Zawahiri dead, but terror looms large as Taliban links with Al-Qaeda intact
Under Doha agreement, the Taliban are supposed to cut off all its ties with terrorist organisations such as the Al-Qaeda. This, however, has not happened.
In the wake of the killing of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri in a US drone strike in Kabul, American President Joe Biden has claimed "justice has been delivered." President Biden has bragged that this demonstrates Washington's ability to protect Americans without "thousands of boots on the ground." One, however, finds it hard to digest Biden's claim and brag.
Observers say the elimination of Zawahiri from the scene is, no doubt, a welcome development for the entire contemporary humanity looking for a terror- free world. Zawahiri had been an instrumental figure in most of the Al-Qaeda's major terror attacks, including the September 11, 2001 ones on the United States. After the elimination of Osama bin Laden in a US surgical strike in Pakistan in 2011, he had been the head of the Qaeda and helping the outfit survive.
Zawahiri was rabidly anti-India. He backed the Sunni Islamist terror against modern, secular India. He formed the Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) with India as its main focus of terror strikes. In 2019, he had a "Don't forget Kashmir" campaign against India. He had also called upon his cadets to carry out strikes against the Indian Army.
It would, however, be naïve to infer that with Zawahiri's elimination, justice has been delivered. Zawahiri is now gone but not the cause he represented. The Taliban regime is back in Kabul to advance it. It constitutes a great threat to humanity. Zawahiri's presence, at a the time of his elimination, in a house owned by Sirajuddin Haqqani, Afghanistan's de facto deputy head of state and Interior Minister, in Kabul shows how deep the linkage the Taliban regime still has with the Qaeda.
Under Doha agreement, reached between the previous Donald J Trump administration in Washington and the Taliban and accepted by the current Biden presidency, the Taliban are supposed to cut off all its ties with terrorist organisations such as the Al-Qaeda. This, however, has not happened.
Besides, the Taliban regime is believed to have a very clandestine understanding with the Islamic State today. The IS shares the same radical violent Islamist ideology with the the Al-Qaeda. Given its pattern of functioning, it rather poses a much greater threat than the Qaeda to the United States, Central Asian states, and India.
India would do well to remain cautious of the linkages the current regime in Kabul has with Al-Qaeda and the IS both. It is good that the Taliban regime has not yet been recognized by any country. Before the Taliban regime is recognized, it must form an inclusive government and ensure women's rights.
(Jagdish N. Singh is a senior journalist based in New Delhi. He is also Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, New York)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of OneIndia and OneIndia does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.