Biden runs the risk of “missing out” in Afghanistan: the US leaves, al-Qaeda remains

Details of a little-known US Air Force raid in October against a high-ranking al-Qaeda commander (a Russian-banned terrorist organization – Ed.) Husam Abd al-Rauf in the Taliban-controlled Kunsaf settlement in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province showed that al-Qaeda continues to thrive in Afghanistan is under the protection of the Taliban (banned in Russia – Ed.) And remains connected with its other franchises. around the world, according to reports provided by Afghan intelligence officials to CNN.

Biden runs the risk of "missing out" in Afghanistan: the US leaves, al-Qaeda remains

According to one Afghan official, al-Qaeda communications between Afghanistan and Syria were recorded during the operation against Husama Abd al-Rauf. Within ten days, there followed two rare US attacks on al-Qaeda militants in Syria’s Idlib province, although Pentagon officials downplayed any link between the two operations.

Previously undisclosed details of the raid in Ghazni province provide an indication of how close al-Qaeda’s ties to the Taliban are, according to a senior Afghan intelligence official in an interview with CNN.

“This is now much deeper than we think,” said the channel’s source. – Now it is not only an ideological connection, it is also family ties. There are mixed marriages. And it is impossible for the Taliban to stop and prevent Al Qaeda from doing anything outside of Afghanistan. 

On October 15 and 22, 2020, American drones hit two targets in Syria, striking one of the local al-Qaeda cells. Few details were released about the first strike, while seven Syrian al-Qaedi warlords were killed during the second, CNN reported today, May 28, according to a US Armed Forces statement released at the time.

However, the US military downplayed the link between the raid against al-Rauf in central Afghanistan, intercepted communications and the sudden mass of attacks on al-Qaeda in Syria. Lt. Col. Karen Roxberry, a spokeswoman for the US Central Command (CENTCOM, covering the Middle East), said she was “unaware of the link” between the Afghan raid and strikes in Syrian Idlib.

According to Afghan sources CNN, the Taliban provided safe haven to al-Qaeda “in exchange for expertise in fundraising and bomb-making.” According to the official, the terrorists “collect money from different parts of the world and transfer it to the Taliban.”

“They train suicide bombers and help them think strategically. In turn, the Taliban provide them with shelter”, – he explained.

This assessment of Afghan officials and the details they provided about al-Qaeda’s connections in Afghanistan with cells around the world contradict the assessments of the current White House administration, which previously ordered the withdrawal of American combat units from Afghanistan before September 11 this year, CNN notes.

President Joe Biden chose to argue that al-Qaeda no longer poses a threat to US interests in Afghanistan as one of the arguments for making such a decision to withdraw America from the longest war in its history. In announcing the withdrawal, he said America went to Afghanistan to make sure it “cannot be used as a base for a re-attack on our homeland” after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Biden argued that when al-Qaeda “degenerated”, the United States “achieved its goal”.

We will remind, President Joe Biden announced in April the beginning of the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, which should be completed by September 11, 2021. CENTCOM reported last week that the process has already been completed by 13-20 percent. The withdrawal of American troops from Afghan territory is ahead of schedule, said the head of the Pentagon Lloyd Austin on May 27, speaking at a hearing in the US Congress.

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