HUAMBO, ANGOLA – Can a terrorist group, former or current, ever be trusted to makeup part of a legitimate government?
You may remember, perhaps with a sense of disbelief, the Trump administration’s decision to enter into talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Trump and his lot were looking for an excuse to pull their troops out of the country, where they have been stationed for two decades.
Meanwhile, the Taliban are looking to regain control of the land they ruled with an iron fist in the 1990s. They see themselves as the rightful government-in-waiting.
But some are concerned that despite promises to the contrary, once American troops have left the Taliban will reimpose their barbaric form of Sharia law in which girls are not allowed to be educated and people can be executed for “crimes” such as homosexuality. With their brutal history, how can we trust that the situation will be otherwise?
And yet, historically former terrorist organisations have successfully made the transition to peaceful participation in legitimate government. Think of the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa. Its members engaged in violent acts to end apartheid, but would anyone refer to Nelson Mandela’s leadership of the country in later years as a reign of terror or the former ANC head as a ‘terrorist’?
However, these groups can never wipe their records clean, no matter how much they profess to espouse good leadership. Case in point:
On this day in 1984
The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) claimed responsibility for the bombing of a barracks in Angola that killed anywhere from 30 to 200 people, according to various reports. UNITA maintained that at least two Soviet and 37 Cuban officers were among the dead (Angola was a ‘client state’ of the USSR). Another 30-70 were injured; again the reports differed.
The attack happened during the Angolan civil war which only ended in February of 2002 when UNITA’s founder, Jonas Savimbi, was killed. By August of that same year UNITA gave up its armed wing and focused its efforts on morphing into a viable political party. It is now the official opposition in Angola.
So far UNITA seema to be playing by the rules of democracy, but will this continue? Only time will tell. The Taliban, on the other hand? Let’s just say, I doubt they can even spell democracy let alone abide by it.
Read More Today in Terrorism
On May 31, 1906 a Spanish anarchist threw a bomb hoping to hit King Alfonso XIII, killing 24 and wounding more than 100.
On May 30, 2009 two pamphlet-bombs exploded outside an Ecuadorian TV station and ministry: no victims or significant damage ensued.
On May 29, 2016 35 civilians were wounded in an ISIS attack using rockets containing chlorine gas in Iraq’s Nineveh Province.