Thousands of inmates, including “former” ISIS and al-Qaeda fighters were released by Taliban from Pul-e-Charkhi prison in the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan.
Afghan government troops surrendered Bagram airbase to the Taliban early on August 15th. The base houses Pul-e-Charki prison, which has around 5,000 prisoners.
It is the largest in Afghanistan and notorious for its poor conditions. A maximum-security cellblock held members of al Qaeda and Taliban, said reports.
Footage published by an independent Afghan news agency, which supports the Taliban, appears to show militants letting the inmates out.
Prisoners leaving Kabul jail after being broken out by Taliban. pic.twitter.com/B84F2UrtEA
— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) August 15, 2021
Acting Afghan Interior Minister Abdul Sattar Mirzakwal said the country will now have a “peaceful transfer of power” to a transitional government led by the Taliban, the Associated Press reported.
This came before the Taliban announced a “general amnesty” for all government workers, who should return to work in the Taliban government-to-be.
This release of various terrorists was an even more “general amnesty”, as now all sorts of radicals are roaming around Afghanistan, doing who knows what.
Additionally, prior to the Taliban taking control of Afghanistan, US officials were concerned of an al-Qaeda resurgence on its soil.
In an interview in July after he took over as head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie said Al Qaeda is still a principal focus of the U.S. military in the region.
“What we’re here for is to prevent Al Qaeda and ISIS from being able to reconstitute in the ungoverned spaces, generally of eastern Afghanistan, and be able to plot attacks against our homeland,” McKenzie said in the capital, Kabul. “That threat is still here today.”
McKenzie said U.S. counterterrorism forces had made it impossible for Al Qaeda to regenerate and carry out its plans against the West.
“If that pressure comes off, I believe they’re going to regenerate,” he said. “And I think it’s only a matter of time before we see them assert themselves and begin to plan attacks against our homeland.”
With Al Qaeda in a rebuilding phase in Afghanistan, it is difficult for it to reorganize quickly, the senior U.S. officials said. And while the Al Qaeda ideology emphasizes attacks against the Western world, that is not the current strategy for its fighters in Afghanistan, the senior U.S. officials said.
“They’re emphasizing this idea that let’s get our local houses in order in order to consolidate our positions,” a senior U.S. official told NBC news. “And then we will think about global jihad, because that’s still on their minds.”
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