Dear Taliban, You Suck

This week's shooting of a teen blogger in Pakistan is one of five reasons I won't lose sleep when hellfire missiles strike you.

A Pakistani student holds a paper showing 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who was shot on Tuesday by the Taliban for speaking out in support of education for women.

Dear Taliban, I’ve never had much patience for charlatans, sociopaths and fascists—or any combination thereof—who hide their perversions of justice behind the skirts of organized religion and false pieties. But you guys have raised the bar of that kind of douchebaggery to a whole new level.

No kite flying, no music, no movies, no television, no computers, no satellite dishes, no chess boards, no dancing or clapping during sports events, no artistic representations of living things—no paintings, drawings, photographs, stuffed animals or dolls. Basically no anything invented after the eighth century. I could probably fill up the whole Internet cataloging your brutal assaults on progress, reason, tolerance, human rights and common decency but in the interest of brevity, I’ll stick with what are arguably your five greatest outrages.

1. Blasting the Buddhas of Bamiyan to Smithereens
Carved into the side of a cliff some 1,500 years ago, the spectacular Buddhas of Bamiyan were the largest standing Buddha sculptures in the world until you guys dynamited them in 2001. Those statues endured 14 centuries of civilization, but didn’t last five years under the Taliban. You guys are like a cultural ebola virus.

2. Your Little Slumber Party With Osama Bin Laden
Don’t think this really needs further comment, aside from “how’s that workin’ out for ya?” Don’t know how closely you’re following the election, but John Kerry had a great zinger: Ask Osama bin Laden if he’s better off now than he was four years ago.

3. Cutting Off the Ears and Nose of Disobedient Teen Brides
From Time:

The Taliban pounded on the door just before midnight, demanding that Aisha, 18, be punished for running away from her husband’s house. They dragged her to a mountain clearing near her village in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan, ignoring her protests that her in-laws had been abusive, that she had no choice but to escape. Shivering in the cold air and blinded by the flashlights trained on her by her husband’s family, she faced her spouse and accuser. Her in-laws treated her like a slave, Aisha pleaded. They beat her. If she hadn’t run away, she would have died. Her judge, a local Taliban commander, was unmoved. Later, he would tell Aisha’s uncle that she had to be made an example of lest other girls in the village try to do the same thing. The commander gave his verdict, and men moved in to deliver the punishment. Aisha’s brother-in-law held her down while her husband pulled out a knife. First he sliced off her ears. Then he started on her nose. Aisha passed out from the pain but awoke soon after, choking on her own blood. The men had left her on the mountainside to die.

Enough said.

4. Throwing Battery Acid in the Face of Schoolgirls for the Crime of Pulling Themselves out of Abject Ignorance
From the New York Times:

The attackers appeared in the morning on Nov. 12 of last year, as the girls were walking to school. The men came on three motorcycles, each one carrying a driver and a man on back. They wore masks. Each of the men riding on back carried a small container filled with battery acid. The masked men circled for several minutes as the girls streamed to school. Then they moved in.

Shamsia Husseini and her sister, Atifa, were walking along the highway when they spotted the men on the motorbikes. Shamsia, then 17, was old enough to be married; she was wearing a black scarf that covered most of her face. Shamsia had seen Taliban gunmen before and figured the men on the motorcycles would pass. Then one of the bikes pulled alongside her, and the man on back jumped off. Through the mask, he asked Shamsia what seemed like a strange question.

“Are you going to school?”

The masked man pulled the scarf away from Shamsia’s face and, with his other hand, pumped the trigger on his spray gun [filled with battery acid]. Shamsia felt as if her face and eyes were on fire. As she screamed, the masked man reached for Atifa, who was already running. He pulled at her and tore her scarf away and pumped the spray into her back. The men sped off toward another group of girls. Shamsia lay in the street holding her burning face.


5. Shooting 14-Year-Old Malala Yousufzai in the Head for Blogging About Your Assholery and Advocating for Women’s Education
Takes a special breed of cowardice to be threatened by free speech and educated women. It takes a special breed of ratfucker to order the assassination of a child for the crime of saying out loud that women have just as much right to an education as men. That’s some toxic combination of chickenshit and stone-cold thuggery. In America, we would say you have issues. In the Swat Valley, there are no men with “issues,” just men with AK-47s.

Now, like most everyone with a functioning moral compass, I am profoundly conflicted about the whole drone strike thing, for all the self-evident reasons: the collateral murder of innocents, the anarchy of extrajudicial killing, the dubious legality of dropping bombs on a country we have not declared war on, the complete lack of transparency and accountability, etc. However, when the Hellfire Missiles come knocking on your door—and make no mistake, they WILL come a knockin’—I will sleep like a baby that night. Couldn’t happen to a nicer buncha guys.

Jonathan Valania is the editor-in-chief of