Written in Taliban

The first time I saw you was in the Khyber pass.  You came with your technology, elite fighters fueled by revenge, and the hubris to believe you could disprove history.

This was a war that you didn’t have the stomach to fight.  But I’m glad you tried.  

We bled you the same way we bled the Soviets in our Holy Land.  We bled you the same way the Vietnamese bled you in their home land.  We did it patiently and deliberately.  

Patience.  Something Westerners never learn.  

Our history is millennial.  We don’t yearn for an early victory when the Infidel ravages our Holy Land.  Our victory is celebrated decades from now.  We’ve endured, then ravaged every standing military that crossed our borders.   Why?  How?  We’re patient.  

In 30 days, we’ll be stronger, richer, and have control over precious natural resources that you need for your pathetic life dictated by comfort.  We will have women, riches, land, guns, and ownership of one of the greatest chapters in military history. 

You lose. 

If you want to try again, we welcome the challenge.  You will fail regardless of how much money you burn in our deserts. For pity, here is free advice that may contribute to your future success; should you ever decide to invade again.

You recruit your warriors and supporters from a drug addicted, distracted, disillusioned population that’s obsessed with comfort and entertainment.  A population obsessed with altering their mundane reality.  Alcohol, marijuana, pills, and our new favorite -- Tide Pods.  Every time your doctors prescribe opiate painkillers, you line our coffers with gold.  Your population’s thirst for our pristine heroin has never been more lucrative for our warrior tribes.   We will keep feeding you poison for as long as you keep your hands out.  

If your population wasn’t so spineless, undisciplined, and self-loathing, then you might be able to compile a raiding party with enough tenacity to outthink ours. 

Our fighters are born into war.  Raised in it.  It’s a way of life that evades your “first world” nations. They live a life of such immense misery and pain that they’re willing to fight barefoot in the snow for the opportunity to martyr themselves. They yearn for the opportunity to die.  When they do have the blessed opportunity to sacrifice themselves, they sit above Mohammed at the right hand of God.  Blessed in Allah for eternity

What honors do your fighters receive?  Their empty sacrifice is remembered in the form of a “three day weekend.”  The majority of your population uses this sacred time to get drunk and grow more fat as a way to celebrate their fallen warriors.  Sadly, we pay tribute to their death more honorably.

The colored pieces of cloth you pin on their chests are similar to the jewelry worn by our women.  What good are accolades and vanity if you don’t have the stomach to endure a fight?   We don’t offer the burden of healthcare to our fighters as they often want to die for Allah.  Your fighters fight to live.  Their inability to reconcile the inevitable outcome of our patience leads them to kill themselves.  Your medications, counselors and non-profits will never undo the pain and suffering you’ve forced them to endure.  It will never remove the pain we’ve caused your broken nation.  You are your own worst enemy. 

We will give your fighters credit.  Some are creative, tenacious, and fierce. They outgun us in every way possible.  But again, we simply wait them out.  Allah is patient.  You cycle them through our Holy Lands every 3 to 12 months for their combat rotations.  After their tour is complete, they return to the comfort of their warm beds and endless entertainment.  If you left them here, in our Holy Land, with no way out but to win, then you might of have had a chance of success.  The longer you poisoned our Holy Land with your presence, your “rules of engagement” only strengthened our position. There is only one rule in war - that is to win. 

Your commanders made you fight with your hands tied behind your back. Your rules also confused our fighters too.  “We’re clearly the enemy; why are they letting us go?”  Thank you for your compassion as it allowed our fighters to kill more Infidels.  We began to feel as if your commanders were on our side.  We’re thankful your most vicious dogs were never allowed off their leash. 

Your showcase Generals make us laugh.  You spend millions of dollars flying them around our country, inventing new ways to win while ignoring the guidance of our most capable foes.  Your Generals make decisions to minimize risk to their fragile reputation with the ultimate goal of securing a lucrative retirement--jobs with suppliers that fuel your losing force. A self-serving circle that’s built on the backs of your youngest and most naive fighters.

Your retired Generals “earn” tens of thousands of dollars talking to your political, industrial, and financial leaders about “teams, winning, and discipline.”  It’s a mockery of the war they refused to fight.  It’s a mockery of the Infidel warriors who died in our lands. We urge you to continue following their vacuous personalities so we can further watch your once great nation collapse. 

