Sunday, June 16, 2024

Former Afghan Intelligence Chief Sees “Jihadist Utopia” Since U.S. Withdrawal

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SUBSCRIBER+EXCLUSIVE REPORTING — The last Afghan head of intelligence before the 2021 Taliban takeover of Afghanistan believes terrorist groups have regained a foothold in the country, and that conditions there are ripe for what he called a jihadist “utopia.”

In an interview with The Cipher Brief, Ahmad Zia Saraj said the world needed “a wakeup call,” given that more than a dozen regional Islamist terrorist groups have reconstituted operations in Afghanistan since the 2021 U.S. withdrawal and return of Taliban rule. Saraj said the groups had taken advantage of implicit support from the Taliban, the freeing of thousands of prisoners, and a rise in the influence of Islamic seminaries, or madrassahs. 

“The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

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