Despite the breathtaking violence and brutality that have become watchwords when discussing the Islamic State, there are still those who profess themselves shocked by what U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry decries as nothing short of genocide. Notably former Taliban fighters.
Taliban fighters who fell prey to the I.S. siren call in Afghanistan are now fleeing for their lives, declaring the senseless cruelty they have witnessed — the drownings, the beheadings, the burning alive of caged “infidels” — too much even for their jaundiced psyches.
CNN chatted with two such ex-Taliban, ex-I.S. adherents, one of whom, known only as Zaitoun, pinpointed the exact moment he realized that hitching up had been a big mistake:
“I remember when they beheaded seven people in the bazaar, including government workers and Pakistani Taliban. I saw the five-meter piece of wood they did it on, covered in blood. They just threw the bodies away, unburied. It was very un-Islamic.”
This sudden desperation to get out is not reserved just for those on the front line. NBCNews reports that more than a handful of longtime I.S. commanders, citing the same mounting atrocities, have joined their underlings in flight.
While it is difficult to conceive of an instance in which joining or rejoining the Taliban would be the preferable option, it is safe to say that, in this case, it appears to be the lesser of two evils by several orders of magnitude.