Your statesman and elected officials are spineless, narcissistic, and more cowardly than your Generals.  They crave power over you above all else.  They come to our country, hide behind blast walls, and only heed the word of the indigenous leader they put in power.   I believe your soldiers call this a “self licking ice cream cone.”  

They’ve burned billions of dollars in a wasted effort to bring clean water, electricity, business, education, agriculture, and exports to a region that didn’t ask for it.  You should have saved yourself the effort and simply given the money directly to us.  Don’t worry; your diplomatic friends gave us plenty of your American tax dollars.  If you want to give it another shot with your “soft power,” send those with real experience, not fancy degrees and silver tongues. 

Over the next few months, we will  make the world understand that you failed worse than any fighting force that’s ever invaded our lands.  Today we celebrate victory.  

As you evacuate your embassy, our fighters will be standing in the shade.  Our RPG marksmen will be patient.  We thank you for the parting gifts.  You’ll find surface-to-air missiles staged in the back of Toyota pickup trucks that you purchased for us.   

We saw what Extortion 17 did to your nation and the morale of your fighting force.  Do your citizens even remember that victory? We’ll be repeating and improving upon our victory while your citizens and sympathizers evacuate in disgrace.  Every one of your foes around the world will know exactly how to break you. 

You are welcome to fly your empty drones, target our cell phones, and send your spies.  But they, too, will ultimately fail.  We’ll use their failures to show the world that you’re not all-powerful.  You’re a false front--an empty shell. You lie, cheat, steal, and are easily defeated because you lack the spine to fight.  This is your history now.  We’re grateful Allah gave us the opportunity to show the world how to defeat the Infidels. 

We look forward to seeing you again across the battlefield.

Praise be to God,

The Taliban


***Authors’ Note***

If you’ve read this far.  Thank you.  I’ve spent the past week trying to find a way to communicate this to the American people in a manner that would cause anger, rage, action, and understanding.  Writing in the voice of a Taliban felt right.

If this made you angry, cry, or contemplative--then our goal is achieved.  Our hope is that it inspires you to take action with your elected officials.  They’ve been repeating the same failing playbook since World War II with your sons, daughters, and tax dollars.  If you want this to keep happening, do nothing.  If you don’t, then do something.  If we all do a little, together we do a lot.

About the Authors: 

Matthew Griffin is a 2001 United States Military Academy Graduate, Army Ranger, Combat Veteran with the 75th Ranger Regiment (3x Afghanistan, 1x Iraq), CEO of Combat Flip Flops, author, and 2019 Henry Crown Fellow with the Aspen Global Leadership Institute. 

Scott Chapman is a 2000 Murray State University Graduate, Army Ranger Fire Team Leader from Alpha Company 2/75th Rangers (‘01 - ‘05), OGA Blackwater Alumni, entrepreneur, and author. Combat Veteran ( 21x Afghanistan, 1x Iraq)




279 comments


  • Rick uselton

    I am a Vietnam Veteran and disabled and saying that I’m living life the best I can with PTSD. I surely considered taking my life and decided for my wife and girls of 53 years of marriage. Our Government made serious mistakes. 67 thousand of my comrades were killed inaction. My fire base was Ofer run about one month after I left . I’m so blessed that I warden there. A lot of my brothers died after I left. If I had have known I definitely would have wanted to be there helping them to stay alive. My heart ❤️ goes out to them. God makes these choices of who lives and who dies an early death. My emotions writing make me hurt all over.
    🙏❤️🇺🇸 RU / 101st Airborne 1970-71.


