Faizel Patel – 17/11/2020
A research fellow at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore says the Taliban in Afghanistan has found itself in a catch 22 situation with a predicament in terms of keeping its ideological legitimacy alive within insurgent groups.
Abdul Basit was speaking to Radio Islam on Tuesday about the situation the Taliban currently finds itself in following the peace deal signed with the US.
Military officials expect President Donald Trump to order a further withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Pentagon issued a “warning order” to commanders to begin planning to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan to 2,500 by 15 January.
Basit says the Taliban is getting conflicting advice from different insurgent groups putting the group into a catch 22 situation.
“At one place they are congratulating them for the deal with the US that was signed in February. That deal paves the way for American exit from Afghanistan. At the same time, while there is appreciation of the US/Taliban deal, there is criticism and concerns with the intra-Afghan negotiations, which is between the Afghan government and Afghan Taliban. The reservations that being shown there are about making any compromises on demand for shariah.”
Basit also shared updates about the supposed passing of Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s current leader.
“No confirmation has come yet from Al Qaeda. But if he has passed away, so within Al Qaeda there will be succession struggle because so many of his deputies were also killed in Iran, in Syria and some of them in Afghanistan. Now with al-Zawahiri passing away, there seems to be a leadership crisis.”
Basit says the Taliban would love to see the “back of the US” from Afghanistan and may leave the country for another region once US troops have left.
Listen to the interview with Abdul Basit