NPR host: ‘The Taliban has never been an enemy of the United States’

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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So what if the pre-2002 Taliban government of Afghanistan harbored terrorists that were responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.  And never mind if more recently the Taliban reacted to the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden with a pair of suicide bombers – they’re not really our enemies.

That’s the takeaway from public radio host John Hockenberry, whose show “The Takeaway” appears on NPR stations all over the country.

In an interview with Christine Fair, assistant professor at the Center for Peace and Security Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Hockenberry challenged the notion of the Taliban being an enemy of the United States and declared that the idea it could again make Afghanistan a haven for terrorists “an absurdity.”

“I guess, Christine Fair, I’m wondering why this is even a debate,” Hockenberry said. “The Taliban has never been an enemy of the United States. They don’t love us in Afghanistan, but they’re not sending planes over to New York or to the Pentagon and it seems to me much more broadly that the debate needs to happen is what is the sort of multi-state strategy for dealing with rogue nations of all kinds. Yemen is about to fall apart. You’ve got Somalia problems. The idea that terrorists just go to Afghanistan and launch weapons at the United States it seems in 2011 is an absurdity.”

Fair agreed with Hockenberry’s assertion and questioned why there is such a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.

“Well, of course you know I’m in violent agreement with you,” she said. “I don’t get this strategy and I haven’t gotten this strategy for some time. It’s clear that having 130,000 troops in Afghanistan has actually made things worse than where we were even five years ago.”