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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin on possible “rebirth” of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan

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The US military is able to contain al-Qaeda or any other extremist threat coming from Afghanistan, assured Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. He also said that Al-Qaeda, which used Afghanistan 20 years ago as a base to attack the US, may be trying to revive in that country after the withdrawal of the US contingent. Meanwhile, one of the first decisions was made after the provisional government was formed in Kabul: the Interior Ministry banned all demonstrations and protests.

We made it clear to the Taliban that we expect them not to let this happen, said Lloyd Austin on the possible possibility of reusing Afghanistan, now ruled by the Taliban, as an al-Qaeda base. The US Defense Minister spoke to a group of journalists in Kuwait on the occasion of the end of his four-day visit to the Persian Gulf countries with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

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Austin also assured that the US military is capable of containing al-Qaeda or any other extremist threat emanating from Afghanistan and targeting the US with observation and strike planes stationed in other countries. However, he added that such an operation would be more difficult without the US military and intelligence presence in Afghanistan.

Given the refuge of al-Qaeda terrorists

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In 1996-2001, the governing Taliban in Afghanistan sheltered al-Qaeda terrorists. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, they refused to surrender them to the US, which resulted in the US invasion and overthrow of the Taliban government.

In August this year, American forces finally withdrew from Afghanistanand the Taliban regained power over the country. For nearly 20 years, the war on terrorism al-Qaeda has been significantly weakened, but the resurgence of the Taliban regime in Kabul raises concerns about future ties between this extremist group and the new government in Kabul, writes the PA agency.

In a peace agreement with the US in February 2020, the Taliban committed not to support al-Qaeda and other terrorists, and the Americans agreed to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan. However, US officials believe the Taliban still has ties with al-Qaeda, the PA agency notes. He adds that many countries, including the Persian Gulf countries, fear the revival of this extremist organization.

Banned demonstrations and protests

Meanwhile, the Taliban, which has controlled Afghanistan since mid-August, has now banned all demonstrations and protests, according to the first Ministry of the Interior communiqué after the formation of the interim government in Kabul.

No one and under any circumstances is allowed to organize protests – warned the ministry, adding that violations of this ban will face severe penalties. The Taliban explain that “in recent days some people have disrupted public order in Afghanistan.” At the same time, they ensured that demonstrations would be possible in the future, but that their organizers would have to obtain the consent of the Ministry of Justice, as well as state the cause, place and time of the protest.

In recent days, the Taliban brutally dispersed participants of several protests, including in Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif and Herat, and prohibited the media from reporting them. It was mainly demonstrated by women who do not want to be excluded from public space. In the 1990s, during the first period of the Taliban rule, they forbid women, inter alia, from education or going out on your own.

The Taliban announced the formation of a transitional government on Tuesday. Mullah Mohammad Hasan Achund will be Prime Minister, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will be Deputy Prime Minister, and important ministries will include Mullah Mohammed Yagub and Sirajuddin Hakkani. They are all experienced and senior Taliban leaders.

Main photo source: STRINGER / PAP / EPA



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