Now it seems the Taliban are preparing to make their move and export their revolution. Ahmad Massoud’s National Resistance Front, which maintains a strong intelligence network in Kabul, the Panjshir Valley and across northern Afghanistan, reports that in recent weeks, the Taliban first transferred 16 high-ranking members of foreign terrorist groups to Kabul and then dispatched them to the Baghlan, Kunduz and Badakhshan provinces in northern Afghanistan.
According to reports … the terror leaders arrived in Kabul on August 20, 2022 and stayed three days in the home of a senior Haqqani network official in Wazir Akbar Khan. There, Massoud’s information network says they met Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Taliban’s deputy leader and acting interior minister, and discussed establishment of a network of foreign fighters in northern Afghanistan. The terror leaders departed Kabul in cars belonging to Taliban officials and returned to Taliban military bases and safe houses in the north.
While Trump and Biden-era Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad predicated a U.S. withdrawal deal with the Taliban in part on the promise that the group would fight against the Islamic State, Mawlawi Ibrahim who will coordinate the network, has strong connections with the Islamic State. Simply put, Khalilzad was either naïve or deceptive when selling his deal.
Corruption is rife across Central Asia, and while Russia has long assumed a paramount security role, its miscalculations in Ukraine leave all of the countries of its southern flank at risk. That Turkey, the same country whose support was crucial to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, is influential in Central Asia, should raise broader concern. The Biden administration as well as the many Republicans who support U.S. retrenchment might believe Afghanistan and Central Asia are not U.S. concerns but as the Islamic State demonstrated in 2014, forces of altruism seldom fill vacuums. It would be a mistake to confuse absence of press attention in Afghanistan with quiet. All indications are that the period of calm before the storm is fast ending.
There’s more at the link.
I’ve been expecting something like this; in fact, I’m surprised it’s taken this long to emerge. To quote an old idiom, “a leopard can’t change its spots”: and the Taliban has always been, at its root, a fundamentalist terrorist organization, relying on violence and brutality to spread its message. It’s never forgiven the former Soviet Union (and its modern-day successor, Russia) for the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979-80 and the death of so many innocent civilians there in the following decade. I’ve been waiting for payback time; and Dr. Rubin’s article suggests it may finally have arrived.
There are millions of Muslims in former Soviet states north of Afghanistan, and many of them are violent fundamentalists. Infiltrators from Afghanistan could easily spread the message of insurgency and terror, and (thanks to the USA abandoning tens of billions of dollars’ worth of arms and ammunition there) Afghanistan is now in a position to equip several insurgent armies if it so chooses.
President Putin and the Russian armed forces are almost completely focused on the Ukraine war right now. I think they may be making a serious mistake by doing so. They’ve left a vacuum in former Soviet Islamic areas that the Taliban will be delighted to fill . . . and the Muslim conscripts currently being called up to serve in the Russian army will probably be grateful for the military training and experience they’ll accumulate, in order to turn it against Moscow as soon as they can.
This is not a comforting development.