Two years after the abrupt departure of US forces from Kabul, Afghanistan is teetering on the brink of civil war. Factionalism within the Taliban has become increasingly apparent, and the nation is rapidly transforming into a haven for foreign terrorists, as stated by a former Afghan commander.
In an interview with PTI, Lt. Gen. Haibatullah Alizai, who served as the chief of staff for the Afghan army when Kabul fell to the Taliban in August 2021, expressed grave concerns about the critical and perilous situation unfolding in Afghanistan. He currently resides in the United States and has recently initiated an effort to unite Afghans living outside the country.
Blaming the Biden administration for the sudden withdrawal from Afghanistan, the former Afghan commander expressed deep dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs in the country. He noted that the number of terrorist organizations in Afghanistan has expanded under the Taliban's rule, even attracting groups like Al-Shabaab from Africa, which have established a presence and are training militants in Afghanistan.
Alizai warned of the increasing activity of Al-Qaeda and Daish (ISIS) in Afghanistan and the emergence of various resistance groups against the Taliban regime in different regions, potentially leading to another severe civil war or even a possible fragmentation of Afghanistan.
Responding to questions, Alizai emphasized that Afghanistan, under the Taliban's control, is on its way to becoming a safe haven for terrorists. He criticized the hasty decision-making of the Biden administration and suggested that a more thorough assessment of the situation on the ground should have been conducted before the withdrawal.
Alizai, who hails from Helmand province and has an extensive background in Afghan security and military operations, highlighted the complex dynamics within the Taliban, noting the existence of four main factions: Kandhari Taliban, Helmandi Taliban, the Haqqani group, and those involved in negotiations in Doha with the US. He pointed out that power struggles and dissent within the Taliban are providing an opportunity for Daish to expand its influence within Afghanistan.
Despite the Taliban's control over parts of the country, Alizai contended that they are not in a strong position overall, and internal divisions within the group have worsened. This fractious environment has contributed to instability, enabling other extremist groups to gain ground within Afghanistan.