Taliban back in control: what will be the fallout?
Following their lightning advance in Afghanistan, the Taliban took control of the presidential palace in Kabul on Sunday. US forces still control the capital's airport, where the evacuation of Western nationals and former staff is underway. Commentators fear the reconquest of power by the radical Islamist militia will have dramatic consequences far beyond Afghanistan.
The Taliban's targets are global
The Taliban will not be content with Afghanistan, Večernji list fears:
“It is not certain that the Taliban will halt their advance within the borders of 'their' state. For in the neighbourhood, both immediate and further away, the fight for their 'values' is not over yet. Their claims are global, not local. The Taliban's success in one country increases the risk of instability and terror across the globe. ... At the moment, there is no sign of anyone who would be able to stop the Taliban without a new intervention.”
Migration flows in all directions
“major security problems in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. It will become apparent that not only radicals from Afghanistan will flock to these countries, but also people from there will join the Taliban. It is believed that among the Taliban forces, which a UN report estimates at about 90,000 in total, there are reportedly also some 10,000 foreign fighters, including people from the Central Asian countries. In the north of the country, where mainly Uzbeks and Turkmen live, as well as some Kyrgyz and Tajiks, migration to Turkey could increase.”
Jihadism has a home once more
Novaya Gazeta comments:
“This is a triumph of terror. ... From Monday onwards, all the supposedly already defeated and crushed jihadists will be recruiting new fighters on social networks: it's not over just because they've succeeded in 'defeating' the heartland of the hostile world. All European intelligence services should start carefully translating and analysing the Friday sermons in the mosques whose clerics have been under surveillance for some time. In Afghanistan itself, the establishment of new training camps and the relocation of terrorist organisation headquarters to the country are to be expected. For under the Taliban flag, they can expect comfortable conditions.”
PR victory for International of Terrorism
The Tagesspiegel also warns:
“The militant Islamist scene, an 'International of Terrorism', will celebrate this as a victory over the despised West. They will rejoice that even America, the 'great devil' has been brought to its knees - especially shortly before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. ... There couldn't have been better PR for their own cause. Millions of dissatisfied people, those many angry people in the Muslim world who feel oppressed by the West - they will follow the Taliban's success story closely and applaud it. ... There will be a heavy price to pay for abandoning the Afghan people to the Islamists”
China will step into the vacuum
The Chinese leadership will now assume the role of defender against international terrorism, Les Echos predicts:
“The transfer of power in Kabul is not only a turning point in Afghanistan's history. It is the most serious setback for the West since the Suez crisis of 1956. ... In 1975, after the fall of Saigon, neither Brezhnev's USSR nor Mao's China were able to take full advantage of the US's humiliation, but that won't be the case with Xi Jinping's China today. It will be easy for Beijing to play its cards right now and highlight the contradictions of the United States. To the Taliban, China says, 'Sharia yes, Al-Qaeda no'. Isn't it already presenting itself as a bulwark against Muslim terrorism? And thereby potentially taking us hostage, just as Erdoğan is doing in Turkey with the migrant issue?”