Resuming Drones

The ‘War on Terror’ continues as the US spearheaded a drone strike a year after its withdrawal from Afghanistan and the rise of the Taliban, killing the leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, as a result. The operation is being lauded as a success in US media and has been labelled to be a source of closure for all 9/11 victims. The Taliban’s condemnation of this violent interference in response is likely to not only fall on deaf ears but reverse progress made on establishing the regime’s legitimacy. Either they have to sever ties with non-state actors and show some proactive action against terror outfits, or be subjected to foreign interference of such nature on a regular basis.
Ayman al-Zawahiri was one of the masterminds behind the 9/11 attacks, thereby making him one of America’s most wanted terrorists. According to details released, the CIA’s counter-terrorism operation was in the works for a long time and it was forced to play its hand when the Taliban were unable to weave out non-state actors as per the 2020 Doha Agreement which stated that bodies like al-Qaeda could not operate on Taliban controlled Afghan soil. The fact that Zawahiri lived freely and in the open was all the evidence that the US needed to assume that ties had not been cut and were rather facilitated by the Taliban. Thus, what had been confirmed through the drone strike was that the US would not shy away from taking action against personal threats even if it has withdrawn from the region.
A spokesperson for the Taliban stated that the attack was a violation of international principles and that it had no legal basis but the international community may not necessarily believe this. The first step forward if the Taliban want to be seen as a legitimate government is to eliminate actors like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS), a promise that has not been a priority as of yet. Otherwise, trust will not be gained and Afghanistan will continue to be treated like a battleground in the fight against extremism.

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