  • David Elrod

    I have read this many times and even today it still brings out the same emotions. My first military deployment was in February 1998 Kuwait/Iraq (Operation Desert Thunder). I had been in the military just over a year, when my first short notice, pack your shit, let’s go, call came in. It really started to set in an hour later in our Intel briefing, when the commander said before you leave this room, go home spend what time you can with your families, but don’t tell them anything about where your going, you can only tell them your going to the Middle East. Wheels up tomorrow morning. I was scared to death and I didn’t realize it at the time, but that would be the my indoctrination, my OJT for learning how to handle myself and how to engage Middle Easterners and how to go by their rules, if you will.
    That trip that lasted from February till the middle/end of March, and was the first of several more trips to the Middle East. The locals that I dealt with there, were very mild when it comes to how they interpreted their religion, almost like an entirely different language dialect. Nontheless, it gave me a sense of how Americans are viewed by Eastern civilizations. I began my training about the Muslim beliefs, and the Middle Eastern way of life in a pre K sort of mild environment. 3 1/2 years later, came 9/11 and we were thrust into the belly of the beast, thrown to the wolves. We sat in our Intel briefing thinking back to 1998 and thought this will be short, sweet and to the point, we will be back home in bed in a week. Our commanders told us at the end of that briefing, we had all been there before, we are going into this with some type of expectations, it’s time to go to work. From day 1 we were nearly set up for failure. We soon found out, even if this trip may be in the same region of the world, against another Muslim adversary, in the same type of landscape, we walked into that with a desire to fight, a desire to wipe them off the planet. We had a reason to be there, we were still in shock and pain from 9/11. We hated them. We wanted nothing more than to eliminate their existence. We were angry, we were hurting, we were ready to fight to the death, there was zero question from anyone what our objectives were. And it’s a good thing, because we soon learned that we had just stepped into something much more intense and different than any of us had ever seen before. This was nothing like Kuwait and Iraq. We weren’t fighting an organized military trying to topple a foreign government. We were fighting a true Holy War and everyone of our enemies had a reason to fight back, surrender was not in their game plan, losing was not in their vocabulary or in their way of life. It’s a damn good thing we went in with the emotions that we did, we had just entered our first true war that had any kind of rhyme or reason, since WW2. The will to survive was different than it was in Vietnam. The mindset of our own troops was different than the Gulf War, and the sense of urgency and the anger we went in with was a million times more fierce than the last time we stood on Middle Eastern ground. We had not been here before. We had not dealt with Muslims like this, we called them terrorists, their people called them Jihadists. We weren’t on a sat phone every 15 minutes asking for direction, we were on a SAT phone every second, calling in air support, guiding A-10’s on a low altitude gun runs. We pushed as hard as we could, we fought like men. Our objectives and goals were clear to all of us, we knew why we were there. We didn’t feel any level of guilt whatsoever, when we leveled complete viliages. In our eyes we weren’t killing another human being, we were ridding the planet of evil that had no other purpose other than to inflict pain and suffering on our way of life. Our commanders didn’t have to give us a pep talk every 12 hours, or point out or objectives every other day, we had a clear starting line and a clear finish line and clear objectives along the way. From the Air Force to the Marines, we were no longer differnet Services, the joking, the ribbing, the hazing, was left at home, we all had one goal and we all knew what that was, we were no longer 4 differnet branches, we were the Untied States military, an Army of one, and we hit the ground ready to fight. With guns blazing, we were all on the same page and had the Taliban backing up in retreat, we were clearing them from every village north to south. We had reason to be there and a want to kill, all of them. As time went on and this war they had started, that we went there to finish, began to take a different turn. A new type of war was happening, new tactics were being deployed against our military, we had been rotating men and women in and out of country, some beginning their 2nd and 3rd trips. The bullets have slowed, the bombing runs were becoming fewer and far between. We had stopped our forward momentum and began to set up and occupy bases. We began patrols as if we were policeman. We were no longer killing the enemy, we were placing them under arrest. What in the hell were we doing? By my 3rd trip, the mentality was completely different. That will to fight was no longer there. Younger troops that were in grade school the day we went there to fight, were bringing back memories of 1998, as they began to question why we were there. Our objectives were no longer clear. We were calling our wives and families everyday, complaining about being in war torn shithole country. We very seldom saw Taliban anymore. The Afghan people were divided. Some loved us, but most still hated us. We brought the fight they had started back to their soil. We had them on the run. We had them defeated. They would have stayed out of power had we just picked up our teams and equipment and left. We had the majority of Taliban fighters cornered in the