(New York, N.Y.) – The Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan is stoking renewed fear of a resurgence in terrorism from al-Qaeda and other jihadi groups. Al-Qaeda has long pledged allegiance to the Taliban, which provided sanctuary to the terror group before and after the 9/11 attacks. In the two decades since then, al-Qaeda’s structure has become more decentralized. However, the group has retained close ties with the Taliban, raising the prospect that it will once again be offered a safe haven on Afghan soil to plot and launch attacks against western targets.
Speaking to Metro on the intensifying threat of terrorist resurgence in Afghanistan, Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Senior Adviser Sir Ivor Roberts said, “This is a moment of extreme danger for the West…Quite apart from disaster being visited on Afghan people, the West faces a renewal of the same terrorist threat which led to 9/11 and the rise of ISIS…Some reports have spoken of up to 20 terrorist groups providing foreign fighters to support the Taliban sweep through Afghanistan…Alongside the power the Taliban has demonstrated over the last few days and the potential extremism potentially brewing beneath the surface, the UK and the West will bear the consequences…This international catastrophe is coming straight to our door, in the form of an international terrorist threat.”
On August 6, the Taliban began an offensive against major Afghan cities. In only a week, the group had seized control of 17 of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals—more than two-thirds of the country. On August 15, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan and thousands of Afghans poured into Kabul’s airport as Taliban fighters entered the city. Given the severity of the situation, the Pentagon authorized another 1,000 troops—expanding their security presence on the ground to 6,000 troops—to help evacuate U.S. citizens and all U.S. personnel. By the morning of August 16, the American flag was lowered and removed from the U.S. Embassy. That same day, the Taliban laid siege to the presidential palace and took complete control of Kabul, declaring the war in Afghanistan had ended.
To read CEP’s Taliban resource, please click here.
To read CEP’s Al-Qaeda resource, please click here.
To read CEP’s Afghanistan resource, please click here.