The crisis chaired by Joe Biden in Afghanistan finally got out of control with the double attack on Thursday (26) in Kabul, and the American president will probably find himself forced into an unthinkable alliance with the Taliban for days.
There is, after all, a declared common enemy: the Islamic State of Khorasan, the Afghan branch of the monster created by another post-9/11 US withdrawal, that of Iraq.
Of course, this is neither a simple nor necessarily logical process, much less with mutual animosity. But in practice, the carnage favors the next moves of the two sides which seemed to oppose alone in the country, the United States with its allies and the Taliban.
This reality seemed etched on Biden’s face during his speech and press conference on the episode, in which at least 60 Afghans and 12 US soldiers died.
The President was paler than usual and somewhat stunned. He sticks to protocol, honors the dead, insists he does not rush out of Afghanistan after 20 years of war and promises revenge.
Then things get tough, in a scenario that has seen the Taliban, after so many terrorist attacks, have to condemn an attack in the city they now dominate. You can tie any turban.
Not that EI-K is a friend, on the contrary. Having emerged after the establishment of the branch that dominated parts of Syria and Iraq, the group espouses an even more radical version of jihadist Islam than the Taliban themselves.
By definition, the group that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 did not come up with a holy war against the West like its friends al-Qaeda and even more violent offshoots like ISIS. The Taliban wanted power, representing a significant part of the majority ethnic group in a multi-faceted country.
For the West and its media, it was too complex. Better to put all bearded men in one basket and call them terrorists, even if they were brave “freedom fighters” during the years they were shooting the Soviets.
The multiplicity of groups and loyalties has always made America’s job difficult, as have the many instances where the CIA helped arm sworn enemies of the United States after 9/11. ISIS, whether parent or branch, seeks internationalism in its actions because it believes the West is evil.
Without a possible base in its former territories in the Levant, mainly thanks to Vladimir Putin’s intervention in Syria in 2015, the group is located in parts of Afghanistan. Unlike Al Qaeda in 2001, however, he is not welcome.
Now, the straw will have to be separated from the other straw, since there is no wheat in this dispute.
This represents an opportunity for the Taliban. Only the group can actually fight IS-K more effectively, as it has already done. Terrorist entities fight on the ground, not just with fighter-bombers and drones.
Moreover, the tragedy allowed extremists to admonish the United States, in a “hate to say I told you so” about the risks of the chaotic evacuation of Kabul. What phase, the cliché would say.
Not that they were worried, given that the key for the Taliban is to see foreigners leave the country as quickly as possible and be recognized as a government in the same way. This is not easy, of course, especially with the proof that his brutality towards women and his opponents remains intact.
But with a worse demon in the room, perhaps America will have to resort to the old devil, which will have a deleterious effect yet to be measured for a Biden who has already treated recklessly the misfortune of those who have clung to their hearts. fleeing planes.
If the blood spilled can be useful to the Taliban, it indicates on the other hand that a new period is beginning. IS-K doesn’t appear to have the structure to start a civil war or fight for power, but it could turn the lives of new leaders into hell.
Biden, on the other hand, sees himself at most plunged into the crisis, he can take the opportunity to immediately complete his withdrawal, scheduled for the 31st. Bad luck, as always, will be for the Afghans who will be left behind.
The damage of his “Saigon plus moment” remains to be quantified, but the succession of the president’s errors will hardly go unnoticed, no matter how much one puts on the progressive amnesia of the public before a fairy newspaper.
Ultimately, America’s longest war could end not only in defeat, but also in a tactical alliance with the victor. Will Taliban soldiers soon transmit coordinates with laser markers to US drones? Hollywood will have a hard time explaining this.