mountains and unorganized, most of them dead, we should of held them at bay and let the other clerics fight it out for control and restart their own government the way they saw fit. We had made a statement, we did our job. We showed the Taliban we were ready to fight. We had beat them inside and out. There was no doubt the Americans had arrived and were totally pissed off. All that subsided, as time went on. We set up a peace keeping mission on a battlefield in the middle of a thousand year war. We came to show them that what they did wasn’t going to happen ever again, but then we got caught up in the middle of the war that they are all born into. We should have left. Our objectives were met. Get out of the way and let them fight for control, they have done all this before. They will sort it out, amongst themselves. They knew how to establish a government the way their people wanted to be governed. For us, the war was over, we had won, we came, we conquered and the people who punched us were definitly paying the price. Those other tribes were not our enemies, they were not our allies, they were not our friends, nor did they want us their either, but they also knew why we were there. They understood and they respected us for that. In their eyes we were warriors defending our way of life.
    They knew the Taliban had started a fight and we came to finish it and protect our country with all our might. They respected us for that, they stayed out of the way, and let us do our job, so we would get out and their and could continue their fight. We were just a short pause in their eyes. We were after one group not the entire Holy Land. At first we weren’t seen as occupiers, we weren’t in danger by the other tribes. Their fighters would watch us pass through and enjoyed a much needed break. They knew we weren’t there for them. But then as time went on and we weren’t leaving, we had lost the end we had in sight. As we got closer, the finish line kept moving further and further away. We became the enemy to everyone, not just those hiding in the caves. They no longer wanted us there. They wanted us to leave. We became a thorn in their side not a welcome sight, as they still had their own war to fight. We should have left and let them clean up the mess, they had done it many times and knew exactly where to start. Instead, we stayed and tried to change their way of life. We spent billions trying to modernize their country with things they didn’t want. We gave them democracy, we gave them change. We gave them a chance to be like us. We gave them everything that they hated us for. We made the other tribes weaker and dependent on our presence. We gave them electricity, running water and places to hang out. We tried to defy laws of physics and make the West and the East meet in the same place. Meanwhile, as we were transforming their country into everything that they defied. We were being watched everyday from the mountains on high, that we had pushed our real enemy into. We had them cornered and defeated. As we set out on a humanitarian mission, the last time I went, it was not even remotely close not the same place we had come to fight. After 20 years, we were being attacked by men who weren’t even born the day we stepped on the ground. We were sending troops over that had no clue why we were even there. Our mindset had shifted and the guys that were their when the fight began, were now retiring and no one was left to show our younger guys the way. However, over that 20 years, there was one thing that didn’t change and that was the Taliban watching and studying us from the caves. They eventually started to make their way down from those caves and began to mix in with the locals with only one objective as we became the prey. We no longer made a statement and many joined their cause, because even if they didn’t get along they all had one thing in common and that was the desire they had for the Amercians to leave their country. We lost a 20 year war that we easily won in the first year. Our desire to be there was gone and we had no clear goals. We lost a war over our own governments desire for greed. Our politicians wanted us there and now instead of defending America, we were stealing their sovereignty. We made friends with many of the tribes and after we wore our welcome out we left with a bunch of enemies. We won that war with a highly decisive victory. There was no question, that those mountains would always be seen as the place the Amaricans defeated the Taliban. Because of greed and power those very mountains are now looked at as the place where the Americans were defeated by the Taliban. We did our job, we fought like Hell. We won that war, we felt the victory as we stood on the enemies ground. For some of us, not only did we feel the excitement and honor from the greatness we had achieved, we also found ourselves running for an airplane as they chased us from their home. We defeated them and allowed them to rebuild, and as we left, we armed them and made them stronger than ever before. Why in the Hell, didn’t we leave after we kicked their ASS….


  • Steven Parrish

    You are whiny turds. Such trash. You’ve turned your back when your country. You fell a soldiers. How can you stand a liquor sound from the mirror? This is exactly the kind of garbage that does ruin the country. You were traitors . We used to hang them


  • MarkinTX

    A Taliban…one word…”A-10.” (Hey, where did they all go?)


  • K Fengler

    A conflict cannot be won or remedied without completely understanding the perspective of ones foe. This letter is imperative for understanding strategie.

    Additionally, only a oppressed people can save themselves. If they want democracy they will have to create for themselves. Saviors cannot save anyone. People must save themselves.


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