Mullah Mateen sat in an oxblood leather chair at a massive glass-topped desk in former Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani’s office, taking his turn posing for triumphal cell phone photos with other Taliban commanders who took Kabul without even trying.
Don’t smile, he tells himself. Taliban commanders aren’t supposed to smile even though a couple of the younger fighters have started to lighten up, wearing basketball sneakers and baseball caps they picked up when the American infidels got out of town. Almost all devils are gone now, except for deadly CIA mercenaries and their traitorous allies.
Mullah Mateen stopped the victory party as soon as he asked the question of the day. Always well-mannered, as the name Mateen signifies in the Pashto language, he spoke in a firm, yet soft, voice.
Nobody wanted to answer because nobody really knew. Those leaders who thought they knew stood at odds with other men who thought they knew. But nobody really knew.
“The Afghan government robbed us,” Mullah Mateen said.
The men grumbled, raising into the air newly-confiscated American M4 carbines, fully-automatic M4A1s, M249 machine guns and rocket launchers.
“The Afghan government robbed American taxpayers, too,” he said.
The men cheered.
“So we’re broke, just like most Americans,” Mullah Mateen said.
Now the men went glum, their already creased and hardened faces falling like the Great Buddhas of Bamiyan the Taliban used artillery and explosive charges to blast out of a mountainside in 2001. Blasphemous idols Mullah Mateen called the statues at the time from his camp in the hills. Twenty years later, the battle-tested insurgent victor kept going, expressing strategic transitional concerns.
“Where will we get money to run our own government? Even with all the trucks, guns, ammunition and even helicopters the enemy left, we don’t have money for upkeep, repairs or maintenance. We don’t have money to fix potholes, make electricity, pick up the garbage or provide unclogged sewers. We need American cash and credit to buy on the open market.”
At a loss for answers, the men shot holes in the ceiling.
Then Mullah Mateen laid bare his ancestral soul, dropping a bomb with his outrageously masculine proposal.
“I have studied the American President Joe Biden. Like us, he favors tribal rites and ritual. He’s American of Irish descent. Many American Irish men think like we do. They call themselves the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.”
Mullah Mateen unconsciously stroked his bullet belt.
“These men scorn women. Oppress women. Discriminate against women. Harass women. Ban them from events. Put them in their place. These men agree with us that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. Not like here where we can throw them in the stove but a place for them to slave over a stove preparing great dinners of meat and vegetables like the ham and cabbage they cook on the one big lineal observance when American Irish men and boys gather together and celebrate.”
The fighters stopped shooting and started to listen.
Mullah Mateen pulled on his unkempt beard.
“Paddy’s Day, these men call this custom, a feast day to honor this holy elder in his long beard and tunic. Millions of people parade in Paddy’s honor, worshipping a green three-leafed shamrock plant that grows wild and free like our opium poppy plants.”
Armed commanders started to chant.
“Paddy’s Day, Paddy’s Day.”
Mullah Mateen held up his hand, regained their attention and continued.
“This Saint Patrick as they call him enraptures President Biden so much Biden appeared three times as featured speaker in the rural province where his hometown Scranton is located for the yearly Friendly Sons dinner that Imam Patrick’s followers hold to honor their bearded commander. The men in attendance benefit from meeting each other, politicians and businessmen, vowing allegiance to the male cause that upholds gender segregation.”
“Important as she is to democracy, Black American Vice President Kamala Harris is banned from this sacred banquet,” he said.
“Powerful elected officials like United States Senator Bob Casey Jr., another drowsy, big-feeling Democrat from Scranton, support this bigoted male supremacist group. Casey has a wife and four daughters he prohibits from attending the dinner unless they want work as waitresses for low wages to serve men. Lethargic Casey’s only concern about attending the dinner is that he might fall asleep at the table.”
One young adherent snickered.
“We have long hair and beards. Casey has no hair or beard. Biden has expensive hair plugs. We’re tougher, too,” he said.
Mullah Mateen picked his teeth with the sharpened point of a dagger.
“Yes, we are tougher. We all remember what happened when handsome Shameer touched and sniffed my sister’s hair,” he said.
“The way Joe Biden touches and sniffs,” the young fighter said.
“We cut off Shameer’s nose and fed it to stray curs in the street,” Mullah Mateen said.
Then we ate them,” the young fighter said.
“And ISIS calls us liberals!” Mullah Mateen said.
His men nodded as he went on.
“Biden identifies as a Democrat, sensitive and empathetic. He will quickly understand when we say we need America to give us money to feed the poor the way they gave money to the corrupt Afghan elite who stole the cash. Afghan’s traitor president loaded three cars and a helicopter with dollars before taking off for his mansion in Dubai. Now it’s our turn. But we will ingratiate ourselves to the heathen American scum without losing our core principles.”
The fighters became agitated.
One old man screamed.
“Can we still abuse women?”
“Of course,” Mullah Mateen said.
The young fighter wanted more detail.
“We start a Friendly Sons chapter here. We hold a St. Patrick’s dinner and invite President Joe Biden to be our first guest speaker. We dye our turbans and beards green for Paddy’s Day,” Mullah Mateen said.
“Biden will love the Friendly Taliban of St. Patrick,” the young fighter said.
“So much that he might make Kabul a sister city to Scranton,” Mullah Mateen said.
The young fighter beamed.
“St. Patrick reminds me of Osama bin Laden.”
Mullah Mateen could no longer help himself and had to laugh.
“Kiss me, I’m Taliban,” he said.