The Taliban, the so-called IS militants and other insurgents continue to pose an imminent threat not only to Afghan government and people, but also to regional and international security. These militants has so far launched numerous suicide, car bomb, roadside IED, and ambush attacks, killing thousands of civilians, and inflicting heavy human and material casualties on the Afghan National Security Forces.
The Taliban by gaining ground and influence in a number of localities, it could once again host other terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda on Afghan soil. Thus, while the Taliban remains an existential threat to the Afghan government, it also serves as a potential danger to regional and international security.
Addressing a gathering in Washington DC during his recent trip, Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah said terrorist groups receiving support and having sanctuaries in the region pose a challenge to peace in Afghanistan, adding there were groups that still believed that they could take over through terror and violence, he said.
“They receive support and have sanctuaries. That remains to be a big challenge for us. But I have no doubt in my mind that there will be conditions and circumstances that more and more groups will be convinced that they need to join the peace process…” he added.
With the emergence of Daesh in the region, some countries that considered Taliban a lesser threat, he said. “That is not the case. The umbrella is the Taliban for all those groups. They cannot operate without support from the Taliban.”
The Chief Executive went on saying that Pakistan sees TTP as the main threat. “We agree. We are fighting against them. We consider them a threat and we don’t make any differentiation between this and that terrorist group. We have never supported any terrorist group in our country.”
Indeed U.S. and allies’ sanctions against individuals and institutions involved in facilitating Pakistan-based Taliban leaders and pursuing Taliban reconciliation talks without depending on Pakistan could be a great step towards peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile the US needed to adopt a different approach to the larger proxy war and hold major powers accountable for their support of violent extremists that threaten regional stability.
Kabul’s bolstered relationships with the major world powers, in particular with Saudi Arabia, which has good relations with Pakistan, could help contain its expanding sanctuary for extremists and more effectively forge a diplomatic solution with Islamabad, and its Taliban-Haqqani proxies. That political solution, in turn, could de-escalate the conflict in the countryand help stabilize the region as whole.
IgnoringTaliban as a serious threat to regional and international security is a grave mistake. The United States and its allies must also take serious measures to strengthen Afghan National Security Forces and enable them to effectively fight against this dangerous terrorist organization.