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TOPIC: afghan state

Geopolitics

Jihad Rising: Will Afghan Failure Repeat Itself In Africa?

In Mali and elsewhere in northern and western Africa, al-Qaeda factions have been held back with the help of the French military. Fears are rising of a future pullout after watching the debacle in Kabul.

Iyad Ag Ghali did not wait for the fall of Kabul to celebrate the Taliban victory in Afghanistan. The jihadist leader of the West African branch of al-Qaeda (Group To Support Islam and Muslims, or GSIM) broke his long silence on Aug. 10, not having spoken since November 2019. In an audio message, he paid tribute to the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, for the withdrawal of the invading U.S. forces and their allies." He said the reversal "is the culmination of two decades of patience."

It is no coincidence that the Taliban's relentless offensive resonates to the far reaches of the Sahel region in northern and western Africa. When GSIM was created in 2017, Iyad Ag Ghali pledged allegiance not only to al-Qaeda, but also to Afghan Islamists. The Taliban and the Sahelian fighters are cut from the same cloth. "They share on-the-ground insurgency know-how, which is a byproduct of the al-Qaeda matrix," says Yvan Guichaoua, a researcher at the School of International Studies at the University of Kent in Brussels. "They also have the same ultimate goal: the application of Sharia law."

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The Taliban Is More Dangerous Than Ever

As the U.S. government pivots its foreign policy, the Taliban is ramping up plans to reestablish a totalitarian state. Regional support for a sovereign Afghan government has never been more urgent.

-Analysis-

NEW DELHI — While most of the Western media coverage around the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has focused on how this historic moment affects the interests of the United States and its transatlantic allies, the real effects of the U.S. departure will be most acutely felt by Afghanistan and its neighbors — particularly China, India and Russia, powers that will shape the future of a region that houses most of humanity.

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