Al Qaeda has been “strategically patient” and successfully “played the long game” in Afghanistan by its shut relationship with the Taliban and Haqqani community, in line with two key worldwide safety officials from the FBI and the United Nations.
Charles Spencer, the assistant director of the FBI’s worldwide operations division, and Edmund Fitton-Brown, coordinator of the UN’s analytical help and sanctions monitoring crew in regards to the Islamic State, al Qaeda, and the Taliban, made their feedback about al Qaeda’s resilience throughout an interview with U.S. journalist Peter Bergen on the Soufan Center’s Global Security Forum on Tuesday.
“I believe they’re good. They played the lengthy sport. They did play the lengthy sport, I believe, figuring out — I imply, if you happen to go all the best way again to the ‘90s, I mean, bin Laden pledged allegiance to the Taliban, and I think the Taliban has been a support of al Qaeda for all this time,” Spencer said. “And they knew if the Taliban came back in, I believe those allegiances, I believe those understandings will still be there. I think externally, whether the Taliban says it will embrace it or not, I think the underlying, the long-standing relationship they’ve had, will carry by.”
He added that al Qaeda “have made steady gains coming back, but I think they are gaining strength, and I think this [Taliban takeover] will reinvigorate them to a significant amount.”
Fitton-Brown had similar thoughts, saying, “I would characterize them as having been strategically patient over the years, which was not always a good look compared to the rapid expansion and the sort of spectacular successes that ISIL had for a while, but I think that that looks more like a source of strength now in the sense that al Qaeda has survived, its brand has survived, and it remains embedded in a number of conflict zones around the world, which has given it a locus and the opportunity to train and sustain its popularity.”
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A number of members of the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network have received top positions in the Taliban’s “caretaker” government, including leader Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is now acting interior minister. Haqqani, who is also the “deputy emir” of the Taliban, “presently leads the day-to-day actions of the Haqqani Network,” according to the State Department’s website. Haqqani has been designated as a terrorist by the United States, and the State Department’s Reward for Justice program is offering $10 million for his arrest.
The U.N. official was asked about Sirajuddin’s role in the new Taliban government, and Fitton-Brown said he is “assessed to be a member of the broader al Qaeda management.”
“Sirajuddin Haqqani embodies the organic link between the Taliban and al Qaeda, and his appointment into that role leads us to believe that al Qaeda has a secure safe haven in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future,” he added.
The State Department insisted simply final month that it believes the Taliban and the Haqqani community are “distinct” teams. Anas Haqqani, Sirajuddin’s brother, mentioned final month, “We are the Taliban.”
Bergen described the inside minister position because the equal of somebody working each the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI and requested Spencer what he manufactured from Sirajuddin’s key place.
“I think it’s going to be interesting how the United States government interacts with the new government of Afghanistan based on that, because so many members of the government are from the Taliban or from al Qaeda or have this background,” Spencer mentioned. “How are we going to get around that? Because here you have members of a designated terrorist organization that are now essentially running a government.”
Hibatullah Akhundzada, thought-about the “emir” of Afghanistan by the Taliban, is a powerful al Qaeda ally. Current al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri reportedly swore allegiance to Akhundzada because the “emir of the believers” in 2016.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley warned final month, “The Taliban was and remains a terrorist organization and they still have not broken ties with al Qaeda.”
“Al Qaeda is still in Afghanistan,” Milley added. “I believe they have aspirations to reconstitute, and if they develop the capability, I believe they have aspirations to strike … I think al Qaeda is at war with the United States still.”
Intelligence officials from the DIA and CIA mentioned final month that al Qaeda might grow to be a menace to the U.S. homeland inside a yr, utilizing Afghanistan as a base as soon as once more.
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Matthew Pottinger, a deputy nationwide safety adviser for former President Donald Trump, additionally spoke on the discussion board Tuesday.
“I’m deeply skeptical that the Taliban would ever live up to its agreement to sever ties with al Qaeda,” Pottinger mentioned. “I mean, they didn’t sever ties with them right after 9/11, which cost them 20 years of time in Afghanistan. They certainly didn’t sever their ties during these 20 years that we were at war against them.”
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Tags: News, al Qaeda, Afghanistan, Taliban
Original Author: Jerry Dunleavy
Original Location: Al Qaeda successfully played ‘long game’ in Afghanistan, FBI and UN officials say