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Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. We did. I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. We have. We've blunted the Taliban's momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over. A new tower rises above the New York skyline, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead.
I might be afraid of ghosts and like dragons and those things, but I'm not afraid of the Taliban.
Some of the generals are saying, 'We're making progress. We are clearing an area.' But you really don't defeat the Taliban by clearing an area. They move.
If American forces leave Afghanistan, the Taliban is going to do what to America? Don't say you're worried about what they will do to the Afghan people. If that was America's concern, America's operational presence there would be much different.
When someone tells me about Malala, the girl who was shot by the Taliban - that's my definition for her - I don't think she's me. Now I don't even feel as if I was shot. Even my life in Swat feels like a part of history or a movie I watched. Things change. God has given us a brain and a heart which tell us how to live.
I don't think you can rely on Iran. I don't think you can rely on other radicals like the Taliban. They dispatched Al Qaida to bomb New York and Washington. What were they thinking? Were they that stupid? They weren't stupid. There is an irrationality there, and there is madness in this method.
The Taliban's acts of cultural vandalism - the most infamous being the destruction of the giant Bamiyan Buddhas - had a devastating effect on Afghan culture and the artistic scene. The Taliban burned countless films, VCRs, music tapes, books, and paintings. They jailed filmmakers, musicians, painters, and sculptors.
We all hoped in 2001 that we could put in place an Afghan government under President Karzai that would be able to control the country, make sure al-Qaeda didn't come back, and make sure the Taliban wasn't resurging. It didn't work out.
If we're so cruel to minorities, why do they keep coming here? Why aren't they sneaking across the Mexican border to make their way to the Taliban?
In much of the world, there is a sense of an ultra-powerful CIA manipulating everything that happens, such as running the Arab Spring, running the Pakistani Taliban, etc. That is just nonsense.
Pakistan is alarmed by the rising Indian influence in Afghanistan, and fears that an Afghanistan cleansed of the Taliban would be an Indian client state, thus sandwiching Pakistan between two hostile countries. The paranoia of Pakistan about India's supposed dark machinations should never be underestimated.
When you say things like, 'We have to wipe out the Taliban,' what does that mean? The Taliban is not a fixed number of people. The Taliban is an ideology that has sprung out of a history that, you know, America created anyway.
I want education for the sons and the daughters of all the extremists, especially the Taliban.
The Taliban knows they have more to fear from an educated girl than an American drone.
We are a pluralist civilisation because we allow mosques to be built in our countries, and we are not going to stop simply because Christian missionaries are thrown into prison in Kabul. If we did so, we, too, would become Taliban.
Any conception of human well-being you could plausibly have, the Taliban patently fails to maximize it.
Fundamentalism, as practiced by the Taliban, is the enemy of real thought, and religion too.
The dangers of an Afghan collapse are many: Afghan deaths, a loss of American prestige, a loss of NATO prestige, a moral blow to U.S. troops and veterans, a Taliban resurgence, huge setbacks for women, and greater power for Pakistan and Pakistani extremists.
People in Afghanistan want peace, including the Taliban. They're also people like we all are. They have families, they have relatives, they have children, they are suffering a tough time.
The fact is that Iran doesn't want to see the Taliban come back any more than do most Afghan citizens.
Fighting the Taliban and the various radical organizations on the front lines is like adding a Band-Aid to a cut, it may stop the bleeding but unless you clean it with antiseptic, the germs stay and multiply.
I mean, the Taliban, my view is that they have been weakened. We have not seen them able to conduct any kind of organized attack to regain any territory that they've lost. We've seen levels of violence going down.
The young boys I speak with say to me: Why would I want to live in this world - where they rely on charity, dry pieces of bread and water, where they are subjected to harsh treatment, when they can be free and be the envy of their colleagues in the afterlife. They are only too eager to sign on the dotted line and join the ranks of the Taliban.
I went to Afghanistan in '96 to write about terrorist training camps south of Jalalabad and Tora Bora, in the mountains. I was there right before the Taliban took over, literally a few weeks before they took Kabul. The frontline wasn't terribly active, but it was definitely there. And they swept into power.
Thousands of civilians have lost their lives to terrorist attacks inside Pakistan, and thousands more will - because, unlike the Pakistani government, which has no coherent policy to deal with the radicals, the Taliban have one to deal with Pakistan and its citizens.
John F. Kennedy
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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