Taliban: in Taliban Afghanistan, Haqqani network is new kingmaker: report

WASHINGTON: Three months after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, the Haqqani Network – which was often responsible for the deadliest and most publicized terrorist attacks against American forces – has now become the kingmaker in Kabul.
Writing for the publication War on the Rocks, Jeff M Smith, a researcher at the Center for Asian Studies at the Heritage Foundation, explained how, in the new hard-line government, several members of the Haqqani Network have secured key ministerial positions, giving to the terrorist group the control of internal security in Afghanistan.
“It increasingly appears that the fall of Kabul was as much a victory for the Haqqani network as it was for the traditional leadership of the Taliban. ”
Smith said it was no coincidence that Khalil ur-Rahman Haqqani, a terrorist with a bounty of US $ 5 million on his head, had been appointed chief of security in Kabul a week before the suicide bombing in Kabul airport. “The fox was finally guarding the henhouse.”
The US expert described the Haqqani’s rise to power as a victory for the Pakistani military and intelligence services. “A Taliban-ruled Afghanistan was already a nightmare scenario. The Haqqani Network, with its “experiences of supporting jihad abroad”, is even more ideologically and operationally aligned with global jihadist groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Afghanistan than the Taliban are. “, did he declare.
Smith said that despite limited access to Afghanistan, the Biden administration should begin to prepare for the possibility that ambitious terrorist groups globally find either direct support or a more permissive environment to operate by a Afghan government.
“He should lead international efforts to put pressure on the new Taliban-Haqqani government to abandon its support for global terrorist groups, and he should seek to restore counterterrorism capabilities in the country and in the region. wider.”
The Asian expert further cautioned the United States against avoiding making a “Faustian deal” with Pakistan, by trading access to Afghanistan for acceptance of Pakistan’s support for the same. terrorist groups that the United States is targeting.
According to the Washington-based researcher, Pakistan has skillfully taken advantage of Afghanistan’s cruel geography to position itself as indispensable to the United States. “But American policymakers still haven’t realized that Pakistan has a lot more to lose from an openly adversarial relationship with the United States than the other way around.”
Pakistan blocking the United States on counterterrorism cooperation in Afghanistan would remove any remaining leverage and any remaining safeguards preventing the relationship from a vicious cycle of hostility and recriminations, he added.


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