The risk that al-Qaeda could take advantage of the rise of the Taliban in Kabul, a movement that can be traced back to its galaxy, and try to reorganize itself in Afghanistan, is “very real”. For a new September 11-style attack? Unlikely for the way of “pragmatism” chosen by the organization founded by Osama Bin Laden and for a clear improvement in the counter-terrorism of almost all Western countries. This was stated by Lorenzo Vidino, director of the program on extremism at George Washington University, in an interview with Aki-Adnkronos International a few days after the 20th anniversary of September 11th. “In the last 5-6 years Al-Qaeda has embarked on the path of gradualism and pragmatism. It has understood that if you attack the West then you are attacked and, conversely, if you do not carry out attacks and look after your interests maybe in remote areas the West, tired of wars on terror and losing money and human lives, more or less lets it go “, says Vidino, citing Afghanistan as examples, but not only. This experience has become clear in Syria , underlines the expert, according to which the West began to attack ISIS not when it conquered large areas of the Arab country and Iraq, but when it began to behead Westerners and strike in Europe and the United States. On the contrary, Jabhat al-Nusra, a jihadist formation close to al-Qaeda, managed to take control of Idlib province while maintaining a low profile and “without declaring the birth of the caliphate”. The dynamic was “overt” in Afghanistan, handed over to a “pragmatic-moderate” jihadist group like the Taliban, with a more or less tacit agreement “in an anti-Isis key”, continues Vidino. “The big question is whether the Taliban who came to power with this agreement with the Americans will now base al-Qaeda”, says the expert, who speaks of the first signs of this “not encouraging”, citing the composition of the new government. of Kabul, with a member of the Haqqani clan at the head of the Ministry of the Interior, and the visit of al-Zawahiri’s right-hand man, welcomed with “great pomp”. However, if there are “excellent chances” that al-Qaeda could restructure itself in Afghanistan “it is more difficult to say whether this will lead to new attacks on the West”, a scenario that at the moment does not seem to be a “priority” for the jihadist formation. important reading, highlights the director of the program on extremism at George Washington University, is linked to the possibility that ISIS, which for years has overshadowed al-Qaeda from the propaganda point of view but above all operational, may have a ‘pride’. “An attack in the West brings prestige, these groups must bring results to their audience and that ISIS – as a response to what happened in Afghanistan – can carry out this type of action is very logical. Certainly it can unleash isolated subjects like in New Zealand, while it is more difficult for it to do something like Paris “, specifies. Vidino then tackles the theme of the fight against terrorism and how, in the last 20 years, it has changed, passing from operations to land to targeted raids with drones. The question is whether the strategy implemented is now more effective. “As many mistakes have been made in the war on terrorism, but there is also something good. International protection has greatly improved and also from the point of view of internal security in recent years numerous attacks have been averted. I believe. that operations such as 11/9 are not repeatable – he concludes – Now we have entered a new phase, of targeted actions as explicitly said by Biden. Will this strategy always be good? The defense must change according to the attack “.
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