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ISIS and al-Qaeda have reemerged in Afghanistan; UK ex-envoy

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KABUL – Former Britain’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Sir Laurie Bristow, has said that ISIS and al-Qaeda have reemerged in Afghanistan following a “foreign policy failure”, a devastating blow to the Taliban who are marking the second anniversary of their rule after western troops’ withdrawal in 2021.

Bristow, who served as Britain’s ambassador to Afghanistan during the resurgence of the Taliban, has warned that Afghanistan could once again become a playground for extremists to plot attacks on the West. Admitting that failing to build an Afghanistan was “a foreign policy failure”, he said that Afghanistan had faced no shortage of resources, but “what they didn’t produce was a state that was capable of standing on its own two feet”.

He highlighted the West’s inability to establish a self-sustaining Afghan state as a significant issue, emphasizing the lack of early engagement in creating a political settlement that could have ensured a safe troop withdrawal.

He said Afghanistan now faces a grave humanitarian crisis and heightened security risks, with both al-Qaeda and the Islamic State reestablishing their presence.

The ex-envoy also feared for the future of women and girls under Taliban rule. “What we have seen over the last two years has, I think, put to rest any idea that the Taliban as a movement when in power would take a more modern and more reformist approach to governing the country; they haven’t,” he said.

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