Return of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will prove more durable than IS caliphate
The Talibans victory is also the Al Qaedas victory, and it has global implications, writes Greg Barton
New Delhi: The Talibans victory is also the Al Qaedas victory, and it has global implications, writes Greg Barton, Chair in Global Islamic Politics, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University.
Barton writes: "A Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, a return of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, will be much larger and prove much more durable than the IS caliphate in Syria and Iraq could ever have been. This will be a powerful inspiration for jihadi terrorists everywhere."
Barton said US President Joe Biden and political leaders in Kabul talk optimistically of a fightback to reverse the surge. But Afghan morale has collapsed along with the fabric of national security.
When the US military quietly snuck out of the Bagram Airbase in the early hours of July 2, they did not just turn off the lights, they extinguished what hope that remained.
Whether the Taliban swiftly moves to take Kabul now, or remains content with encircling the capital and other cities, it is clear, Afghanistan has fallen, Barton said.
In April, Saleem Mehsud, a CNN reporter in Pakistan, conducted an interview through intermediaries with two Al Qaeda figures. It underscores the close relationship between the Al Qaeda and the Taliban ï¿½ both the Afghan Taliban and Pakistani Taliban (TTP).
Biden has justified withdrawing from Afghanistan by asserting the US military had accomplished its goal of ousting Al Qaeda from its safe haven in Afghanistan.
The report said but Robert Gates, who served as the Secretary of Defence from 2006ï¿½11, confessed in a recent New York Times op-ed: "There is little doubt the United States made strategic mistakes in Afghanistan. We vastly underestimated the challenge of changing an ancient culture and of nation building in a historically highly decentralised country. We never figured out what to do about the Taliban safe haven in Pakistan.
"Despite ongoing negotiations, I do not believe the Taliban will settle for a partial victory or for participation in a coalition government. They want total control, and they still maintain ties to Al Qaeda."
Gates's comments echo a UN monitoring team report released in June that claimed Al Qaeda is already present across Afghanistan, especially along the border with Pakistan, and is led by Osama Mahmood under the group's Jabhat-al-Nasr wing.
Both Al Qaeda, which is estimated to have 400-600 fighters in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the Taliban are playing the long game. Their patience will have tragic implications for the Afghan people. But that is just the beginning of the problem."
The report said Afghanistan was the birthplace of Al Qaeda in 1988.
The group gave rise to terrorist networks around the world, including Southeast Asia's Jemaah Islamiyah, formed in Afghanistan in 1993, and Al Qaeda in Iraq, which morphed into the Islamic State in Iraq in 2006.