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For the Taliban, a New Era of Isolation Has Arrived

Hours after an American drone strike killed the chief of Al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, in downtown Kabul, Taliban safety forces rushed to seal off the positioning. Inexperienced tarps had been thrown over destroyed home windows. Checkpoints had been put up, and outlets had been closed.

However there was no hiding the harm that had been completed to the Taliban’s nascent authorities, which had tried to shelter the world’s most wished terrorist from the eyes of the American authorities.

The strike early Sunday morning, and the general public revelation that the Taliban had sheltered a key plotter of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist assaults within the coronary heart of the Afghan capital, was a watershed second for the group’s new authorities. And it underscored the fact of their rule: The Taliban haven’t basically reformed from their first regime within the Nineties, when their hard-line insurance policies and relationship with Al Qaeda turned the nation right into a pariah state.

Retaliation in opposition to Al Qaeda and its Taliban allies who sheltered the terrorist group drove america to invade Afghanistan in 2001, the start of a two-decade-long warfare that ravaged the nation. Now, the Taliban appears to be as soon as extra treading the identical path, fueling criticism that their authorities ought to by no means be internationally acknowledged, and elevating questions on whether or not a brand new period of U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan has begun.

A statement from the Taliban condemned the American airstrike, with out particularly mentioning al-Zawahri or Al Qaeda. “It’s an act in opposition to the pursuits of Afghanistan and the area,” mentioned Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban authorities. “Repeating such actions will harm the obtainable alternatives.”

The strike comes at an already tenuous second for the Taliban. Since seizing energy, the group has promised to average because it seeks worldwide recognition and assist from Western diplomats overseas, even whereas staying true to its hard-line ideological beliefs at house.

In current months, the federal government has enacted more and more oppressive insurance policies, together with proscribing girls’s rights to journey and work. And it has reneged on an early promise to permit ladies to attend secondary college, in a stark echo of the primary rule.

These measures have more and more turned worldwide attitudes in opposition to the federal government and have price the nation thousands and thousands in overseas assist, worsening its dire financial disaster. Now, the airstrike in opposition to Al Qaeda’s chief within the coronary heart of Kabul has opened a brand new chapter for the Taliban authorities, seemingly cementing its worldwide isolation.

The strike highlights what many analysts and consultants have warned for months: that the Taliban have allowed terrorist teams, together with Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban, to exist freely on Afghan soil for the reason that takeover regardless of an settlement with america wherein the group pledged to maintain Afghan territory from turning into a haven for terrorist plotting.

“Nobody is very stunned that the Taliban is taking part in footsie with Al Qaeda, and nobody is very stunned the U.S. hit him with a drone,” mentioned Graeme Smith, a senior marketing consultant for the Worldwide Disaster Group who focuses on Afghanistan.

“The chance now could be a slippery slope of ‘over the horizon’ strikes being a viable possibility coping with very sophisticated threats which are coming from Afghanistan,” he added. “There’s a wealthy historical past of airstrikes not having their supposed penalties in Afghanistan.”

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