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Posted at 10:05 AM ET, 12/14/2010

Taliban blames Holbrooke death on war 'failures'

By Ernesto Londono

For the Taliban, the death of U.S. envoy Richard C. Holbrooke late Monday was really a metaphor for U.S. policy in Afghanistan.

The insurgent group posted a statement on its English-language Web site Tuesday that linked the longtime diplomat's demise to what it called a failing war.

"This giant of the American politics and diplomacy became ill with heart disease when his previous fame and credibility came under question after the unremitting failures of the mission of Afghanistan," the statement said. "The protracted Afghan war and the descending trajectory of the Americans' handing of the warfare in the country had a lethal dent on Holbrooke's health."

The Taliban statement drew a parallel between Holbrooke's torn aorta and the failing health of Soviet leaders in the period that preceded the country's retreat from Afghanistan in the late 1980s. "They relieved themselves of the hard task of the Afghan mission by retreating into the lap of death," the statement said.

The group tried to bolster its argument by making mention of the congressional hearing on Afghanistan in June during which a dehydrated Gen. David H. Petraeus briefly fainted and the abrupt departure days later of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Petraeus's predecessor as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. It also made a reference to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' reported decision to step down from his post next year.

"The war in Afghanistan is heavily weighing down on the psyche of the American military and political higher-ups," the Taliban said. "Some of them lighten their burden by simply going to the other world and others, while still being alive, chose to avoid shouldering the mission."

By Ernesto Londono  | December 14, 2010; 10:05 AM ET
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Next: Holbrooke's last words on the Afghan war


What has Holbrooke actually done over there? He couldn't adopt his usual techniques of blackmail and saturation civilian bombing. Guess the Taliban have the right of it here.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | December 14, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

We are crushing their evil to leave the Afghan people to live lives of peace.

Posted by: Nymous | December 14, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Taliban, ISI, CIA, drug cartels....if they are all receiving funding from shared sources, they are distinguishable how?

Posted by: justhefacs | December 14, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

They would have us believe that once the Taliban "wins", life will be wonderful again for the people of Afghanistan... unless you are a woman or a goat, of course.

Posted by: r_loveland | December 14, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for being snide earlier, but if the West allows Afhganistan fall back under the control of the Taliban, it will be a hideous blood bath. But like with Vietnam, Cambodia, Iran and other examples, Hollywood and the leftist Western media will have already moved on to their next cause de celebre, and we will be spared the gruesome details.

Only when these 8th century throwbacks reach the suburbs of Berlin, Paris or London, will we take the threat seriously.

On second thought, the Taliban might not yet be in these suburbs, but their recruiters and sympathisers certainly are.

Posted by: r_loveland | December 14, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

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