In a statement issued on the eighth anniversary of the US and NATO invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban who composed the government at the time of the invasion insisted that they pose absolutely no threat to any other country.
“We had and have no plan of harming countries of the world, including those in Europe,” the statement insisted. At the same time, they vowed to continue to resisted the international occupation in what has become an increasingly bloodly insurgency.
The invasion of Afghanistan was ostensibly aimed at al-Qaeda forces that were, at the time, located inside the country. Yet al-Qaeda is largely gone from Afghanistan, spread across the world and fighting on dozens of different fronts.
Instead, the international forces are left propping up an Afghan government of increasingly dubious legitimacy, and engaging in long-term nation building projects.
The Taliban’s attempts to reassure are likely aimed mostly at the NATO allies with smaller commitments, as the US seems content to continue the war more or less forever. Yet the Taliban’s message may be a powerful one, considering that following the end of the Soviet occupation Afghan terrorists weren’t swarming through the streets of Moscow, and the war’s continuation is being sold principally on the premise that a pullout would lead to more attacks in Europe and North America.