September 9, 2021 - 9:01 pm
President Joe Biden’s actions in Afghanistan have increased our country’s vulnerability to future terror attacks. Just look at its new government.
On Tuesday, the Taliban announced the leaders of the new interim government of Afghanistan. Interim Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund faces sanctions from the UN. The U.S. government has designated the Haqqani network as a terrorist group. Two of its members are part of the new government. The FBI has a $10 million bounty on new acting interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani. The FBI’s bounty on Khalil Haqqani, now acting minister for refugees, is $5 million.
The five Taliban prisoners former president Barack Obama traded for deserter Bowe Bergdahl are all in leadership too. Four are in the national government, including roles as acting intelligence director and acting minister of information and culture. The fifth is a provincial governor.
This didn’t sit well with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“Despite professing that a new government would be inclusive, the announced list of names consists exclusively of individuals who are members of the Taliban or their close associates, and no women,” he said Wednesday.
One might have the thought the presence of so many known and wanted terrorists would have topped Mr. Blinken’s list of concerns, not the lack of gender diversity. Women will be fortunate to have basic human rights, like going outside without a burqa or continuing their education, let alone serving in government. On Wednesday, Taliban members used whips to subdue women who were protesting the new government.
Those abuses may not concern some Americans. But the Taliban’s growing strength isn’t just a threat to the Americans still stranded in Afghanistan.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he’s waiting to see “whether or not al-Qaeda has the ability to regenerate in Afghanistan.”
“The Taliban is not known for trying to deny space to its militant partners in the country, with the exception of ISIS-K, which is their rival,” Michael Kugelman, deputy director for South Asia at the Wilson Center, said to CNBC. He noted the Haqqani network, which has leaders in the new government, “has been implicated in some of the most mass casualty horrific terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.”
A recent Trafalgar poll found that Americans overwhelmingly think that Mr. Biden’s botched Afghanistan withdrawal made it more likely the country will see another 9/11-style attack. The margin was 56.8 percent to 19.5 percent.
As the new government shows, they’re correct.