Taliban attempts to kill differences

-- The Berliner Zeitung in Berlin, Germany March 6

Posted: Thursday, March 08, 2001

The Taliban regime in Afghanistan is recognized worldwide only by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. International ostracism has hurt the regime as much as the arms embargo. As long as Pakistan continues to maintain relations with the Taliban, this regime will be able to do whatever it wants. It will be able to persecute and massacre the population, and no one will prevent it from doing so. The drought -- which has lasted for months and is the worst in more than 30 years -- is viewed by the ''prince of the believers,'' Mohammed Omar, as ''God's punishment of those who reject Islamic rule.'' They are the one million people who are at risk of starving to death. ...

There has been war in Afghanistan for more than 20 years. Two million have died and three million have fled. Pakistan and Iran have taken in most of the refugees. Only very few Afghans have come to Europe or even to the U.S. Therefore Western interest in this conflict amounts to nearly nothing. ...

The world accepted the murder of millions of people. It would be a miracle if it continued to be scandalized by the destruction of the two impressive statues. ...

The missiles fired against the Buddha statues in Bamiyan by the Taliban are not aimed merely at stone. They want to kill an idea, the idea that people with different views, of different origin, and with different beliefs can live together and build a society in which these differences are not leveled, but made fruitful. This, however, would be what we call culture.

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