Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Thursday that the US military has put the Taliban "on notice" not to aid and abet the infamous Al Qaeda terrorist organization.
Austin told reporters during a stop in Kuwait city that, "The whole community is kind of watching to see what happens and whether or not al-Qaeda has the ability to regenerate in Afghanistan."
"The nature of al-Qaeda and (the Islamic State group) is they will always attempt to find space to grow and regenerate, whether it’s there, whether it’s in Somalia, or whether it’s in any other ungoverned space. I think that’s the nature of the organization."
According to the AP, Austin said "We put the Taliban on notice that we expect them to not allow that to happen" when asked about the possibility of an Al Qaeda resurgence in a Taliban-run Afghanistan.
Austin was similarly asked beforehand, "How will the US be able to conduct and stop — conduct operations and stop terrorism threats with only over-the-horizon capabilities?"
"Well, there’s no question that it will be more difficult to identify and engage threats that emanate from the region," Austin said, "but we're committed to making sure that threats are not allowed to develop and create significant challenges for us in the homeland."
There may be another reason, however, that the Taliban will do everything they can to aid Al-Qaeda, being put "on notice" notwithstanding, as the BBC reports:
“Al-Qaeda is bound to the Taliban by a pledge of allegiance — or 'bay'ah' — which was first offered in the 1990s by Osama Bin Laden to his Taliban counterpart Mullah Omar."
"The pledge has been renewed several times since, although it has not always been publicly acknowledged by the Taliban."
"The Arabic word 'bay'ah' is a term meaning a pledge of loyalty to a Muslim leader and is the foundation of fealty between many jihadist groups and their affiliates. It entails obligations for both parties, including obedience by the one offering bay’ah to a leader. Reneging on the pledge is considered a serious offense in Islam."
There has been widespread concern over such the prospect for such a development, even before Afghan's gave a public hero's welcome to a high-ranking Al Qaeda official on Aug. 31 2021.
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