(NY Times Op-ed) Asfandyar Mir–America’s Gross Miscalculation of the Taliban

…there is no escaping the fact that Al Qaeda continues to fester under the Taliban. This means that the U.S.-Taliban engagement of the past several years has failed. That engagement was predicated on the belief that the Taliban — which hosted Bin Laden before Sept. 11 — would change their ways, seek better relations with the world and prevent Afghanistan from becoming a terrorist safe haven. Al-Zawahri’s sanctuary in Kabul makes clear that America can’t rely on the Taliban’s word.

Unsurprisingly, the Taliban see the targeting of al-Zawahri in Kabul as a blow to their honor and a violation of Afghan sovereignty and the U.S.-Taliban agreement of 2020, and they could respond by stepping up support to Al Qaeda and allied terrorist groups in Afghanistan. (The U.S. government says the Taliban have violated tenets of the agreement by hosting Al-Zawahri.)

Al-Zawahri’s successful targeting in Kabul doesn’t mean that the threat is now over. If anything, it demonstrates that Al Qaeda is resurfacing in Afghanistan and that despite sanctions, the Taliban are comfortable, secure and enabling threats against the region and the Western world.

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Posted in Afghanistan, America/U.S.A., Foreign Relations, Politics in General, War in Afghanistan