Among the many demoralizing – and indeed frightening – aspects of the collapse in Afghanistan is the growing concern that the country will soon serve as a safe haven for Al-Qaeda militants seeking a new home base, and the unwillingness of the Taliban’s chief spokesperson recently to denounce the terror group is only fueling those worries, as Fox News reports.
Journalist Lara Logan of the Fox Nation streaming platform sat down several weeks ago with Suhail Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban, and she attempted to get answers about what many believe are his group’s long-standing links to the terrorists responsible for 9/11.
Taking an impressively direct and forthright approach, Logan asked Shaheen, “Why have you not renounced Al Qaeda?”
Sidestepping the question, Shaheen merely said that the Taliban has already agreed not to “allow anyone – whether an individual or entity – any group to use the site of Afghanistan against the United States or its allies,” pursuant to a 2020 treaty signed in Doha, Qatar.
Clearly dissatisfied with Shaheen’s non-answer, Logan tried again, saying, “The specific question is why will you not renounce Al Qaeda. You never have. Not from day one, not from 9/11 on ’til now,” eventually opining, “A general statement about people who attack civilians is not the same thing.”
Indeed, the international community is expressing growing alarm about the potential for Afghanistan to return to its prior position as a breeding ground for Islamic terrorism, something to which some Western leaders are calling “inevitable,” according to the BBC.
On Monday, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson explicitly warned that Western allies must stand firm in opposition to allowing Afghanistan to once again harbor terrorist groups, and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the Security Council to “use all tools at its disposal to suppress the global terrorist threat in Afghanistan,” the BBC added.
Fears of a resurgence of Al Qaeda and other terrorist factions bent on the destruction of the West – with American interests particularly in their sights – are taking center stage here in the United States as well, with lawmakers and others sounding the alarm about the dangerous combination of large-scale prisoner releases by the Taliban in Afghanistan and the open borders policies of the Biden administration that make their entry into the country that much easier.
As Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) cautioned on Monday, “thousands of terrorists captured by American forces and detailed at Bagram [Air Base] are now being released, free to target Americans and commit other heinous acts of terrorism,” and given Shaheen’s studied unwillingness to denounce Al Qaeda in particular, it appears that fears of future attacks may be well-placed, indeed.