Terrorists take the wheel

“The U.S. Government in 2012 designated the Haqqani Network as a Foreign Terrorist Organization because of its involvement in the Afghan insurgency, attacks on US military and civilian personnel and Western interests in Afghanistan, and because of its ties to the Taliban and al-Qa‘ida.” That is how the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) defines the new security sector leaders in Kabul.

Taliban leader Khalil Haqqani, is wanted by the U.S. and UN, has been pictured in the Afghan capital, Kabul, ahead of talks on forming a new government. Abdullah Abdullah, a former-Republic leader and negotiator for the upcoming government, stated that this terrorist would be responsible for Kabul security. The Haqqani, on whom the U.S. have placed a $5 million (£3.6 million) bounty – attended the Pul-e-Kheshti Mosque, where reports say hundreds pledged their allegiance to the Taliban.

Beyond designating the group in charge of Kabul as terrorists, “key members have also been individually designated. Haqqani leaders Saidullah Jan, Yahya Haqqani, and Muhammad Omar Zadran, as well as suicide operations chief Qari Abdul Ra‘uf (also known as Qari Zakir), and Ibrahim Haqqani, remain either designated for financial sanctions or are on U.S. most-wanted lists.”

The Haqqani network is one of the region’s most powerful and feared militant groups, and has been credited with some of the most violent attacks against Afghan forces and their Western allies in recent years.

After 20 years of war against the Pakistani proxy forces, the U.S. and the world are back to September 10, 2001. Afghanistan is run by terrorists backed by Pakistan. Just yesterday the Afghan people were celebrating that for the second year in a row a girl earned the top college-entrance score in the country. All of the gains she has enjoyed in her life are in danger. The risks of the rise of a group more brutal than ISIS have risen.

Meanwhile at the Airport

While the Taliban terrorist network is busy trying to run the government without many of the former government experts, the U.S. and a few of the NATO nations are at the Kabul airport trying to evacuate western citizens and at-risk Afghans. The effort has been rightly termed a debacle so far, as many Afghans and westerners are unable to get through the Taliban checkpoints to enter the airport.

In the absence of U.S. forces entering Kabul city to extract cleared passengers, a global network of humanitarians from across various sectors of society have been operating an alternate evacuation system that actually picks people up from their hiding spots to get them safely to private airplanes. This is not without danger, as the terrorists are trying to lure Afghans to places where they can kidnap them by impersonating rescue teams.

Communications from the White House continue to label the outcomes from the departures as the best anyone could do, given the circumstances.

Impacts Ahead

Without bold action that doesn’t cow to the demands of the terrorists now running Afghanistan, there will be many avoidable deaths in the next few weeks—related to the airport operations alone. We can also expect to see some ransom videos of westerners that are unable to get to the airport. There will be massive human rights violation, especially against women. There will be food insecurity and a major economic collapse. Finally, we will see some mass revenge killings and spikes in the drug trade. All of this might actually set up a return of a resistance force from the Panjshir area that could start retaking ground from the cruel and corrupt Taliban regime. This war is far from over unless a negotiation miracle occurs.

Unless the international community finds a way to isolate the Taliban leadership without harming Afghans, this war will get bloody again. On a larger scale, the defeat of NATO by Pakistani proxy forces has shown Russia that NATO is just a paper tiger. The failure of peace talks to secure any peace has proven the UN worthless in stopping wars. Finally, the U.S., by leading the betrayal of Afghans, has taken a step off the superpower podium to join the nations that talk a good game, but don’t deliver on promises. Unfortunately, all of this just adds to the misery of the honest people of Afghanistan that want a brighter and safer future for their children.



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Jason spent 23 years in USG service conducting defense, diplomacy, intelligence, and education missions globally. Now he teaches, writes, podcasts, and speaks publicly about Islam, foreign affairs, and national security. He is a member of the Military Writers Guild, works with numerous non-profits and aids conflict resolution in Afghanistan.