Osama bin Laden’s security chief Amin al Haq makes triumphant return to Afghanistan as US pulls out

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The former security chief of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden has made a triumphant return to Afghanistan, fueling fears that the country is set to once again become the global epicenter of Islamist terrorism.

Video footage posted on social media appears to show Amin al Haq, the former head of al-Qaeda’s elite black guard, returning to his home province of Nangarhar in a white SUV and accompanied by a large contingent of armed Taliban fighters. Apparent supporters rushed to the vehicle to greet it, while others appeared to take photos and video of the return.

Bilal Siwary, an Afghan journalist working in the UK, posted the footage to Twitter shortly after the last US troops left the country on Monday, although it was not entirely clear when the video was taken. Nangarhar fell to the Taliban several weeks ago.

After being taken prisoner in Pakistan in 2008, it is believed that Mr. al Haq was released about ten years ago. It is not known where exactly he has been in the past 10 years, but some US analysts say it is telling that he has resurfaced so quickly in Afghanistan and that he and his supporters are comfortable with it. be seen in public.

“The confidence to travel and operate in the open – in plain sight for the first time in a decade – is a testament to the marked change in Afghanistan over the past month,” said Bill Roggio, senior researcher at the Foundation. in defense of the democracies that closely follows the war in Afghanistan, wrote in an analysis Monday night.

The figure of Al Qaeda served as Bin Laden’s security chief during the Battle of Tora Bora in December 2001, a key moment in the United States’ quest to capture Bin Laden after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan. Bin Laden was finally killed at a compound in Pakistan in 2011.

Mr. al Haq has also found his way to Pakistan. He would have crossed the border in 2007 before being taken prisoner in 2008. It is not known where he went after his release in 2011, according to specialists.

Critics say a resurgence of al-Qaeda is probably the inevitable result of President Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. The withdrawal officially ended on Monday when the last American planes took off from Kabul International Airport.

Several hundred Americans remained in Afghanistan.

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