October 5, 2022

While America Slept

With Taliban in control of Afghanistan less Panjshir Valley, hunting down the al-Qaeda and ISKP should not be difficult but the US never wanted that knowing they are blood brothers. That is why the charade of a one-time ‘mother-of-all-bombs’ and recent drone strike in Nangahar.

By Lt. Gen. Prakash Katoch (Retd.)

This is not about US President Joe Biden sleeping during his recent meeting with Naftali Bennett, Prime Minister of Israel, which is creating amusement in social media while calling Biden the American version of HD Deve Gowda sleep-wise. Instead, this is about the US sleeping cozily in bed with the Taliban; blaming it on the collapse of the Afghan National Army (ANA) despite cutting off air, artillery and even logistics support to them by design. Shamed by the loss of 13 American troops killed in the Kabul bombing, Biden blames Donald Trump’s US-Taliban deal while Trump blames Biden’s frenzied troop withdrawal.

It is curtains on the 13 Americans killed after the US drone strike in Nangahar Province that supposedly killed the two plotters of the Kabul bombings. Interestingly, Taliban has stated that since the drone strike was on Afghan soil, US should have informed the Taliban in advance – so much for US-Taliban camaraderie. Now there is warning of more terror attacks on Kabul airport within next 24-36 hours, which may be followed up with more US drone strikes. But the killing of supposed plotters is akin to ‘The King is Dead, Long Live the King’; which means little to ISKP, Al Qaeda or Taliban. Who would know it better than the US?

The US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price tells us that the Taliban and the Haqqani network are separate entities and US does not coordinate with Haqqani on security issues. Price apparently has wasted the years he served in the CIA or is so habitual of lying that he thinks everyone else is a fool. Can he deny the following?

America appears trying hard to disown its nexus with the Haqqani network because its handing over the biometrics of the Afghan associates and supporters of the US and its allies, followed by a list of the same names to the Taliban on pretext of evacuation, has been laid bare in US media. 

  • Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada, religious chief of Afghan Taliban was deputy to Mullah Akhtar Mansour (religious teacher of Pakistan-based Haqqani network). Sirajuddin Haqqani, Chief of Haqqani Network was deputy to Mansour and now continues as deputy to Akhundzada.  
  • ISIS was trained and armed with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as its head in NATO member Turkey in conjunction the CIA and Britain’s MI6.
  • ISKP was raised in Peshawar by Pakistan’s ISI during 2015-2016 and pushed west into Nangahar province of Afghanistan.
  • In his first public statements on July 2, 2016, Hibatullah Akhundzada called for Afghan government to cut ties with all foreign allies. Was the US planning to hand over Afghanistan to the Taliban since then?
  • Khalil-ul-Rehman Haqqani (CIA partner past several years) is now security chief of Kabul, while Abdul Aziz Abbasin (son of Haqqani network founder Jalaluddin Haqqani) is overseeing arms and ammunition supplies to Taliban fighters surrounding Panjshir Valley.
  • Khalil-ul-Rehman Haqqani, senior figure of Haqqani network, strategised the Taliban victory. He will likely be among the top three in Taliban’s ‘inclusive government’, in addition to Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob (son of Mullah Muhammad Omar).  

America appears trying hard to disown its nexus with the Haqqani network because its handing over the biometrics of the Afghan associates and supporters of the US and its allies, followed by a list of the same names to the Taliban on pretext of evacuation, has been laid bare in US media. 

Nawazuddin Haqqani, heading the special unit of Taliban ‘Al Isha’ to hunt down US and allied forces has told media in an interview that his unit is using US-made hand-held scanners to tap into a massive US-built biometric database and positively identify any person who helped the NATO allies and worked with Indian intelligence. Ned Price next may want the world to believe Al Isha is pure fiction and Nawazuddin Haqqani is not related to Haqqani network in any manner. 

Having taken control of Kabul and the interior ministry, Nawazuddin says that, “operational work has taken a back seat and we’ve turned our focus on counterintelligence… We have everyone’s data with us now…. We haven’t killed a single foreign journalist…. But American, NDS (Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security) and RAW’s (India’s Research and Analysis Wing) puppets won’t be let off”.

Questioned about the Pakistan connection with Al Isha, Nawazuddin said, “You are not that naive — you know the answer to that but what I can say is it’s not necessary to train everyone in Pakistan.”

After all this, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is assuring External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar of all help in Afghanistan – presumably safety and evacuation of the balance Indians in Afghanistan. Is this assurance based on “friendship” with the Taliban?

After all this, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is assuring External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar of all help in Afghanistan – presumably safety and evacuation of the balance Indians in Afghanistan. Is this assurance based on “friendship” with the Taliban?

Naturally, Blinken cannot assure any help for evacuating all Afghan supporters of India with the US leaving many of their own Afghan supporters to the mercy of the Taliban; US having commenced the biometrics programme in 2009 with 300,000 Afghans and aimed to expand it to cover 25 million Afghans – as mentioned in the book ‘First Platoon: A Story of Modern War in The Age of Identity Dominance’.

With Taliban in control of Afghanistan less Panjshir Valley, hunting down the al-Qaeda and ISKP should not be difficult but the US never wanted that knowing they are blood brothers. That is why the charade of a one-time ‘mother-of-all-bombs’ and recent drone strike in Nangahar. Taliban and ISKP are both related to Uncle Sam though the US would like us to believe that ISKP has rabies while Taliban follow peace on Vatican’s advice. But when two wild beasts are fighting, what will they do when they see a common enemy?

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, general secretary Hezbollah, says the US military is lifting ISIS terrorist from Iraq-Syria to Afghanistan by helicopters to create a hot bed of tensions directed against Russia, China and Central Asia.

Above is not the first time that ISIS fighters have been inducted into Afghanistan through Pakistan. Concurrently, America says that Taliban is being empowered to kill ISKP. There is speculation Washington is getting ready to ‘help’ Taliban by unfreezing part of $7 billion Afghan funds to pay for ‘weapons and spare parts’. Who will put the affected equipment on road – the US, Pakistan, or Turkey?

According to an agreement with the Afghan Taliban, Turkey and Qatar are to jointly manage the international airport in Kabul, and Ankara will provide security through a private firm after US troops exit Afghanistan. Knowing the Turkey-Pakistan radical connect, the ‘private security firm’ in all probability would comprise well-trained Turkish mercenaries to support Taliban.

Finally, the US has certainly not left behind some $92 billion worth of military equipment including half a million small arms and explosives, 200 functional top-of-the-line aircraft, over 70,000 humvees and biometric data by default; which could have been destroyed over the months. No doubt curtailing Russian and Chinese influence is the aim but US also knows that Pakistan will have access to this armament. It would be naïve to think the US does not want to create instability in India as well. In fact, India forced into war with Pakistan and China will suit the US even better.

No doubt curtailing Russian and Chinese influence is the aim but US also knows that Pakistan will have access to this armament. It would be naïve to think the US does not want to create instability in India as well. In fact, India forced into war with Pakistan and China will suit the US even better.

Lt. Gen. Prakash Katoch is a veteran of Indian Army. Views expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of https://strategicaffairsindia.in

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