8
Many denounced Shireen Mazari for celebrating the gross human rights violation against the innocent civilians of Afghanistan by the Talibanis, despite being a ‘human rights’ minister.
Petty pakistani minds happy with petty pakistani thinking. You are a woman, before celebrating this did you think of hundreds of women at risk of violence and already facing violence in Afghanistan? No wonder you people are a failed state.— Wanderer (@w_a_n_d_e_rer) August 15, 2021
While celebrating American defeat have you thought about women in Afghanistan? Taliban stopped girls from going to college in Mazar-e-Sharif. Taliban have entered Kabul but no one is celebrating except you. Haven’t you educated your daughter or would you like to move to Kabul?— Ayesha Siddiqa (@iamthedrifter) August 15, 2021
Ex-NDTV journalist Vikram Chandra opined that the Pakistani minister is “rubbing salt in American wounds”.
Ministers in the Pakistani government rubbing salt in American wounds. https://t.co/u9N9IbVOAG— Vikram Chandra (@vikramchandra) August 15, 2021
This is, however, not the first time the Pakistani federal minister was seen cheering the victories of the Talibani. Only two days back Shireen Mazari was seen celebrating over the fake news that the vice president of Afghanistan fled Kabul. She had posted a tweet on August 13, calling Amrullah Saleh, the vice president of Afghanistan, a coward, after media reports that he has fled from Kabul and gone to Tajikistan.
Amrullah Saleh has been highly critical of Pakistan for its support to the Taliban, and therefore the Pakistani leaders don’t leave any opportunity to criticise him. Last month, the vice president had warned that Pakistan will pay a heavy price for openly supporting the Taliban.
Therefore, when some reports said that Saleh had fled to Tajkiskistan, the Pakistani minister Shireen Mazari thought it was a perfect opportunity to mock him.