BAGRAM — The leader of the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan announced today that he will be suspending this year’s entire fighting season due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
“It’s just not worth it,” said Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada. “We understand that the only way to really protect our men is by self-isolating, so we’ll just skip this fighting season altogether and reevaluate next year.
“We have been told by members of the WHO that the virus pandemic could last well into this year and even into next,” Akhundzada continued. “So you know, we could actually be looking at a multi-year shutdown of trying to tear our country apart.”
Asked if he thought that attacks could resume remotely — take place without victims and away from crowds to maintain social-distancing requirements — Akhundzada acknowledged that is a possibility.
“We want to carry out our mayhem as safely and as responsibly as possible,” he said. “There is no reason to needlessly endanger lives over a virus we still don’t know much about. We could be worsening the pandemic, and frankly, we don’t need that kind of bad publicity. We’re trying to rebuild our international reputation, and being seen as people who don’t care about infecting others would be a really bad look for us.”