The New York Times, an American daily newspaper based out of New York City, recently published an article hailing the Taliban, the terror group that toppled the US-backed Ashraf Ghani government in Afghanistan on August 15, and made a spectacle out of the USA’s humiliating loss in the 20-year-war.
In an article published on September 7, 2021, after the Taliban formed an interim government in Afghanistan, the New York Times referred to the members of the new government, almost all of whom are global wanted terrorists, as ‘stalwarts’.
The title of the article read: “Taliban Appoint Stalwarts to Top Government Posts”. Here’s the snapshot of the article published by the New York Times.
The American media organisation, long known for pandering to the leftist ideology, understated the Taliban as a “movement” and not a terror outfit against whom their own country was engaged in a 20-year war.
The article also sought to legitimise the interim government formed by the Taliban after months of a military offensive that catapulted it to regain control over the country it lost in 2001 after the United States-led waged a war on terror. It said the new government empowered many of the “stalwarts” of the “movement” from their regime in the 1990s.
Although the article, in its body, mentions that several members of the Talibani government are designated as terrorists by the United States and United Nations, it does not take away the fact that the American news daily appeared to grant legitimacy to the Taliban government in Afghanistan.
Taliban announces 33-member all-male cabinet of the Afghan government; several of them among UN-designated list of terrorists
The Taliban had yesterday announced a 33-member cabinet of the Afghan government, headed by Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund, who was named as the prime minister. Hassan is a radical Islamist who was in a leadership position in the terror group’s council in recent years and who also served as the deputy prime minister of the first Taliban government. Hassan is also on the blacklist of the United Nations for participating in terrorist activities.
Perhaps, the most eyebrow-raising appointment made by the Taliban was that of Sirajuddin Haqqani, the new acting interior minister, who heads the terror group known as Haqqani Network and is on the FBI’s most-wanted list. The terror group is said to have close ties with the Taliban, which the appointment of Haqqani had confirmed. They have been behind some of the deadliest attacks in the country’s two-decade-long war – including a truck bomb explosion in Kabul in 2017 that killed more than 150 people.
Unlike the wider Taliban, the Haqqani network has been designated a foreign terrorist organisation by the US. It also maintains close ties to al-Qaeda.
As per the FBI website, “Sirajuddin Haqqani is wanted for questioning in connection with the January 2008 attack on a hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed six people, including an American citizen. He is believed to have coordinated and participated in cross-border attacks against the United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan. Haqqani also allegedly was involved in the planning of the assassination attempt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2008.”
Besides, the Taliban cabinet also includes four members who were held at the Guantanamo Bay, the American detainment camp, for 13 years before being exchanged in 2014 for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier kidnapped by the Taliban.
Past incidents when western media outlets had whitewashed Islamic terrorism
However, such storied history of terrorism did not stop the New York Times from glorifying the Taliban. It is also worth noting that this is not the first time that the media organisation has acted as an apologia for Islamic terrorism. For a long time, the New York Times has published reports and opinion columns that sought to water down the atrocities committed by terrorists in the name of Islam.
In one of the worst cases of Islamic terrorism denial, the News York Times blamed aeroplanes for the 9/11 terror attacks in an article. On the occasion of the 18th anniversary of the terror attacks on the United States, i.e on 11 September 2019, published an article titled “Remembering Those Lost 18 Years Ago on 9/11”. In the second paragraph, the article said, “Eighteen years have passed since aeroplanes took aim at the World Trade Center and brought them down.” In fact, the words ‘terrorism’ or ‘terrorist’ were not even mentioned in the article, except for in the subheading, before the article was updated following outrage on social media.
Then in 2020, the New York Times, hallowed in the leftist circles as the holy grail of journalism, provided its platform to the terror outfit Taliban itself, allowing it to whitewash its crimes and provide an intellectual argument justifying its propensity for brutal savagery. The article was published in the wake of an agreement deal signed between the United States and the Taliban in February 2020. The author of the article was none other than Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is listed among the most-wanted terrorists by the FBI.
In the opinion editorial, Haqqani proceeded to whitewash the crimes of his brethren and said laughable things such as “I am convinced that the killing and the maiming must stop.” The terrorist also said, “Our negotiation team, led by my colleagues Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Sher Mohammed Abas Stanekzai, has worked tirelessly for the past 18 months with the American negotiators to make an agreement possible.”
While the reputation of the New York Times is nosediving at a breakneck speed because of its proclivity to humanise Islamic terrorism and justify its cruel practices, it is not the only western media outlet that is involved in providing an intellectual cover-up to the terrorists. Another prominent publication, the Washington Post, also has a history of downplaying Islamic terrorism and glorifying the terrorists.
In October 2019, after reports of the head of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi being killed by the NATO forces started surfacing online, the Washington Post published an article declaring the slain terrorist as an ‘austere religious scholar’, suggesting that his austerity was the real issue here. As expected, the headline caused a huge uproar on social media, following which Washington Post changed its headline.
The above-mentioned instances reveal the enthusiasm with which the western media outlets proceed to underplay Islamic terrorism and provide a humanising account of the terrorists. This is a typical modus operandi adopted by the left-leaning western media portals, which rush to sweep under the carpet the sins committed by terrorists and use ennobling epithets such as ‘stalwarts’ to describe them.
This approach entails hiding the gory details such as the attacks and blasts carried out by the terrorists and instead focuses on highlighting trivial and mundane details about the terrorists such as their family background, educational qualifications etc. to generate a wave of sympathy among the readers for the dead terrorists and create an impression that they were victims of oppression.