Washington: Two years after the US forces abruptly left Kabul, Afghanistan is headed towards a civil war, the Taliban is now riddled with factionalism, and the country is fast becoming a safe haven for foreign terrorists, a former Afghan commander has said.
“I believe that the situation in Afghanistan is very critical and dangerous and it’s going in a dangerous direction, which could be a civil war again, or which could be a split to Afghanistan because you see that in last two years Afghanistan has been controlled by the terrorists and it has fallen into terrorist hands,” Lt. Gen. Haibatullah Alizai, who was chief of staff for the army at the time the capital city of Kabul fell to Taliban in August 2021, told PTI in an interview.
Alizai currently lives in the US and has recently launched an initiative to unite Afghans outside the country.
Expressing his deep dissatisfaction over the current situation in Afghanistan, the former Afghan commander blames the Biden administration for abruptly leaving Afghanistan and its people at the mercy of the Taliban.
The number of terrorist organisations in Afghanistan has expanded during the Taliban regime, he said.
Even the African terrorist groups like Al-Shabaab have established a foothold in Afghanistan and they have started training its militants, he alleged. “And everything is happening under the rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan,” he said.
“This is the situation. Al-Qaeda is active. Daish is getting more and more active and a lot of resistance groups are being announced and established against the Taliban regime in different parts, which will of course lead Afghanistan to another serious civil war or possible split (of Afghanistan),” Alizai said.
Responding to a question, Alizai said that Afghanistan under the Taliban is headed to become a safe haven for terrorists.
“I think the Biden administration made a big mistake at that time, or especially Biden himself. He had the opportunity to collect more information about Afghanistan and a little bit more deep dive into the situation in Afghanistan. But the decision was so prompt, so quickly and even without thinking deeply about the current situation that’s going on in Afghanistan,” he said.
“However, we as Afghans and his administration, some organisations like Intel organisations and military even they told him that this is going to be a chaos. .. because we were on the ground and we were watching everything from a closed lens. Unfortunately, he never listened to anybody, the administration didn’t listen to anybody and the situation, now you see where is it?” he said.
“And if they don’t listen after this as well, I can tell you that Afghanistan is going to be worse than even before 2001,” Alizai warned.
A native of Helmand province, Alizai attended the National Police Academy in Kabul and the Advanced Command and Staff Course Defence Academy of the United Kingdom.
First serving Afghanistan as a police officer, he focused on internal investigations for insider threats and championed humanitarian efforts for persons in custody.
Transferring to the National Directorate for Security, he was meritoriously promoted to Colonel and served as Director of Operations for the Joint Special Operations Coordination Centre.
Given his successful tenure, he was asked to join the Ministry of Defence as Director General for Military Operations where he consolidated organisations that previously operated in a silo.
Streamlining success, he took command serving as 209th Northern Army Corps and later Afghan Special Operations Corps Commander to quell the Taliban Northern offensive amid the Afghanistan War.
As the Chief of General Staff for the Afghanistan Ministry of Defence from August 11-15, Alizai provided critical leadership to manage the crisis during his position as Chief of General Staff.
He continued to lead from Hamad Karzai International Airport, supporting evacuation efforts until the US Military airlift ceased.
According to Alizai, the Taliban don’t control the entire country. The Taliban are in a worse position, he said.
There are four factions in Taliban: Kandhari Taliban, Helmandi Taliban; Haqqani group and those that went to Doha and did the negotiation with the US.
“Everyone is claiming power and some of the groups inside Taliban are not happy with the decisions that Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada is taking and how he is personalising everything for himself and just his own circle,” he said.
On the other side Maulvi Mansoor, which are called Helmandi Taliban, most of them have been killed in the last two years. The infighting within the Taliban is giving Daish a chance to expand its foothold inside Afghanistan, he said.