BAD IDEA?

Obama's Taliban Mistake

Is there such a thing as "moderate" Taliban, or are such people merely an invention of the Obama administration to help get the U.S. out of the quagmire in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Considering the group's radically chauvinistic values, "moderate" might not be the first word that springs to mind. In a column today for The Times of India, M.J. Akbar points to a YouTube video making the rounds that shows a 17-year-old girl in the Taliban-run Swat Valley being lashed 37 times for being seen with a man who was not her father or brother. Akbar writes that Obama's definition of "moderate" does not go beyond the extremists having laid down their arms—and ignoring the fundamental wrongs of this radical ideology "will create blowback that spreads far beyond the geography" of Afghanistan and Pakistan.