By Zia Nezam
The US came to Afghanistan after losing nearly 3000 people in 9/11 attacks carried out by al Qaeda terrorists. The main objectives of the US entry in Afghanistan: to rid it of the al Qaeda scourge, prevent further attacks on US soil, then leave Afghanistan. Has the US achieved these goals?
Today al Qaeda is relatively weak, but apparently, remains unified; showing no signs of moderation, and America remains the “First Enemy” of this terrorist organization. Al Qaeda seems to have consolidated its power in several developing countries in west central and northern Africaand has active bases in Somalia. Sources alleges that it is reorganizing. In addition, it is known that al Qaeda is active with training camps in eastern Afghanistan, which reportedly have hundreds of operatives. It still recruits and attracts foreign fighters.
The US government and the Taliban signed an accord on February 29, 2020; a hard-negotiated condition of this peace deal is that the Taliban must prevent the use of Afghan territory by any group that seeks to endanger the security of the United States and coalition allies. The US has been right to pressure the Taliban sever ties and renounce any relationship with the al Qaeda network.
Al Qaeda’s ambition is to spread its ideology globally. Its intention remains to “first dislodge the ‘enemy’ from Kabul, then to conquer London and Washington.” A poem accompanying a propaganda video clip states this violent goal. A UN Security Council report recently stated, “Taliban appears to have strengthened their relationship with al Qaeda rather than the opposite.” These organizations regularly have high-level meetings. Moreover, the Haqqani network has strengthened ties and cooperation with al Qaeda. Thus, the UN Security Council report indicates that so far the Taliban has failed to honor the principal negotiated term of the peace agreement.
Astute observers know the Taliban, al Qaeda, and our neighboring country; each has its objective. For the Taliban, it is the establishment of an Islamic emirate; for al Qaeda, global jihad; and for our neighboring country, maintain their strategic depth. If an emirate were ever created, to a large degree the other objectives would be fulfilled.
As we know the two groups of militants, al Qaeda and the Haqqani have the support of our neighboring country, where they have safe haven. This will make it very difficult for Taliban to sever ties with the different, loosely coordinated elements. However, for the Taliban to secure the exit of US and coalition forces, the Taliban needs to carry out this essential peace deal promise. If one Taliban faction cuts ties with al Qaeda but the Haqqani network does not, then the US-Taliban peace deal is senseless.
The strongest desire of the Afghan people – after 40 years of war – is peace without Taliban rule. We seek an honorable, lasting peace that preserves our authentic democratic achievements and social evolution into modernity.