For anyone who has followed the Afghan war over the past twelve-odd years, the recent addition of the Afghan Taliban to Canada’s list of terrorist entities came as a surprise. More than a surprise, it was disheartening. After more than a decade of engagement in Afghanistan, the Harper government has indicated it is no longer interested in finding a path to peace.
This is the problem with “terrorist lists” in general: they evoke a sense of evil and gloss over the details of complex conflicts like the one in Afghanistan. To simply label the Taliban a terrorist group without taking into account the matrix of alliances and interests that govern Afghanistan indicates a juvenile understanding of that war-ravaged nation. It reduces Afghanistan to Bush-era terms of good and evil.
But terrorism, particularly terrorism in Afghanistan, has never been so simple. Why, it must be asked, did it take the Canadian government more than ten years to add the Taliban to the terrorist list?Better late than never?
Update: A G&M reader comments:
Okay, we get it. They're not terrorists. They're simply a group that uses or threatens to use force or violence against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments for ideological and/or political reasons.Heh.
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