What is next for the US and the Taliban? Not being an authority on counterterrorism I had to search this material out. What is clear about Biden’s hasty retreat from Afghanistan is it will have far reaching implications for years to come. According the Department of Defense there are five jihadi groups currently in Afghanistan. They are al-Qaida, their Asian affiliate AQIS, the Pakistani Taliban, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and the Turkish Islamic Party. This is contrary to what the Biden Administration is telling us.
Upon the release of prisoners from Bagram Air Base, Nangarhar, and Pol-e-Charkhi prisons by the Taliban al-Qaida’s leadership has increased adding the worst of the worst. What should be concerning is the Taliban’s alignment with all five of these groups. What could be more worrisome would be these groups joining forces with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. That could open the door for al-Qaida and other jihadi groups to receive financial backing. Each of these groups including the Taliban represent a significant threat to the region, the US, and its allies. Without a US presence on the ground we have lost our capability to gather reliable intelligence. We no longer have counterterrorism capabilities from within Afghanistan.
The Biden Administration has a short memory. Osama bin Ladin used Afghanistan’s vastness to hide terrorist training camps with the help of the Taliban. Because of President Biden’s poor judgement by not leaving a small contingent in Afghanistan will allow Jihadis groups to metastasize and grow. It will be only a matter of time before these groups are positioned to develop assets in the region. As a country we need to pay significant attention to the political importance of our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s return to power. This may prove to be a jihadi victory of epic proportions should foreign money flow into the hands of radical Islamic groups. These groups now have a safe haven to move from Afghanistan through Pakistan, Central Asia, Syria, Iraq, at a geopolitical level. Unfortunately, leaving our technology behind has empowered these jihadi groups with a wide range newer technologies and capabilities to strike allies in the surrounding area.
Biden’s weakness in foreign affairs puts in question his ability to judge future dealings with Afghanistan and the impact in the region with adversaries such as China and Russia. He claims over the horizon technology can stop terrorism without boots on the ground, yet they failed in their first attempt killing woman, children, and innocent Afghanis. The question we each must consider is do we have confidence in the Biden Administration to keep in check such jihadi organizations from plotting and carrying out terrorist activities on US bases abroad, on our allies, and in the US. We must also fear the number of illegal immigrants just walking across our Southern boarder many being what the Border Patrol classify as “getaways.” Because of Biden’s poor judgement it may just be a matter not if, but when we have another 911 or worst on US soil.
William R. Bellotti
Bellotti served as Deputy Labor Commissioner under Gov. John Rowland