By: The Wall Street Journal –
The Biden Administration and other democracies have been beseeching the triumphant Taliban not to behave like they did when they last ran Afghanistan before 9/11 and harbored al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. On Tuesday the Taliban gave their first response, naming a new government that includes Sirajuddin Haqqani as interior minister.
This is, literally, putting a jihadist terrorist in charge of internal security. Mr. Haqqani is on the FBI’s most wanted list, and the U.S. is offering up to $10 million for information leading to his arrest.
The FBI says it wants to question him in connection with a January 2008 attack on a hotel in Kabul that killed six people, including one American. The Haqqani Network he runs is also accused of plotting a 2011 suicide truck bomb in Wardak province that wounded 77 American soldiers, as well as a 19-hour siege of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul the same year.
The Haqqani Network was founded by his father, who had a close relationship with bin Laden. In 2012 the Obama Administration officially designated the Haqqani Network as a terrorist organization. The ties between the Haqqani Network and al Qaeda are long and extensive, as Seth Jones describes nearby.
“The Haqqanis are considered the most lethal and sophisticated insurgent group targeting US, Coalition, and Afghan forces in Afghanistan,” says a description by the U.S. counterterrorism center. “They typically conduct coordinated small-arms assaults coupled with rocket attacks, IEDs, suicide attacks, and attacks using bomb-laden vehicles.”
Mr. Haqqani will fit comfortably in the new Afghan government led by Taliban supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada. He’s an Islamic fundamentalist who wants to govern the country under strict Shariah law. The new prime minister is Mullah Hassan Akhund, who was foreign minister in the pre-9/11 Islamic Emirate in Kabul. Critics who said the Taliban were never serious about negotiating a power-sharing agreement were right.
These are the men that Secretary of State Antony Blinken and President Joe Biden are counting on to allow the departure of the Americans and Afghan allies who are still trapped in Afghanistan. They are also supposed to prevent jihadists from again using the country as a sanctuary.
In the aftermath of 9/11, George W. Bush declared that the U.S. would no longer distinguish between terrorists and the governments that harbor them. Now, after Mr. Biden’s calamitous withdrawal, the U.S. is in the incredible position of hoping to make a government run by terrorists our partners.
Photo: Taliban members stand near a poster of their leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada in Kabul, Aug. 26. PHOTO: STRINGER/REUTERS