Afghanistan one month after the autumn of Kabul: Taliban again, Haqqanis in energy, and al Qaeda lurks

One month after the autumn of Kabul, Afghanistan is a extra harmful place.

Individuals and Afghan allies are nonetheless stranded, a brand new Taliban “caretaker” authorities is populated by terrorists, and there are worrying predictions al Qaeda’s presence within the nation will proceed to develop.

The U.S. Embassy was deserted in mid-August, and Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport erupted into chaos as Individuals and Afghans tried to flee when the Taliban marched into Kabul, with at the least one Afghan plummeting to his dying after clinging to a U.S. plane. Hundreds of U.S. troops needed to be despatched again into the nation to help with the airlift evacuation and to guard the airport, with the Taliban simply outdoors the perimeter.

Helicopters evacuating personnel out of the U.S. Embassy have been instantly in comparison with notorious photographs from Saigon within the Nineteen Seventies. President Joe Biden had promised that such imagery wouldn’t happen in Afghanistan. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the nation in a helicopter, denying experiences he had taken suitcases full of cash with him.


13 U.S. service members and dozens of Afghan civilians and others have been killed in a suicide bombing perpetrated by ISIS-Okay, the native Islamic State affiliate, outdoors Kabul airport. America claimed a retaliatory strike in Kabul killed a would-be ISIS-Okay automobile bomber, however proof has emerged that the strike, which killed quite a few civilians and kids, might have killed an assist employee, not a doable suicide bomber.

Roughly 100 U.S. residents are nonetheless attempting to flee, in keeping with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who conceded that there are nonetheless “a number of thousand inexperienced card holders” within the nation. Tens of hundreds of Particular Immigrant Visa candidates, interpreters, and Afghan allies have been additionally left behind in Afghanistan.

Non-public efforts to get Individuals and Afghan allies out of Afghanistan proceed .

Because the mud settles a month later, the Taliban, in keeping with Blinken, at the moment are “the de facto authorities of Afghanistan,” forcing the U.S. to barter with them. Jake Sullivan, Biden’s nationwide safety adviser, stated that “it’s laborious to place a label on it” when requested whether or not the Taliban at the moment are a “frenemy,” an adversary, or an enemy.

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Nationwide Safety Council spokeswoman Emily Horne stated earlier this month that the Taliban “have been cooperative in facilitating the departure of Americans and lawful everlasting residents” from Kabul airport and “have proven flexibility” and “been businesslike {and professional} in our dealings with them on this effort.”

Regardless of its “businesslike” demeanor with the U.S., the Taliban’s feared “advantage and vice” police, which enforced its excessive views on Shariah, together with the subjugation of ladies, seems to have returned . The Taliban are reportedly additionally committing atrocities and beheadings in Afghanistan.

In the meantime, they named Mohammad Hassan Akhund, a longtime ally of Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, to function the nation’s performing prime minister. Akhund, who was the Taliban’s international minister earlier than the U.S. invasion in 2001, advised the United Nations in 1999 that “we are going to by no means quit Osama [bin Laden] at any worth.”

Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the Taliban, was appointed to be Akhund’s deputy. Baradar, the top of the Taliban’s political workplace in Doha, Qatar, was free of Pakistan in 2018 and is probably the most outstanding of hundreds of Taliban prisoners freed at America’s request in its efforts to advertise failed peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan authorities.

A lot of members of the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani community additionally obtained key high positions, together with chief Sirajuddin Haqqani being picked to be the Taliban’s performing inside minister. Haqqani, the “deputy emir” of the Taliban, has been designated a terrorist by the U.S. and has a $10 million reward for his arrest hanging over his head. The State Division insists that the Haqqani community and the Taliban are “separate entities,” however Anas Haqqani, Sirajuddin Haqqani’s brother, bluntly stated this month: “We’re the Taliban.”

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Hibatullah Akhundzada, thought-about the “emir” of Afghanistan by the Taliban, is a robust al Qaeda ally and proud father of a suicide bomber often called the “commander of the trustworthy.” Present al Qaeda chief Ayman Zawahiri reportedly swore allegiance to him because the “emir of the believers” in 2016.

4 of the so-called Taliban 5 have been additionally named to key roles within the Taliban’s new “caretaker” authorities after the militant leaders have been launched by the Obama administration from detention at Guantanamo Bay in a prisoner alternate for U.S. Military deserter Bowe Bergdahl.

A small resistance to Taliban rule is current. Organized in Afghanistan’s northeast Panjshir Valley by deposed Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh, the U.S. has declined to difficulty any public indicators of help for the group.

Al Qaeda, in the meantime, lurks within the shadows. The Taliban gave al Qaeda secure haven in Afghanistan for years earlier than the 9/11 terrorist assaults and continued to guard bin Laden and al Qaeda after the U.S. invasion in late 2001. The Taliban and al Qaeda fought alongside one another within the now-successful insurgency in opposition to the U.S. in Afghanistan, the place greater than 2,400 U.S. service members have been killed . The Taliban’s high spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, falsely claimed there’s “no proof” bin Laden was behind 9/11 simply forward of the twentieth anniversary of the assaults.

Intelligence officers stated this week that al Qaeda may grow to be a menace to the U.S. homeland inside a yr, utilizing Afghanistan as a base as soon as once more.

Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, the director of the Protection Intelligence Company, stated that “the present evaluation, in all probability conservatively, is one to 2 years for al Qaeda to construct some functionality to at the least threaten the homeland.”

Biden falsely contended in late August that al Qaeda was “gone” from Afghanistan.

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