DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The Taliban’s attack on Afghan territory widened on Wednesday, with insurgents maintaining control of nine of the country’s 34 provincial capitals.
Afghan and US officials warn of catastrophic violence in the war-torn country of 39 million as the deadline for the withdrawal of all US troops draws closer to the end of August.
Nader Nadery, a senior member of the Afghan peace negotiation team, expressed serious concern about the rapidly deteriorating situation in an interview with CNBC on Wednesday.
“If the Taliban advance militarily, the region will be burned down. This war will not take place within Afghanistan’s borders,” Nadery told CNBC’s Capital Connection.
When asked what he believed was the most immediate threat to the international community, Nadery, who experienced decades of unrest in Afghanistan, described a potential surge in terrorist activity well beyond the country, fueled by a sense of victory over Western forces.
It is feared that all terrorist groups will consolidate their power. [under] the roof of the Taliban and the space that the Taliban offer them, “said Nadery.
“The slogan of every single jihadist terrorist group now is that we have defeated the United States and its 42 allies in Afghanistan now, we can pursue them anywhere,” added Nadery. “This slogan is a clear danger that will allow groups like Daesh (ISIS), Al-Qaeda and others to rally more people because they are on the rise, they feel triumphant.”
“Taliban members have told us to our faces that they have defeated the US and NATO allies,” he continued. “And that will not be an easy slogan for them, it will be a danger to all disaffected young people in the region and in a wider global arena where they are pooling their forces around that slogan, and it is not easy.” Attention.”
The international terrorism that emerges from a war-torn state is all too well known. Al-Qaeda grew in the 1990s when the group served as a refuge and a base for planning the 9/11 attacks that sparked the first US invasion of Afghanistan nearly 20 years ago by the Afghan Taliban government.
The Taliban’s ongoing pursuit of power across Afghanistan is also supported by the group’s recently acquired international legitimacy, beginning with the US-Taliban peace accord and more recently with its senior members’ visit to China, which saw apparently warming relations with Beijing became.
“Unfortunately, China gave it [the Taliban] recently a red carpet, these things have to end if we want to see a stable region, “said Nadery.
“You have to fight for yourself”
At the White House, President Joe Biden told reporters on Tuesday that he had no regrets about his decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan despite shocking Taliban gains.
“You see, we’ve spent over a trillion dollars over twenty years, we’ve trained and upgraded over 300,000 Afghan forces,” Biden said.
“Afghan leaders need to come together,” added the president. “You have to fight for yourself, fight for your nation.”
In April, Biden ordered the full withdrawal of around 3,000 US soldiers from Afghanistan by September 11th.
The Pentagon’s colossal task of removing soldiers and equipment from Afghanistan is almost complete, and the U.S. military mission is slated to end on August 31.
Since the US began its withdrawal from the war-torn country, the Taliban have made amazing strides on the battlefield, despite being vastly outnumbered by the Afghan military.
On Wednesday, according to the Associated Press, the Taliban occupied three Afghan provincial capitals and a local army headquarters in Kunduz. Wednesday’s gains give the Taliban about two-thirds control of the country.
In addition, the Taliban quickly captured five Afghan provincial capitals at the weekend, three in one day alone.
An Afghan special forces member takes part in a military operation against Taliban fighters in the village of Kandak Anayat in the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan, on July 23, 2021.
Ajmal Kakar | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images
At the Pentagon, spokesman John Kirby told reporters Monday that while the Biden administration plans to continue providing air support, there is little the US military can do.
“We will certainly support from the air where and when possible, but this is not a substitute for the leadership on the ground, it is not a substitute for the political leadership in Kabul, it is not a substitute for the use of the skills and capacities, that we know, “said Kirby said.
Kirby added that while the Pentagon is concerned to see such advances by the Taliban, the Afghan military must now capitalize on years of training from US and NATO coalition forces.
“They have an air force, the Taliban don’t. They have modern weapons and organizational skills, the Taliban don’t. They outnumber the Taliban,” said Kirby. “You have the benefits, and now is the really time to take advantage of those benefits.”
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby speaks at a press conference at the Pentagon on January 28, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia.
Yasin Öztürk | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
In light of the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, the State Department is examining ways to downsize the US embassy in Kabul. About 600 US soldiers protect the embassy grounds.
“Obviously it’s a challenging security environment and if we were able we were confident and comfortable to have a larger staff presence there we would,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters. when asked about the downsizing in Kabul.
“We evaluate the threat environment on a daily basis. The embassy is in regular contact with Washington with the most senior people in this building, who in turn are in regular contact with our colleagues on [National Security Council] at the White House, “Price added.
Amanda Macias contributed to this report from Washington.