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Some of the world’s most dangerous terrorist leaders — one of whom is on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list — were seen sauntering freely in the Afghan capital of Kabul late last week following the Taliban’s takeover of the country.
Sirajuddin Haqqani and his uncle, Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani, both leaders of the Haqqani Network, have allegedly been given safe harbor by Taliban forces in Afghanistan,” Vice reported Monday. The latter has reportedly been put in charge of security in Kabul.
Other jihadist leaders have reportedly been spotted meeting with Taliban officials in recent days, foreshadowing a return of coordinated terrorist activity in the region. It’s the latest unraveling in an increasingly bleak situation following the Biden administration’s bungled withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country.
Here’s more from Vice:
Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani, who currently has a $5 million bounty on his head for his links to al-Qaida terrorist operations, was seen leading a crowd of worshippers through prayers at Pul-i Khishti mosque in Kabul’s old city on Friday.
Khalil is a prominent figure in the Haqqani Network, a militant organization allied with both the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaida that has been described as the most lethal insurgent group targeting Coalition and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.
His nephew is Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani Network and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in the eyes of the U.S. Department of State, who has a $10 million bounty on his head …
… Hours before the Taliban declared the formation of an Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on Thursday, Khalil and his entourage met with Abdullah Abdullah, the main peace envoy in the ousted government, who later indicated publicly that Khalil had been put in charge of security in Kabul.
In a report on the developments published by Voice of America, retired senior British diplomat Ivor Roberts noted that the Haqqani Network being put in charge of security is akin to a “fox being put in charge of a chicken coop.”
The move also indicates that al Qaeda will have an increased presence in the country, a direct contradiction of a promise the Taliban made in a peace deal brokered last year by former President Donald Trump. In the deal, the Taliban agreed not to let Afghanistan become a haven for terrorists if the U.S. withdrew.
“The Haqqani and al-Qaida have a long history together, you could argue they are intertwined, and it is highly unlikely they will cut ties,” another British intelligence officer told Voice of America.
Though the Taliban’s violation of the agreement is a negative development, it is certainly not a surprising one. U.S. officials warned last spring that intelligence showed the Taliban had no intentions of abiding by the deal.
President Joe Biden certainly had access to such information and at various other times was warned not to carry out a total withdrawal from Afghanistan. But he proceeded to do so regardless. The inadequately planned and apparently ill-advised withdrawal has led to a humanitarian crisis in the country — and now known terrorists are openly roaming the streets.