The Taliban describes al Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the US as a “heavy slap on their dark faces,” claiming it “was the consequence of their interventionist policies and not our doing.” Additionally, the Taliban says it will not talk to the Afghan government, will fight Afghan security forces to the end, rejects the presence of foreign forces on Afghan soil, and calls western culture uncivilized.
The U.S. military and NATO have stopped producing an assessment that was considered key for measuring progress against the jihadist insurgency in Afghanistan, according to a report released on April 30 by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). The metric, which tracked district stability, was one of the “most widely cited Afghan security […]
Zalmay Khalilzad, the Trump administration’s top envoy for talks with the Taliban, claims that he is already satisfied with the Taliban’s counterterrorism assurances. But the Taliban’s close relationship with al Qaeda stretches from the 1990s until today. The Taliban should be required to publicly renounce al Qaeda in any final deal with the US. Even then, the break would need to be verified.
According to the UN’s Jan. 2019 assessment, al Qaeda’s relationship with the Taliban is “long-standing” and “strong.” And al Qaeda “continues to see Afghanistan as a safe haven for its leadership.” The UN estimates that the Islamic State has several thousand fighters in Afghanistan as well.
The Taliban claims it does “not allow anyone to use the soil of Afghanistan against other countries including neighboring countries.” Some have uncritically accepted this claim. But it is obviously false.
President Trump’s decision to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan will have consequences. The Taliban and al Qaeda will declare victory, while the US will find it harder to hunt terrorists throughout the region.
The Taliban has a released a series of statements threatening the Afghan elections this week. The statements are attributed to three different commissions within the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which operates as a shadow government throughout much of the country.
A newly released interrogation report shows that Qayis al-Khazali identified Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Abu Mustafa al-Sheibani as the two individuals Iran trusted “the most with attempting to implement the Iranian agenda in Iraq.” The pair went from being marginal players shortly after the US-led invasion in 2003 to leading the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, one of most powerful and influential military organizations in Iraq.