Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

Will the Strategic Partnership of Taliban and Al-Qaeda Shift?

The US-Taliban agreement has been signed  aimed at ending the 18-year war in Afghanistan, America’s longest.
This deal could help President Donald Trump fulfill a key campaign promise to extract America from its “endless wars.” Based on the agreement, the U.S. will begin withdrawing thousands of troops in exchange for Taliban commitments to prevent Afghanistan from being a Launchpad for terrorist attacks. Furthermore, If the Taliban meet their commitments, all U.S. troops would leave in 14 months.
Taliban relations with other terrorist groups
It is more than 4 decades that Afghanistan struggles with civil war and conflict. When The USSR invaded Afghanistan On December 24, 1979, under the pretext of upholding the Soviet-Afghan Friendship Treaty of 1978, no one thought that the war would continue for decades. As a result, fifteen thousand Soviet soldiers were killed. However, the long-term impact of the invasion and subsequent war was profound. First, the Soviets never recovered from the public relations and financial losses, which significantly contributed to the fall of the Soviet empire in 1991. Secondly, the war created a breeding ground for terrorism and the rise of Osama bin Laden.
TheGeorge W. Bush administration launched the war in Afghanistan  in  response to the9/11 terrorist attacks by al-Qaida. The United States attacked the Taliban in Afghanistan for hiding al-Qaida’s leader, Osama bin Laden. Launched on Oct. 7, 2001, the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan quickly overthrew the Taliban regime after their leader, Mullah Omar, refused to hand over Osama bin Laden. While America’s strategic objective in Afghanistan has often been unclear, the Taliban’s refusal to give up al-Qaeda — and by extension the fear that an Afghanistan dominated by the Taliban would remain a safe haven for international terrorists — has been one of the primary motives for the “forever war.”  The Alliance between Taliban and AL-Qaeda has been strengthened after the 11 September attack. The alliance between al-Qaeda and the Taliban has endured for over 22 years. Between a crushing military campaign by the world’s foremost military alliance and the realpolitik considerations that seemingly should have led the Taliban to break ties long ago, the fact that they haven’t is remarkable. As in other alliances, the two groups remained engaged in cooperation with mutual expectations about consultation and cooperation in the future.
When talking about an alliance, it does not mean that partners have merged, operate in lockstep, or even always adhere to one another’s input. In this case, they certainly have not, do not, and they sometimes ignore one another’s counsel. Experts hold that allies can have areas of major divergence. And the Taliban and al-Qaeda certainly do. Since the inception of their relationship, the two groups have differed on their strategic objectives, priorities, and tactics. The Taliban has been focused on Afghanistan and has never embraced al-Qaeda’s global jihadist ambitions. For its part, al-Qaeda has consistently pursued its agenda with a disregard for how doing so has affected the Taliban.
Thus, Taliban and Al-Qaeda have cooperated in Afghanistan. Based on the US and Taliban Peace Deal, Taliban must fight other.
What is unclear is that, how they will prevent Al-Qaeda not to operate in Afghanistan and how they will prevent it not to attack the US interests from Afghanistan. As the US expects Taliban to fight terrorist groups in Afghanistan, would there be an alliance shift in Afghanistan? Would Al-Qaeda and ISI form an alliance against the Taliban? The Experience of West Africa’s Sahel region shows that Al Qaeda and ISIS-linked fighters are co-operating in there.
One of the major concerns of the Afghan citizens is that the armed group could come back with a vengeance in Kabul and re-impose its ultraconservative ways on Afghan politics and society. The difference with the 90s is that the Afghan national security and defense forces are strongly supported by the Afghan nation and Taliban will face strong resistance from the central government to protect the few political and social reforms enacted over the past two decades. However, it is difficult for the Afghan government to fight Taliban and 20 more terrorist groups alone. As a result if the United States and NATO leave Afghanistan, Afghan government may ask other powers to help it to fight these groups.