Hours after an American drone strike killed the chief of Al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, in downtown Kabul, Taliban safety forces rushed to seal off the web site. Green tarps have been thrown over destroyed home windows. Checkpoints have been put up, and outlets have been closed.
But there was no hiding the harm that had been executed to the Taliban’s nascent authorities, which had tried to shelter the world’s most needed terrorist from the eyes of the American authorities.
The strike early Sunday morning, and the public revelation that the Taliban had sheltered a key plotter of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist assaults in the coronary heart of the Afghan capital, was a watershed second for the group’s new authorities. And it underscored the actuality of their rule: The Taliban haven’t basically reformed from their first regime in the Nineteen Nineties, when their hard-line insurance policies and relationship with Al Qaeda turned the nation into a pariah state.
Retaliation towards Al Qaeda and its Taliban allies who sheltered the terrorist group drove the United States to invade Afghanistan in 2001, the starting of a two-decade-long conflict that ravaged the nation. Now, the Taliban appears to be as soon as extra treading the identical path, fueling criticism that their authorities ought to by no means be internationally acknowledged, and elevating questions on whether or not a new period of U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan has begun.
A statement from the Taliban condemned the American airstrike, with out particularly mentioning al-Zawahri or Al Qaeda. “It is an act against the interests of Afghanistan and the region,” stated Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban authorities. “Repeating such actions will damage the available opportunities.”
The strike comes at an already tenuous second for the Taliban. Since seizing energy, the group has promised to reasonable because it seeks worldwide recognition and support from Western diplomats overseas, even whereas staying true to its hard-line ideological beliefs at house.
In current months, the authorities has enacted more and more oppressive insurance policies, together with proscribing ladies’s rights to journey and work. And it has reneged on an early promise to permit women to attend secondary college, in a stark echo of the first rule.
Those measures have more and more turned worldwide attitudes towards the authorities and have value the nation hundreds of thousands in overseas support, worsening its dire financial disaster. Now, the airstrike towards Al Qaeda’s chief in the coronary heart of Kabul has opened a new chapter for the Taliban authorities, seemingly cementing its worldwide isolation.
The strike highlights what many analysts and consultants have warned for months: that the Taliban have allowed terrorist teams, together with Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban, to exist freely on Afghan soil since the takeover regardless of an settlement with the United States by which the group pledged to maintain Afghan territory from changing into a haven for terrorist plotting.
“No one is terribly surprised that the Taliban is playing footsie with Al Qaeda, and no one is terribly surprised the U.S. hit him with a drone,” stated Graeme Smith, a senior marketing consultant for the International Crisis Group who focuses on Afghanistan.
“The risk now is a slippery slope of ‘over the horizon’ strikes being a viable option dealing with very complicated threats that are coming from Afghanistan,” he added. “There is a rich history of airstrikes not having their intended consequences in Afghanistan.”