Americans are stunned on how swiftly and easily the Taliban overran and reclaimed the entirety of Afghanistan, with virtually no resistance. Just two weeks ago, we all were assured that although the Taliban controlled much of the rural areas, provincial capitals would hold out long enough to allow an orderly withdrawal of U.S. assets and evacuation of Afghans at risk. Instead, government resistance melted away, allowing Taliban forces to sweep through the urban areas with very little destruction and loss of life — and isn’t that really a good thing?
Who would have preferred that the Taliban slowly take over against stubborn resistance? There would have been much destruction and bloodshed, and great displacement and suffering of the Afghan people, who have already suffered after more than 40 years of war and occupation.
There have been scattered accounts of mistreatment from the Taliban, but nothing like was predicted. The takeover has been remarkably without violence or retribution — and why not? The ease and almost complete absence of resistance to the Taliban indicates that most Afghans just want the strife and uncertainty to end. Also, it is not in the interest of the Taliban leadership to be cruel and oppressive. They will need international cooperation to successfully govern. The fact that we lowered and removed our flag at the embassy without incident or bloodshed proves the point.