‘Don’t think they are in control!’ Taliban’s authority could be undermined by other groups

Tony Blair says war ‘hasn’t ended’ in Afghanistan

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The Taliban takeover of Kabul occurred on August 15 – only ten days after the first provincial capital Zaranj was captured by the group – but the militants’ grasp over the country may not be as strong as believed. By August 30 the last remaining US soldier left Afghanistan after 20 years of military intervention.

However, there are other terror groups including ISIS-K who remain in the region and remain a threat to the US and the West.

Scott Lucas foreign policy expert and Editor of EA Worldview told Express.co.uk: “I don’t think the Taliban are in control in the sense that there are other factions in Afghanistan, as we saw with the bombing of Kabul airport by the Islamic state Khorasan [ISIS-K].”

The terrorist group ISIS-K claimed responsibility for the attack near Kabul airport in August during the evacuation effort from Afghanistan, causing the death of 13 US service members and left more than 170 dead.

President Biden has pledged ISIS-K would be made to pay for the two suicide bomb attacks near Kabul airport.

Speaking from the White House the President said in August: “To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this—we will not forgive.

“We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interest in our people with every measure at my command.”

Mr Lucas added: “I don’t think they are in control because they haven’t organized themselves and because they have a not just strict, but radical interpretation of Islam and politics.

“The Taliban are now working with something called the Haqqani network, it is a group of Pakistani Islamists, led by the Haqqani family, who have a great deal of influence, much more influence than Al Qaeda even though they have worked with Al Qaeda in the past.

“If you want to talk about Afghanistan, you are talking about the Taliban and the Haqqani network trying to establish control versus another extremist group Islamic state and then there’s other groups.”

The Taliban have since appointed the leader of the Haqqani militant group, Sirajuddin Haqqani as their new acting interior minister.

The Haqqani network was behind attacks including a truck explosion in Kabul in 2017 killing more than 150 people.

Unlike the wider Taliban, the Haqqani network has been designated a foreign terrorist organisation by the US.

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Mr Lucas said: “This is important for Biden because if you are going to make this a war on terror, and you’re going to make the Islamic State-Khorasan the bad guys, how are you going to fight because you’ve got no local assets now you withdrew, and you cannot carry out a drone campaign, you cannot carry out bombing on a sustained basis without having local assets to spot the bad guys, to help you target the bad guys.

“Logically who is the one group that’s in the best position to spot and target, Islamic state- Korason, it’s the Taliban.”

The foreign policy expert added: “If Joe Biden is talking about a second war on terror, he is seriously saying he is going to work with the Taliban, in that war on terror because if you work with the Taliban it will come at a price.

“The government will say we will work with you but you unfreeze our assets or the central bank assets, you lift sanctions on us you allow us to control aid that goes into the country, and you do not tell us what we do regarding human rights and democracy, is that the deal that Joe Biden really wants to make, if he wants to hold up terrorism as being the focal issue in Afghanistan.”

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