- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 11, 2021

Now that President Biden is competing with China to see who can buddy up with mass-killing, girl-raping Taliban, it’s a good time to remember how Afghanistan’s rebirth regime played a crucial role in Al Qaeda’s attack on the U.S. on September 11, 2001.

It was a role, President Biden, that America should never forget or forgive.

On Saturday, the U.S. observed the 20th anniversary of 19 al Qaeda terrorists in four commandeered commercial airliners, killing 2,996 innocents in New York City, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pa. 

Is there any futurist a decade ago who predicted that on September 11, 2021, Afghanistan’s power structure would look pretty much the same as it did on 9-11?

The Taliban provided a network of safe-haven bases for that day, including a recruiting office for Osama bin Laden in Kandahar. Without the Taliban infrastructure, al Qaeda could never have successfully trained and deployed operators.

Bin Laden personally chose ring leader Mohamed Atta. He left his German Hamburg cell in 1999 and early 2,000 for crucial face-to-face meetings with bin Laden and 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. “Muscle” hijackers in Afghanistan learned how to slit throats.

Look at Afghanistan 20 years later after the Taliban ousted by force an elected government on Aug. 15.

It is a brewing mix of homicidal maniacs. Al Qaeda, never totally gone, has moved quickly to rebuild its Afghan presence with the arrival of the No. 3 leader. The Haqqani Network, an American-killing operation ensconced with immunity in Pakistan, has moved into Kabul to embed with its dearest friends, the Taliban.

What is even more worrying is the duo of Haqqani/ISIS-Khorasan. While the Taliban fights ISIS-K on occasion, Haqqani maintains an alliance and has helped ISIS-K carry out fatal bombings in Kabul. (An ISIS-K suicide bomber killed 13 American troops on Aug. 26 by penetrating the chaotic Kabul airport teeming with crowds of desperate evacuees.)

If the Biden team plans to cozy up, perhaps even diplomatically recognize, a band of thugs, it should first re-read the 9-11 commission report. It’s a refresher on how the Taliban was complicit in the horrific deaths of Americans who went to work that day or got on a plane. 

Five excerpts: 

  • “Through his relationship with [late Taliban leader] Mullah Omar—and the monetary and other benefits that it brought the Taliban—Bin Laden was able to circumvent restrictions; Mullah Omar would stand by him even when other Taliban leaders raised objections. Bin Laden appeared to have in Afghanistan a freedom of movement that he had lacked in Sudan.”
  • Al Qaeda members could travel freely within the country, enter and exit it without visas or any immigration procedures, purchase and import vehicles and weapons, and enjoy the use of official Afghan Ministry of Defense license plates. Al Qaeda also used the Afghan state-owned Ariana Airlines to courier money into the country.”
  • “The Taliban seemed to open the doors to all who wanted to come to Afghanistan to train in the camps. The alliance with the Taliban provided al Qaeda a sanctuary in which to train and indoctrinate fighters and terrorists, import weapons, forge ties with other jihad groups and leaders, and plot and staff terrorist schemes.”
  • “While Bin Ladin maintained his own al Qaeda guesthouses and camps for vetting and training recruits, he also provided support to and benefited from the broad infrastructure of such facilities in Afghanistan made available to the global network of Islamist movements. U.S. intelligence estimates put the total number of fighters who underwent instruction in Bin Ladin–supported camps in Afghanistan from 1996 through 9/11 at 10,000 to 20,000.”
  • “In addition to training fighters and special operators, this larger network of guesthouses and camps provided a mechanism by which al Qaeda could screen and vet candidates for induction into its own organization. Thousands flowed through the camps, but no more than a few hundred seem to have become al Qaeda members. From the time of its founding, al Qaeda had employed training and indoctrination to identify ‘worthy’ candidates.”

In a nutshell: the Taliban were essential for 9-11. 

For all of this: a network of bases and guesthouses, expert training in how to circumvent immigration laws, how to make explosives for mass killings, unfettered coming and going––bin Laden paid his Taliban landlords about $20 million annually. 

Mr. Biden’s disastrous withdrawal has provided global jihadists their greatest victory. Afghanistan is a gathering storm –– again. 

And for those who say the commander in chief would never normalize the Taliban, look at his track record. 

As vice president, he was supposed to find a way to negotiate a continued troop presence in Iraq but failed. We left in 2011 and had to rush back in 2014 as ISIS invaded Iraq from Syria and conquered large swaths of Iraq.

On a trip to China in 2011, he delivered a speech that stands as a surrender to communist expansionists. Mr. Biden said he wanted China, which has a national policy of stealing whatever it can from us,  involved in all aspects of American culture, including corporate board rooms. 

His bullish China speech came as son Hunter was in and out of the country looking for Chinese millionaires to fund his investments back home. One of Hunter’s million-dollar Chinese benefactors was accused of corruption and has disappeared.

As president, it took Mr. Biden mere weeks to give Russian President Vladimir Putin his cherished, Europe-dominating Nord Stream II gas line––a project Donald Trump had stopped.

Mr. Biden also placated the murderous mullahs of Iran who like to make life miserable for their neighbors. Iran unleashed the Houthis in Yemen, Hamas in Gaza, and anti-American militias in  Iraq–––all while the Biden team is begging the Iranians to restart Barack Obama’s nuke-weapon Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 

The world’s financially rich and historically murderous Islamic radicals fully expect Mr. Biden to placate the Taliban, too.

• Rowan Scarborough is a columnist at The Washington Times.

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