KABUL – The US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul has strongly criticized President Biden’s recent statements regarding al Qaeda, describing them as “divorced from reality.” McCaul’s response comes in light of Biden’s assertion that al Qaeda no longer exists in Afghanistan and that the U.S. is receiving assistance from the Taliban.
McCaul’s criticism is supported by an independent report from the United Nations, which reveals that the Taliban provides regular financial support to al Qaeda, referred to as “welfare payments,” which are utilized to pay fighters. Furthermore, the report highlights that the Taliban’s Ministry of Defense openly employs al Qaeda training manuals and receives instructions from the terrorist organization. Additionally, al Qaeda has established numerous training camps across Afghanistan, including one dedicated to training suicide bombers.
Contrary to President Biden’s claims, the UN report concludes that the relationship between the Taliban and al Qaeda remains close and symbiotic, with al Qaeda considering Taliban-controlled Afghanistan a safe haven. Chairman McCaul finds it entirely unrealistic for President Biden to assert that al Qaeda is no longer operating in Afghanistan or that the Taliban has transformed into a regional partner for national security. He points out that al Qaeda leader Al Zawahiri was discovered living comfortably in Kabul, in a residence owned by a senior Taliban official. Furthermore, when the U.S. eliminated the al Qaeda leader, the Taliban disowned the strike. Both the UN and top U.S. generals consistently report on the increasing capabilities of al Qaeda, which not only go unchecked by the Taliban but are facilitated through financial aid and security cooperation. McCaul interprets President Biden’s remarks as an attempt to whitewash the longstanding ties between the Taliban and al Qaeda, and perhaps even a move towards recognizing the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. He pledges to use all his power to oppose such a course of action.