Professor Hassan Abbas speaks with Ali Velshi about the fallout and implications of his book, The Return of the Taliban: Afghanistan After the Americans Left. Abbas is a distinguished professor of international relations at the National Defense University and senior advisor at Harvard’s Center for International Affairs. The Return of the Taliban intimately profiles current leaders in the organization.
Velshi asks him, “Why are Taliban officials so threatened by your news book that they are urging supporters to kill you?”
Abbas’ answer: “I exposed their real image. They want to portray themselves as the pious Islamic warriors who really know what Islamic sharia is.” The Taliban uses social media to portray themselves to be purer and more powerful than they are in reality. Instead, he says, its leaders’ greed for power has created internal divisions — and taken many away from “true Islamic principles and values.”
Some deal drugs, drink alcohol, and are known for hiring sex workers. Abbas says the Taliban refuses to credit Pakistani intelligence for their role in the recapture of Afghanistan. For this, he says, a Taliban leader has told his hundreds of thousands of social media followers to put him to death.
Another solution in Afghanistan?
Abbas is also one of few historians and experts who believes there’s nothing to lose in engaging with moderate members of the Taliban. When our leaders insist any dialogue is bad dialogue, “We are forgetting history,” he says. The Taliban has shown signs of working with their former Shia and Sunni enemies. “We need to be more proactive … because everything else was already tried,” says Abbas.
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Velshi on banned books on MSNBC:
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