After nearly two decades of abysmal assessments from U.S. intelligence officials and policy makers on Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, the latest claims that the terror group is “at its historical nadir” should be taken with more than a grain of salt.
The Afghan people continue to suffer as the Taliban consolidates its power. Meanwhile, the Taliban’s support for Al Qaeda, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and a number of regional terror groups grows.
The Afghan Taliban continues to claim that there are no foreign terror groups operating inside their country, despite all evidence to the contrary. The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan has an extensive footprint in Afghanistan.
“I said Al Qaeda would not be there,” President Biden said about Afghanistan. “I said we’d get help from the Taliban… I was right.” Except Al Qaeda is indeed in Afghanistan and is receiving support from the Taliban.
The Afghan Taliban has vehemently objected to the lest UN report, as it punches gaping holes into the Taliban’s narrative that it does not shelter and support foreign terror groups. However, the presence of the TTP, Al Qaeda and a host of other terror groups in Afghanistan is undeniable.
Bill welcomes back to the show Generation Jihad regular Ambassador Edmund Fitton-Brown. Now a member of the Counter Extremism Project’s advisory board, Edmund previously served as the UK’s Ambassador to Yemen and later as the coordinator of the U.N. Security Council’s Sanctions Monitoring Team.
Edmund’s former team at the U.N. just released its latest report on Afghanistan which details (among other troubling issues) just how embedded al Qaeda is in Afghanistan’s Taliban government.
Bill and Edmund dissect the report’s findings.
Al Qaeda has established training camps in five Afghan provinces, as well as safe houses and a media center. The Taliban-Al Qaeda relationship is strong. Al Qaeda most certainly has not declined, nor has it been decimated or defeated.
Three prominent dual hatted Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders serve in key positions within the Taliban establishment, according to the United Nationals Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team. The Taliban is providing Al Qaeda with key support, including “welfare payments” and passports.
The Taliban has made this false statement for decades, even prior to 9/11. After al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri was killed in Kabul, Taliban promises like this should be dismissed out of hand. Foreign terror groups continue to operate in Afghanistan to this day.
FDD’s Long War Journal responds to the former ambassador’s assertion that assessments of Afghanistan once again becoming a terrorist safe haven are false.
Host Bill Roggio and (now official) co-host Caleb Weiss are joined by former coordinator of the UN Security Council Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring team Edmund Fitton-Brown to discuss findings in the latest UN report on the Islamic State and al Qaeda.
The U.S. captured al Qaeda key commander Abu Ikhlas al Masri in 2010. He was freed from Bagram prison after the Taliban takeover in 2021, and is thought to have reformed an Al Qaeda unit.
Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a faction of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, claimed credit for the deadly attack. The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan denied involvement, while it and the Afghan Taliban cynically claimed it would never strike a mosque.
One of the co-leaders of the deadly Kabul Attack Network bragged about his role in deadly attacks in the Afghan capital. The Taliban commander, known as Taj Mir Jawad, is the Taliban’s deputy minister of intelligence.
All four terrorists, including the emir of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent and the deputy emir of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, are based in Afghanistan.
In recent weeks, a Taliban delegation led by Zabihullah Mujahir visited Turkey to meet with various officials including senior Hamas members.
Mohammad Nabi Omari was one of the notorious “Gitmo Five” detainees who were freed in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl. His appointment highlights Sirajuddin’s consolidation of power in Afghanistan’s interior ministry.
The Taliban released Mark Frerichs, an American veteran who has been held hostage since early 2020, in exchange for Haji Bashir Noorzai, a convicted Taliban drug kingpin who was serving a life sentence for smuggling heroin into the United States.
Friend of the show LTG (Ret.) H.R. McMaster joins Bill once again to discuss America’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan one year ago. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary — including an ongoing close relationship with al Qaeda, the United States designated the Taliban as “partners in peace” and handed the terrorist group keys to a state apparatus. Afghanistan fell and became the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. But it didn’t have to.
One year after America’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, resistance to the Taliban’s brutal regime has organized in northern Afghanistan and is beginning to challenge the Taliban’s primacy. FDD’s Long War Journal is mapping the resistance activities.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, who at the time was the operational commander of the Haqqani Network, was joined by his brother Badruddin Haqqani, Qari Zakir, the Taliban’s chief of suicide bombers, Mullah Sangeen Zadran, a dangerous Haqqani leader, and Ghani Muhammad, an Al Qaeda-linked military commander based in Pakistan, in the video. They give a send off to the suicide assault team that attacked Forward Operating Base Fenty on Nov. 12, 2010.
Zakir’s appointment to lead the fight against the National Resistance Front (NRF) in Panjshir and the district of Andarab in the neighboring province of Baghlan is a clear indication that the NRF is challenging the Taliban’s primacy in central and northern Afghanistan. Zakir is a capable military commander.
In this episode, Bill interviews John Batchelor, host of CBS Eye on the World with John Batchelor. Bill has been a regular on John’s radio show for more than a decade and considers him a mentor and friend. They discuss the Long War and how September 11, 2001 shaped both of their careers.
Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan leader Omar Khalid Khurasani, who is believed to have given sanctuary to Ayman al Zawahiri in the past, has called for global jihad, attacks on the US, and the establishment of the caliphate, and celebrated the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. He is reported to have been killed in a district in Afghansitan that has hosted an Al Qaeda training camp in the past.
Edmund Fitton-Brown — outgoing coordinator of the UN Security Council Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring team and longtime friend of the show — joins Bill to discuss the killing of Al Qaeda emir Ayman Zawahiri, who died in a U.S. drone strike last Sunday.
Zawahiri’s death is being hailed as a counterterrorism success, but that masks the fact Afghanistan has become a safe haven for top Al Qaeda leaders.
In this episode, Bill flies solo and expands upon his recent article in FDD’s Long War Journal, “Ayman al Zawahiri is alive; Taliban and Al Qaeda ‘remain close,’ UN reports,” noting that reports today (August 1, 2022) of Zawahiri’s death inside of Afghanistan underscore the country’s role as a safe-haven for Al Qaeda.
Zawahiri lives. The Taliban-Al Qaeda alliance remains strong. The leaders of Al Qaeda’s branches in North and East Africa have assumed roles in Al Qaeda’s line of succession.
This policy both limits the effectiveness of anti-Taliban resistance and reduces the U.S. military and intelligence communities’ ability to monitor and strike Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and other regional and global terror groups based in Afghanistan.
The Taliban has made this false statement for decades, even prior to 9/11. And yet foreign terror groups continue to operate in Afghanistan to this day.