Kabul (CNN)A raid on a remote village in Afghanistan kills an ageing al Qaeda leader wanted by the FBI. Messages to the group’s cells around the world are seized. Two drone strikes on militants in northwest Syria swiftly follow.Details of a little-publicized October raid targeting a senior al Qaeda militant, Husam Abd-al-Rauf, in the Afghan province of Ghazni have revealed how the terror group continues to thrive in Afghanistan under Taliban protection, and remains connected to its other franchises across the globe, according to accounts provided by Afghan intelligence officials to CNN
The operation against al-Rauf netted al Qaeda messages between Afghanistan and Syria, one Afghan official said. Two rare US strikes against al Qaeda militants in Syria’s Idlib province followed in the ten days afterwards, although US officials played down any connection.The previously undisclosed details of the al-Rauf raid contribute to a picture of how tight al Qaeda’s bonds with the Taliban are, according to one senior Afghan intelligence official speaking to CNN. It is “now much deeper than we think,” the senior official said. “It is not only now an ideological connection, it’s also a family connection. There are intermarriages. And that is impossible for Taliban to stop, and to not allow [al Qaeda] to do something outside” the country.
The official said al Qaeda is given sanctuary by the Taliban in exchange for expertise in fund-raising and bomb-making. The terrorists “collect money from different parts of the world and give it to the Taliban,” the official explained. “They train suicide bombers and help them in strategic thinking. In return, the Taliban provide them shelter.”
That assessment from Afghan officials, and the details they provided of al Qaeda in Afghanistan’s connectivity with cells around the world, will make uncomfortable reading for the Biden administration as the US troop withdrawal gets underway. President Joe Biden has staked much of his plan to get out of America’s longest war on the terror group no longer being a threat to Americans from Afghanistan. When announcing the withdrawal, he said that the US had gone to Afghanistan to be sure it could “not be used as a base from which to attack our homeland again.” With al Qaeda “degraded,” it had “accomplished that objective,” he maintained.
News source- CNN