Taliban employs familiar talking point as it seizes Afghan civilians’ firearms

As history has proven over and over, tyranny begins with stripping the population of the means of defending itself, and the Taliban are doing just that now that they are in full control of Afghanistan — even though President Biden just assured us this would not happen for months.

On Monday, Reuters reported Taliban fighters are “collecting weapons from civilians” in Kabul, employing a familiar Democratic talking point, which is that they will now protect people so there’s no longer a need to be armed.

All the while, it’s not hard to get an eerie sense that all the niceties flowing from the stone-age militants will come to an abrupt halt once the Americans and the cameras are gone from the country.

“Afghans were still flooding Kabul airport desperately trying to find a way out of the country as Taliban fighters began collecting weapons from civilians saying people no longer need them for personal protection,” Reuters reported in a tweet.

“We understand people kept weapons for personal safety. They can now feel safe. We are not here to harm innocent civilians,” a Taliban official told Reuters.

A mad scramble took place Monday at Hamid Karzai International Airport, as the U.S. frantically evacuated thousands of Americans, to include embassy staff. Various reports say there are as many as 10,000 U.S. citizens still in the country.

Desperate Afghans trying to get out of the country before the Taliban impose a strict interpretation of Sharia law again swarmed the airport, with some clinging to the sides of a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane as it took off — several tragically fell to their deaths once the plane was airborne.

For the most part, the Afghan army chose not to fight and have abandoned bases and weapons, with the Taliban reaping the rewards.

More from the Associated Press:

The Taliban captured an array of modern military equipment when they overran Afghan forces who failed to defend district centers. Bigger gains followed, including combat aircraft, when the Taliban rolled up provincial capitals and military bases with stunning speed, topped by capturing the biggest prize, Kabul, over the weekend.

A U.S. defense official on Monday confirmed the Taliban’s sudden accumulation of U.S.-supplied Afghan equipment is enormous.

 

Joseph Dempsey, an International Institute for Strategic Studies research associate, shared a series of photographs online of Taliban forces in possession of a number of military aircraft — it’s not entirely clear when the photos were taken.

There was also footage of a group of Taliban fighters flying in an attack helicopter that was reportedly captured from Afghan forces — again, the details are sketchy.

More troubling than the Taliban acquiring hundreds of millions of dollars of aircraft and equipment is the response from the Pentagon.

On Monday, Major General Hank Taylor, a logistics specialist at the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked, “Is the U.S. taking any other sort of steps to prevent aircraft of other military equipment from falling into the hands of the Taliban?”

“I don’t have the answer to that question,” the general replied.

As for the collecting of personal weapons, social media users were of one mind as to where this will lead.

Here’s a few examples of the responses seen on Twitter:

Tom Tillison

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