•   
  •   
  •   

World The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan could reshape counterinsurgencies in Africa, experts say

10:51  05 october  2021
10:51  05 october  2021 Source:   cnbc.com

UN and Afghanistan's Taliban, figuring out how to interact

  UN and Afghanistan's Taliban, figuring out how to interact It's been little more than a month since Kalashnikov-toting Taliban fighters in their signature heavy beards, hightop sneakers and shalwar kameezes descended on the Afghan capital and cemented their takeover. Now they’re vying for a seat in the club of nations and seeking what no country has given them as they attempt to govern for a second time: international recognition of their rule. The Taliban wrote to the United Nations requesting to address the U.N. General Assembly meeting of leaders that is underway in New York. They argue they have all the requirements needed for recognition of a government. The U.N.

  • The shift in power comes at a critical juncture for the so-called war on terror for the governments of countries like Somalia, Mali, Mozambique and Nigeria, and the Western powers that support them.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron announced in July that the 5,000-strong troop presence in the Sahel would end in the first quarter of 2022.
GAO, Mali - A Eurocopter Tiger (Eurocopter EC665 Tigre) helicopter (L) is seen at the French Military base in Gao, in northern Mali on November 8, 2019. © Provided by CNBC GAO, Mali - A Eurocopter Tiger (Eurocopter EC665 Tigre) helicopter (L) is seen at the French Military base in Gao, in northern Mali on November 8, 2019.

The Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan and the subsequent withdrawal of Western troops was closely watched in many African capitals — and by Islamist insurgent groups on the continent.

Afghanistan is the world's opium king. Can the Taliban afford to kill off their 'un-Islamic' cash cow?

  Afghanistan is the world's opium king. Can the Taliban afford to kill off their 'un-Islamic' cash cow? When the khaki-colored landscapes of Afghanistan are transformed by a patchwork of pink, white and purple each spring, farmers rejoice. Their cash crop of poppies is ready for harvesting. © Emmanuel Duparcq/AFP/Getty Images An Afghan soldier walks through a field of poppies during an eradication campaign in Kandahar province's Maiwand district in 2005. Opium cultivation has long been a source of income for rural communities across the country, a land besieged by decades of war. But for the United States, those same colorful scenes symbolized the enemy.

The shift in power comes at a critical juncture for the so-called war on terror for the governments of countries like Somalia, Mali, Mozambique and Nigeria, and the Western powers that support them.

A media outlet linked to Somali militant group al-Shabab wrote "God is great" following news of the takeover. Meanwhile, the leader of West Africa's Jama'at Nasral-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) jihadist organization drew comparisons between the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and France's planned drawdown of military presence in West Africa's Sahel region.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced in July that the 5,000-strong troop presence in the Sahel — known as Operation Barkhane — would end in the first quarter of 2022. Despite putting a timeline on the end of the main military operation, Macron insisted that France was not withdrawing entirely from its former colonial territories.

With Naming of New Atomic Chief, Is a Nuclear Taliban Possible?

  With Naming of New Atomic Chief, Is a Nuclear Taliban Possible? "There has been no decision so far on the development of nuclear weapons," one Taliban official told Newsweek on the condition of anonymity. But a number of observers took notice last week when a list of official postings for the Taliban's interim government decreed by Taliban Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada and shared by the group's spokespersons identified "Engineer Najeebullah" as "Head of Atomic Energy.

The French deployment began in 2013 as Paris attempted to halt the advance of jihadist groups in Mali, but extremist groups continue to wreak havoc on civilian populations in the conflict-ridden Sahel.

The U.S. and other European nations had also begun withdrawing from the Sahel and other hotspots prior to the fall of the Afghan government. According to the World Food Programme, around 4.6 million people have been displaced in the Sahel as a result of what the UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) has called "intense and largely indiscriminate violence perpetrated by armed actors against civilians."

Now, experts have suggested that the Taliban victory in Afghanistan could inspire militant groups in the region, altering the course of internationally coordinated efforts to fight terrorism.

Psychological boost, but a local battle

"The US, France, and other European powers will slow down planned withdrawals of troops from the Sahel region and other hotspots for insecurity and militancy, and even increase deployments in some regions," Robert Besseling, CEO of political risk consultancy Pangea-Risk, said in a special report last month.

Taliban back brutal rule as they strike for power

  Taliban back brutal rule as they strike for power Afghanistan's ex-rulers still back brutal punishments as they continue a deadly advance towards power.The "ghanimat" or spoils of war they're showing off include a Humvee, two pick-up vans and a host of powerful machine guns. Ainuddin, a stony-faced former madrassa (religious school) student who's now a local military commander, stands at the centre of a heavily-armed crowd.

"Meanwhile, non-traditional military partners, spearheaded by Russia, China, and some Middle Eastern countries, are stepping up engagements on the continent."

Alex Vines, director of the Africa Programme at Chatham House, told CNBC that while developments in Afghanistan had offered a "psychological boost" to jihadist organizations, fragmentation among these militant groups and the regionalized nature of the conflicts, meant tangible benefits were difficult to assess.

"Look at training and recruitment. At the moment, most of the jihadi groups in Africa are mostly about Africa. There are not too many foreign pilgrims coming in from elsewhere," he said.

