Al Qaeda Isn’t Dead Yet

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has put 9/11’s planners back in the terror cockpit.

The United States, under then-President Donald Trump, made a peace pact in 2020 with the Taliban under the pretense that they would break ties with al Qaeda. It didn’t happen then, it hasn’t happened since, and now the group that blew up the twin towers is enjoying Taliban hospitality while remaining the dominant ideological and operational influence for jihadis from South Asia to North Africa.

U.S. officials, in both the Trump and Biden administrations, saw the Islamic State rather than al Qaeda as the biggest threat to the American homeland. Al Qaeda, it was argued, was a spent force, especially after the forehead-tap elimination of leader Osama bin Laden in a raid by U.S. special forces in Pakistan in 2011.

The reality is that al Qaeda remains the driving force of international terrorism, more than the locally focused Islamic State has ever been, and continues to inspire terrorist groups from Syria and Somalia to Mali and Mozambique.