The Taliban are not usually known for their sense of humor, but when it comes to the troubles of their enemies it seems they can see the lighter side.
A spokesman for the Islamic fundamentalist group this week mocked David Petraeus’ extra-marital affair which led to his resignation as director of the CIA, describing him as a “bastard”.
He added that David Petraeus would have been executed for his adultery under a Taliban regime, and blamed America’s “free sex society” for his infidelity.
David Petraeus was commander of the Western forces in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011, leading the effort to prevent the Taliban returning to power.
He joined the CIA last year, but suddenly resigned last week after an FBI investigation revealed he had been cheating on his wife with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.
A Taliban official showed unusual levity when asked about the affair Agence France-Presse, bursting out laughing during an interview in Pakistan.
“What a bastard!”, the official said.
“But all Americans are the same, it’s nothing new.”
While David Petraeus lost his job over the ongoing scandal, which has also roped in his successor in Afghanistan, General John Allen, the consequences could have been much worse if he lived under a regime controlled by the Taliban.
The anonymous official pointed out that adultery is a capital offence under the laws of the Pashtun people as well as under Islamic sharia law.
“From a Pashtun point of view, Petraeus should be shot by relatives from his mistress’ family,” he said.
“From a sharia point of view, he should be stoned to death.”
David Petraeus may have sacrificed his career and his reputation, but under U.S. law he is not expected to face any criminal charges.
The Taliban official said the former general’s indiscretion was unsurprising, given the permissiveness of Western societies.
“It’s quite normal for Americans and Western people to behave like this,” he told AFP.
“They live in free sex societies where nobody cares about this sort of thing, so what do you expect?”
While radical Islamists may believe that “nobody cares” about sex scandals in the U.S., those who have been dragged in to the Petraeus affair may not feel the same way.
As well as David Petraeus and John Allen, Paula Broadwell and Jill Kelley, a Florida socialite who uncovered the cheating after being sent threatening emails by Broadwell, have found themselves at the centre of a media storm since the scandal first hit last Friday.