If the Taliban is as close to al Qaeda as that group claims, and the UN assesses, then AQ’s 2,000-word communication with CNN implies that rather being ceasefire partners with the US, the Taliban is as close to abetting al Qaeda in war against America as it ever was. Writes Robert Spencer
There is no doubt that whenever we leave Afghanistan, if we ever actually do, al-Qaeda and the Taliban will claim victory. So we could stay there forever in order to try to prevent that, or we could reconfigure our strategy with a focus on containment and making sure they can’t export their jihad out of Afghanistan again. With wide-open borders, that’s going to be tough.
Meanwhile, is CNN publishing this article in order to try to goad Biden’s handlers into staying in Afghanistan even longer, in a futile attempt to save face? It probably wouldn’t be too difficult to persuade them.
Also, there is no doubt that the useless waste of American resources in Afghanistan has sapped the strength of the American economy, with absolutely nothing to show for all the lives lost and trillions wasted.
“Al Qaeda promises ‘war on all fronts’ against America as Biden pulls out of Afghanistan,” by Nic Robertson and Saleem Mehsud, CNN, April 30, 2021:
…America’s “war on terror” is about to enter a new phase as President Joe Biden prepares to withdraw all US forces from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of 9/11, but now al Qaeda claims its war with America is far from over.
In an exclusive interview with CNN conducted through intermediaries, two al Qaeda operatives tell CNN that “war against the US will be continuing on all other fronts unless they are expelled from the rest of the Islamic world.”
In the past al Qaeda has rarely responded to questions, choosing instead to hide behind its own self-serving propaganda, dodging even the most distant scrutiny. It’s unclear why the group has chosen to do so now.
Terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank, editor-in-chief of West Point’s CTC Sentinel, who reviewed al Qaeda’s answers, says it is possible “they feel buoyed by the Biden administration’s decision to pull out troops from Afghanistan, but they may also be seeking to deflect attention from the many recent losses.”…
In its response to CNN, two members of al Qaeda’s subcontinent broadcast branch heap praise on the Taliban for keeping the fight against America alive. “Thanks to Afghans for the protection of comrades-in-arms, many such jihadi fronts have been successfully operating in different parts of the Islamic world for a long time,” the spokesperson says….
Somewhat ambiguously, al Qaeda also claims no interest in using Afghanistan itself as a launch pad for future attacks because it no longer needs it. “It did not need Afghanistan and there is no such intention in the future,” the group says. However, as Cruickshank points out, “a statement of intent from an anonymous operative is hardly binding on the group.”
Terror group eclipsed by ISIS
In its reply to CNN al Qaeda declares Afghanistan its victory. “The Americans are now defeated,” and draw a parallel to the Soviet Union’s withdrawal three decades ago from the country and its subsequent collapse: “The US war in Afghanistan played key role in hitting US economy.”
That line echoes the rhetoric of bin Laden himself, who promoted the oversimplified idea that the Soviets bankrupted themselves in Afghanistan. The cost of the US wars on terror has reached into the trillions, but the 9/11 attacks did not bring on US economic collapse. Al Qaeda admits the toll the war has taken on them, saying it sent “most” al Qaeda central fighters to Syria where “some of them have been martyred in recent years.”…
In recent years ISIS’s atrocities and attacks it inspired in Europe have all but eclipsed al Qaeda. But the latter presents this as a “tactical silence,” claiming it is not “broken” and is instead “fighting a long war” with “different stages.”…
Today al Qaeda appears proud of its influence over the TTP. “Now the organization of Pakistani Taliban and their leadership not only moving forward in the light of Sharia but also making better decisions based on past experiences and recent successes have been made possible by the same unity and adherence to Sharia and Wisdom.”…
If the Taliban is as close to al Qaeda as that group claims, and the UN assesses, then AQ’s 2,000-word communication with CNN implies that rather being ceasefire partners with the US, the Taliban is as close to abetting al Qaeda in war against America as it ever was.
Al Qaeda is making clear the country that was once its base to plan the deadliest-ever attack on American soil is free for it to use again. “The United States is not a problem for our Afghan brothers, but due to the sacrifices in the Afghan war, the Americans are now defeated. Whether Republicans or Democrats — both have made final decision to pull out from the Afghan war.”
If the Taliban keeps its promises to Biden, then all this is just al Qaeda propaganda, but if it doesn’t, all bets about the future threat it poses are off.