March 2, 2011

The “P” Word

From by Joshua Foust -
Naheed Mustafa is a Canadian freelance broadcast and print journalist.

I don’t take the word “propaganda” lightly. Having been accused at times of being a propagandist for various mutually exclusive causes or ideas, I recognize that hurling that insult is a way to undermine personal credibility. So imagine my surprise when Wazhma Frogh, an ostensible Afghan academic, lobbed the p-word at a study published by the Center On International Cooperation at New York University.

“Separating the Taliban from al-Qaeda: The core of Success in Afghanistan” is a report (pdf) based on primary source research by Alex Strick von Linschoten and Felix Kuehn, both of whom are widely regarded as credible voices on Afghanistan.

The purpose of this post is not to offer up a defense of either Alex or Felix personally. They’re adults, they can defend themselves. My comments are specifically a response to a sentiment that is embodied in Ms. Frogh’s post “Sorry…We misunderstood you!” It’s the idea that any attempt to understand the Taliban is to somehow become an apologist for the movement.

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