Chatham House assessed the origins of militants in Mozambique insurgent groups and found that a majority came from Tanzania, Comoros, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the rest of the immediate region, Vines explained.

Mourners attend the funeral of 43 farm workers in Zabarmari, Nigeria, on November 29, 2020 after they were killed by Boko Haram fighters in rice fields near the village of Koshobe on November 28, 2020. © Provided by CNBC Mourners attend the funeral of 43 farm workers in Zabarmari, Nigeria, on November 29, 2020 after they were killed by Boko Haram fighters in rice fields near the village of Koshobe on November 28, 2020.

"When you get into Boko Haram territory, or even Mali, yes, there are North Africans involved in this stuff, but it is difficult to thread it further," he added.

U.S. engagement in Afghanistan: Past, present and future

  U.S. engagement in Afghanistan: Past, present and future CBS News intelligence and national security reporter Olivia Gazis interviews three top former intelligence officials about U.S. engagement in Afghanistan. Panelists Michael Morell, former CIA deputy director and Intelligence Matters host, Michael Vickers, former Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and CIA operations officer, and Philip Reilly, former Chief of Operations at CIA's Counterterrorism Center and Kabul station chief, each weigh in on the implications of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the future of the counterterrorism mission in the region.

However, Vines suggested that the global attention drawn to the issue in light of the Taliban takeover could provide a source of online chatter and inspiration for international recruiters.

"Where I think there is a lot of influence is in the early stages of radicalization, where foreign recruiters are very influential and very dangerous," he said, adding that the internet continues to be a source of "toxicity that can have a lot of influence to put people onto jihadi pathways."

Slowing Western withdrawal

Vines noted that while international intervention led by Rwanda has put Islamist insurgents on the backfoot in Mozambique, U.S. and European Union efforts to reinforce states in the Sahel through military training have been largely ineffective.

Western-trained military forces were behind successive coups in Mali which led to power vacuums in parts of the country that allowed jihadist forces to seize control, he argued in a recent Chatham House article.

Vines said that the international community needed to hear the voices of those directly affected by terrorism and insurgency, with technology offering a link between victims and policymakers, governments and global organizations. This could enable solutions which are "as much African as they are international," he said.

U.S. Warns Taliban That Taking Afghanistan by Force Will Make Them Global Pariahs

  U.S. Warns Taliban That Taking Afghanistan by Force Will Make Them Global Pariahs "Many families have no option but to flee in search of a safer place. This must stop," said the International Committee of the Red Cross's head of delegation in Afghanistan.Khalilzad traveled to Doha, Qatar, where the Taliban holds a political office, to tell the group that there is no point in pursuing overall control of Afghanistan through a military takeover. He hopes this will discourage the Taliban from its ongoing fighting and persuade them to return to peace talks with the Afghan government as NATO forces finish withdrawing from the country.

After domestic political pressure, France has taken steps to shift its engagement in the Sahel from a unilateral to multilateral approach. It has established, for example, the Takuba Task Force, which will focus on the region bordering Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Takuba aims to assist regional security forces in joint operations and offer a rapid response capacity, while conducting direct operations against militant groups.

In its report, Pangea-Risk said the creation of the Task Force Takuba showed there had been "little change" in the strategic approach of Western military powers in Africa. "[It] remains overtly focused on military solutions at the expense of broad social, economic, and political issues."

a group of people standing in front of a military uniform: KIGALI, Rwanda - Rwandan soldiers wait to board a plane for Mozambique in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda, July 10, 2021. The Rwandan government on Friday started deploying a 1000-member joint force of army and police personnel to Mozambique to support efforts to restore state authority in the latter's restive region. © Provided by CNBC KIGALI, Rwanda - Rwandan soldiers wait to board a plane for Mozambique in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda, July 10, 2021. The Rwandan government on Friday started deploying a 1000-member joint force of army and police personnel to Mozambique to support efforts to restore state authority in the latter's restive region.

The social and political issues often exploited by jihadi groups to drive recruitment include high unemployment, impunity and perceived endemic corruption.

"While the presence of additional SOF [special operation forces] personnel as front-line mentors is likely to serve as a force multiplier for regional security forces, contributing to further tactical successes, it will not address this strategic deficit," the report added.

Vines suggested that French operations will likely sharpen their focus on targeting jihadi kingpins, while U.S. presence on the continent will remain focused on containment of growing Russian and Chinese influence.

"The last thing the Americans want is Russian-linked privateers going into Mali and exposing the multilateral and bilateral efforts as not having produced anything," he said.

"Those geopolitical things could well suck the Americans back into some of the places that under Trump, they announced that they were drawing down."

Amid flurry of Taliban diplomacy, Qatar stresses engagement .
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Qatar's foreign minister said isolating Afghanistan and its new Taliban rulers “will never be an answer” and argued Wednesday that engaging with the former insurgents could empower the more moderate voices among them. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani spoke amid a flurry of diplomatic meetings taking place in Qatar, where the Taliban have maintained a political office for years in the lead-up to their takeover of Afghanistan in August. The world has been looking to see how the Taliban transition from two decades of insurgency and war to governance after they seized control of Kabul and the rest of Afghanistan as U.S.

usr: 0
This is interesting!