Shortly after the Netherlands started pulling its troops out of Uruzgan Province in Afghanistan, a Dutch media outlet published a story [Google English translation here] quoting a Taliban spokesperson offering the Dutch government and people “heartfelt congratulations on their courage in making this independent decision”. There’s even some concern that other allies, such as Canada, will face similar ‘good to see ya go’ messages when they leave [more on that here and here].
In spite of the initial congratulations (a solicited response to a reporter), the Taliban info-machine issued its own more detailed assessment of Holland’s withdrawal shortly thereafter [Voice of Jihad English version here, screen capture of full statement at Scribd.com here].
While not congratulatory, the statement suggests the Netherlands is doing the right thing (in Taliban eyes, anyway):
…. the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan view the Dutch forces’ pullout as a genuine effort to meet the wants and demands of both Afghan and Dutch nations and a move in better interests of both countries ….
The statement also contains typical digs at those allies left behind, with a bit of ‘who’s left to do the heavy lifting?’ messaging:
With the US bankrupting itself in the war and bringing its empire to the verge of collapse, the Dutch troops’ withdrawal is, undoubtedly, a devastating blow to it which leaves military and financial gab on the ground whose burden may be covered by the US itself.
Every observer would say the US government and military lied to their teeth in order to cover up the failure of their policies and their war crimes in Afghanistan and to irrationally justify Afghan war, while it is a common knowledge that the Afghan nation has a brighter history of good relations worldwide as long as the war is not imposed on them.
Another message: The Netherlands’ departure could make it easier for others to leave, too:
Furthermore, the withdrawal of the Dutch forces from Afghanistan could possibly provide grounds for Germany to prove its claim to follow suit. Under circumstances, that is understandable that Germany’s stand to follow suit may create a strong inclination in other partnering countries to accelerate their troops’ withdrawal process as the US’ important allies such as Canada, Australia and Britain view the war in Afghanistan with disappointment, mistrust and the fact remains that the war is a unbearable burden on their shoulders which will get them nowhere.
Given that the decisions of various NATO countries to pull troops out of Afghanistan have been in place for some time, the Taliban may be sharing this message to lay the groundwork for taking credit in the future for the departure of other forces.
Bottom line: The Taliban continue to try to create and exacerbate rifts within NATO by highlighting withdrawals of Coalition troops, leveraging the departures to give the impression that the Taliban are winning.
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