The U.S. government, military, and intelligence services have provided inaccurate assessments of Al Qaeda’s strength in Afghanistan for more than a decade. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continued that tradition by recent regurgitating that Al Qaeda has fewer than 200 fighters in the country. This estimate, like previous ones, should not be trusted.
American politicians, military leaders, and reporters have been claiming that the Taliban is “tired,” “desperate,” “war weary” and other such statements for the past decade and a half. Yet the Taliban keeps fighting.
The Taliban’s demand of the release of the wife of slain Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent leader Asim Umar is curious, as the group maintains that Al Qaeda does not have a presence in Afghanistan.
Anas Haqqani’s paean to his father is further evidence that he holds an important position in the Taliban.
The U.S.-Taliban withdrawal deal legitimized the Taliban’s refusal to recognize the Afghan government – and more ammo to continue walking the hard line it has drawn in refusing to engage directly in talks with the government.
The Taliban is displaying its military might as Afghan government has agreed to release the final batch of 400 prisoners demanded by the Taliban.
The Taliban has been very clear that it will not compromise on its objective of resurrection of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, and will continue to wage jihad until its objective is realized. Yet U.S., NATO, and Afghan leaders continue to view intra-Afghan talks in which the Afghan government cannot attend as the solution.
The Taliban previously stated that the Abu Ubaidah Ibn Jarrah Training Center was located in Badakhshan province. Members of the Turkistan Islamic Party have trained at a Taliban camp in the province.