MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 12th May, 2021) The fear of the return of al-Qaeda (a terrorist group outlawed in Russia) if Washington withdraws troops from Afghanistan is based on delusion that two decades of the US-led war in the country defeated the group, which did not happen, David Swanson, executive director of movement World Beyond War, told Sputnik.
In late April, CNN reported, citing al-Qaeda operatives, that the group will continue waging war against the United States "on all other fronts" unless the American troops are entirely "expelled from the rest of the Islamic world." While the reports claim that the Taliban headquarters in Pakistan and Afghanistan are still linked to al-Qaeda through the "Islamic brotherhood," the Taliban deny they have ties with the militants.
"The fear of al Qaeda making a comeback if the U.S. leaves Afghanistan is based on delusion - not the delusion that things may continue getting worse in Afghanistan; that depends entirely on what Afghans and the world choose to do - but the delusion that the U.S. war of 20 years caused Al Qaeda a setback," Swanson said.
He recalled that at the time of the 9/11 attacks the group "had a few hundred people hiding in caves in one country."
"As a direct result of the U.S. wars that Al Qaeda openly sought to provoke, there are tens of thousands of Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda-style jihadists spread across dozens of nations from Africa to Asia," the activist continued.
When asked whether the reports will influence the US administration's plans to withdraw from the region, he replied that there is no reason to believe that it will affect their thinking.
On May 1, the US officially began its final withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan after 20 years of bloodshed, the deaths of over 2,300 US servicemen and deaths and injuries of hundreds of thousands of Afghan people. US President Joe Biden vowed to complete the withdrawal by a date redolent with meaning for Americans - the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, which sparked the War on Terror announced by then-President George W. Bush.