In a few weeks, the Taliban will most likely control Afghanistan again, but how real is the risk that the country will once again become a base for international terrorism? Abdul Sayed’s opinion
In 8 days, the Taliban took control of 16 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces and 18 of its provincial capitals – and the tally is set to rise. The United States will send three infantry battalions to facilitate the Americans’ exit from the country. The Pentagon is thinking above all of the diplomatic personnel, already protected by 650 Marines, who will perhaps be moved to work in a special warehouse inside the Kabul international airport. Italy is evaluating with the COFS how to secure the embassy staff – topic at the center of a phone call between the premier Mario Draghi and the minister Luigi Di Maio. Downing Street held an emergency meeting on the crisis, as did the representatives of NATO member countries at Shape.
Britain said it was ready to backtrack if the Taliban were to “go back to hosting al Qaeda and thus become a threat to the West,” said the British Defense Minister. Ben Wallace, adding that London intends to leave “all options open”. The point no longer seems to be the I know, but if anything the When the country will return to the control of the Taliban. And the doubt among the international chancelleries has already passed over: is it possible that Afghanistan will become an al Qaeda sanctuary again? Twenty years after the American invasion (and then NATO) linked to the protection that the Taliban of Mullah Omar provided the group of Osama bin Laden, are we back to zero point?
Abdul Sayed |, an independent researcher on jihadism and the politics and security of the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, points out a Formiche.net that despite all US pressure, the Taliban have not promised that they will not protect al Qaeda or allied groups under their rule in Afghanistan in the future. “In recent leadership statements – continues Sayed – the Taliban have not promised the United States to start any war against al-Qaeda or to take them out of the country and, according to the Taliban, their only promise to Washington is that they will not allow anyone to use Afghan soil to plan attacks on the United States or its allies in the future ”.
However, this does not mean that Afghanistan will once again be an al-Qaeda sanctuary as it was before 9/11. “The Qaedists are aware of the Taliban’s commitments in the Doha agreement with the United States – adds the expert – and are following the instructions of the Taliban on how to live in Afghanistan. The group is not even capable of planning transnational attacks from Afghanistan. These attacks were a means to al Qaeda’s goals and not in themselves the ultimate goal. So, al Qaeda will live in Afghanistan, but there are very rare chances that it will plan another 9/11 from here in the future ”.
In addition to American and European concerns, China sees as a direct problem the risk of an osmosis between the jihadist instances of the upcoming Taliban Islamic Emirate with the territory of Xinjiang, where Beijing wants to control the Muslim minority with particular attention to the dynamics of radicalization. Russia has also been underlining for weeks that the greatest risk is the proliferation of the Wilayah Khorasan of the Islamic State which moves in Central Asia but which is based in Afghanistan – according to Russian estimates a few years ago it can count on 10 thousand fighters, partly removed from Qaedists, partly to the Taliban.
“The ISKP case (acronym of the Islamic State of Khorasan, ed) is different from al-Qaeda. He is the first enemy of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Taliban do not and will not show mercy for the group. Furthermore, several factors suggest that the ISKP has the potential to create challenges for the Taliban in the future, ”says Sayed. In the past, Afghanistan had already witnessed this sort of competition within the jihadist world.