The New York Times was heavily criticized after it published an op-ed written by Sirajuddin Haqqani — the deputy leader of the Taliban.
In the piece titled “What We, the Taliban, Want,” Haqqani discusses a proposed peace deal between the United States and the Taliban.
However, the Times was blasted by reporters — including its senior Afghanistan correspondent — and politicians for running an op-ed from a wanted terrorist, and not providing more information about Haqqani.
“The piece by Siraj Haqqani in [New York Times opinion] – which’s independent of our news operations & judgment – omits the most fundamental fact: that Siraj is no Taliban peace-maker as he paints himself, that he’s behind some of most ruthless attacks of this war with many civilian lives lost.”
The piece by Siraj Haqqani in @nytopinion – which's independent of our news operations & judgment – omits the most fundamental fact: that Siraj is no Taliban peace-maker as he paints himself, that he's behind some of most ruthless attacks of this war with many civilian lives lost— Mujib Mashal (@MujMash) February 20, 2020
And to know what our @nytimes news reporting has on Siraj Haqqqani, and what the Haqqani Network is accused of over the years, just read our years and years of reporting. Some samples:https://t.co/CW0k9I7Il1https://t.co/DcTDVtro8zhttps://t.co/p1MURtNXNF https://t.co/jktbWgmHCG— Mujib Mashal (@MujMash) February 20, 2020
I know people have strong views on this. Sorry, I can't answer. But, as the bottom of the piece says, our Opinion editors appreciate hearing from, and are "committed to publishing a diversity of letters". So feel free to write to them: [email protected] https://t.co/jktbWgmHCG— Mujib Mashal (@MujMash) February 20, 2020
Remember: NYT wouldn’t take an oped from John McCain, but they’ll take it from commanders of the Taliban, Hamas and others. https://t.co/tSIN2iW4Fl— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) February 20, 2020
The media called al-Baghdadi an austere religious scholar & Soleimani a revered leader.— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) February 21, 2020
Then just when you think they can’t sink any lower…
The NY Times publishes an op-ed by a wanted Taliban leader.
The media treats terrorists better than @realDonaldTrump. Think about that. pic.twitter.com/9GXcEIUhro
The Haqqani and Taliban are responsible for the death of dozens of American soldiers and atrocities against Afghan civilians.@nytimes should be ashamed of itself for enabling this blatant propaganda from a designated global terrorist, all in the name of "diverse reviews." https://t.co/gahn98kcME— Rep. Michael Waltz (@RepMichaelWaltz) February 20, 2020
I have some questions for @nytimes since they decided to give the Taliban a forum to spew garbage, like, “We did not choose our war…We were forced to defend ourselves.”— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) February 20, 2020
1. Remember 9/11?
2. The author is a designated global terrorist. Did you pay him for this piece?
And a few years after 9/11, The NY Times let’s the Taliban write an OpEd. Good job. https://t.co/TOtWJ75u87— Robert J. O'Neill (@mchooyah) February 20, 2020
Appalled @nytimes has given leader of the Haqqani network and leader in Taliban room in their editorial pages to espouse his views. Haqqani network is responsible for 1000s of Americans killed in Afghanistan and provides shelter to al Qaeda operatives… they sheltered Bin Laden. pic.twitter.com/fk8ONSqzhK— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) February 20, 2020
S’okay. NBD. The @nytimes just published an op-ed by the head of the Haqqani Network, a designated terrorist with a $10 million reward on offer. Doesn’t mention his al-Qaeda ties. This is fine. https://t.co/EsAUoxEyHD— Rachael Larimore (@RachaelBL) February 20, 2020
In a statement, the Times defended the decision to run the op-ed, “We know firsthand how dangerous and destructive the Taliban is,” Eileen Murphy, senior vice president of communications wrote.
“But, our mission at Times Opinion is to tackle big ideas from a range of newsworthy viewpoints. We’ve actively solicited voices from all sides of the Afghanistan conflict, the government, the Taliban and from citizens,” the statement continued.
Additionally, Murphy said that Haqqani’s perspective is “relevant at this particular moment” because he is involved in peace negotiations. The Taliban is expected to sign a peace deal on February 29.