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Global Terrorism This Week – August 1-7, 2022

Terrorism around the globe for the week of August 1-7, 2022: again dominated by Islamist terrorist groups and individuals.

Weekly theme – Afghanistan and Al Qaeda: what’s up?

For those still clinging to the notion that the jihadis running Afghanistan – again! – have miraculously morphed into a kinder, gentler Taliban 2.0, the death of Al Qaeda (AQ) leader Ayman Al Zawahiri in an upscale house in Kabul raises some very awkward questions, starting with: why did the Taliban protect him? Shades of their protection of the Egyptian doctor’s mentor and predecessor Usama bin Laden who called Afghanistan home for a very long time and used his base there to plan 9/11.

The Taliban immediately called the US airstrike that killed Al Zawahiri a ‘violation’ of the Doha Accords, a ‘peace’ agreement signed with former US president Trump which paved the way for the August 2021 US withdrawal from Afghanistan under President Biden. One of the terms of the deal was a promise by the Taliban that Afghan territory would not be used as a launch pad by AQ or Islamic State (ISIS) for attacks against the US.

Um, how does harbouring the AQ leader jive with the Taliban promises? Unless, of course, the Taliban never intended to honour them in the first place. In order words, no Taliban 2.0. Duh!

The fact remains that the Taliban were, are, and most likely will always be in bed with AQ. No one should be surprised that Al Zawahiri was holed up right in the smack of the capital, most probably with their full knowledge and support. One analyst noted that the house where he was staying belongs to the Acting Minister of Interior. Wow! The Taliban are unlikely to do anything to cramp AQ’s style any time soon. Get used to that.

The Taliban had the temerity to claim they had no idea Al Zawahiri was slumming at a place owned by one of their ministers and maintained they are ‘resolved’ to fight terrorism. This blatant lie should remind us that they are not to be trusted on pretty much anything, which makes dealing with them that more difficult.

The more interesting question is what price, if any, does the Taliban pay for their ongoing relationship with AQ? A military invasion is surely not in the cards. The Taliban are desperate for international recognition, and aid, and moves like this will not make anyone want to deal with them. As a consequence, it is the Afghan people, and not the bearded Salafi terrorists, who will continue to suffer.

For that is what happens when jihadis take over (just ask the Iraqis/Syrians/Kurds/Yazidis who endured ISIS rule).

The bottom line for me is that no one should have been surprised by any of this. That some were speaks volumes about certain ‘national security experts’.

In other Afghan news:

Al Zawahiri killing aftermath

Belgium

Burkina Faso

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Ethiopia

Ghana

Iran

Iraq

Kenya

Mozambique

Nigeria

Pakistan

Palestine/Israel

Right wing terrorism

  • Russia’s top court designated the Azov Regiment,  accused of harbouring neo-Nazi and white supremacist ideology, a “terrorist” organisation. The group has officially been integrated into the Ukrainian army: the ruling allows for lengthy prison terms for the members.

Senegal

  • On August 4 the Senegalese government announced it had signed a peace agreement with Casamance rebels – Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) – who have pledged to lay down their arms and work for the definitive return of peace in this region. The MFDC has been waging a low-intensity conflict since 1982, causing several thousand deaths. This conflict remained latent until the launch in January 2021 by the Senegalese army of a major offensive against the rebels.

Somalia

Turkey

Western Europe

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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