“The al-Qaeda terrorist infrastructure we faced in 2001 is long since gone,” said Ken McCallum, head of mi5, Britain’s security service, last year, shortly before Kabul fell. But that infrastructure shows signs of revival, according to a un monitoring team. Al-Qaeda has an “advisory” role with the Taliban, it notes. Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (aqis) has 180-400 members, many of whom recently fought alongside the Taliban.
“We don’t have evidence that there is any nascent international attack capability that is starting to blossom in Afghanistan,” says Edmund Fitton-Brown, the un team’s co-ordinator. But he notes that Mr Haqqani, as interior minister, oversees citizenship, passports and travel. “This could be a longer game plan” that could lead to fresh acts of terrorism by the likes of al-Qaeda anywhere, planned in Afghanistan.
That will depend on whether the Taliban rein it in, fearful of the consequences of another attack mounted from Afghan soil. But what already distinguishes al-Qaeda’s position today, compared with 2001, is the breadth of its activity. In recent years the movement has become remarkably decentralised….
America has now killed both of al-Qaeda’s leaders, the first five heads of IS in Afghanistan, and successive IS leaders in Syria. Yet this relentless decapitation seems to have made little difference https://t.co/0CF0Rs3X0g
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) August 13, 2022