When the Taliban took over Afghanistan last year, many expressed genuine fear that the country might again become a safe haven for terror groups, in particular Al Qaeda. Prior to the Taliban coming to power, the US had signed a deal with them. The Taliban had given assurance that they would not allow any terror groups to use Afghanistan’s soil for terrorist activities. But just within a year of the Taliban coming to power, one of the most wanted men of the world, Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed by the US in his hideout in Kabul in a high-precision drone strike. He was living in Kabul. The killing of Zawahiri has exposed the Taliban regime and the world has come to the hard reality that the Taliban still continues to support terrorist organisations.
Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri was one of the masterminds behind the 9/11 terror attacks. His death in his hideout in Kabul in a high-precision drone strike by the United States forces has dealt the biggest blow to the terror group since its founder Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011 near Islamabad. The operation to locate and kill him was the result of careful and persistent work by the counter-terrorism and intelligence community and comes as a big boost for the global war on terror. The fact that top leaders of Al Qaeda found safe havens in the national capital of Afghanistan proves that he had the patronage from the ruling elite. The development also has a bearing on India as the intelligence agencies were concerned over the recent resurfacing of a video in which Zawahiri spoke on the hijab controversy and asked Indian Muslims to fight what he called the “assault on Islam, using the media intellectually and with weapons on the battlefield.” Zawahiri’s presence in Kabul shows that the terror infrastructure is still active in Afghanistan, and the Taliban are providing a safe haven. This is a worrying factor for India, which is looking to establish normal ties with the Taliban regime through cautious outreach.