News & Politics

Top Bin Laden Commander Returns to Afghanistan in Triumph

Top Bin Laden Commander Returns to Afghanistan in Triumph
Image via Twitter

Dr. Amin al Haq, the former head of Osama bin Laden’s Black Guard, returned home in triumph on Monday. The good doctor was welcomed by crowds of adoring Taliban sympathizers.

Dr. al Haq had been in prison in Pakistan until about a decade ago, when the Islamist government released him. This is the first time he’s been seen in public since he went underground after the battle of Tora Bora, where Bin Laden was almost captured.

Long War Journal:

It was not immediately clear if al Haq was returning to his home in eastern Afghanistan for the first time, or if he has been in Afghanistan the entire time since being released from Pakistani custody. He may have also been traversing the porous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Either way, the confidence to travel and operate out in the open – in plain sight for the first time in a decade – speaks to the marked change in Afghanistan over the last month.

Al Qaeda leaders and fighters have been in Afghanistan supporting the Taliban’s insurgency for the past two decades. Pakistan’s cities and the tribal areas have served as safe havens for Al Qaeda over the past two decades.

Al Haq’s return highlights the Taliban’s biggest lie: assurances given to the Trump administration and Joe Biden that it would not establish a safe haven for al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups.

If Dr. al Haq can roam freely in Afghanistan, what’s to stop him from establishing an al-Qaeda base from which the terrorists can plan and execute strikes against western targets, including the United States?

During renewed fighting at Tora Bora in the summer of 2007, which was led by Anwarul Haq Mujahid, the eldest son of Khalis, al Haq was reportedly wounded and fled across the border into Pakistan’s Kurram tribal agency. A large Taliban and Al Qaeda force, which is said to have included Arabs, Chechens, and Uzbeks, battled with Afghan and U.S. forces, raising speculation that bin Laden was in the area.

Al Haq was said to be detained by Pakistani security forces in the city of Lahore in 2008. Lahore is the home of  the Al Qaeda-allied, Pakistan-sponsored terror group that has significant infrastructure in the city. He was reportedly released in 2011, and he subsequently disappeared from public eye until he emerged in Nangarhar today.

Now that we aren’t dependent on Pakistan for facilitating Afghanistan resupply missions, perhaps we can finally call the Pakistanis out for their support of terrorists and terrorism.

Pakistan, an impoverished third-world nuclear power, has a terrorism problem of its own. Several terror groups — including the Pakistan offshoot of the Taliban — have been operating in Pakistan’s tribal regions. Of course, al-Qaeda and the Haqqani Network, among many other Islamic terror groups, have received shelter and support from the Pakistan intelligence service, the ISI.

The terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba is an ISI-created organization, funded originally by Osama bin Laden, and operates mostly in the disputed Kashmir region. Pakistan doesn’t mind Lashkar-e-Taiba being based in their country because they target the Indian military based in Kashmir and Indian civilians in their terrorist attacks.

We have been giving Pakistan billions of dollars in economic and military aid since 9/11. Pakistan’s half-hearted attempts to control al-Qaeda and their outright support for the Afghanistan Taliban should disqualify them from receiving any more aid from the U.S.

Related: Joe Biden’s Assurance of Safety in an ‘Over-the-Horizon’ Counterinsurgency Is a False One

The Pakistanis have been playing a double game for decades. It’s time for it to end.