Three Surprising Facts About Today’s Afghanistan

A Taliban fighter is pictured against the backdrop of Taliban flags installed at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on September 11, 2021. (Photo by Karim SAHIB / AFP) (Photo by KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images)
KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images

It’s been more than two years since the United States abandoned its allies in Afghanistan.

While America seems to have moved on from this dark page of history, many of our veterans have not. Veteran volunteer groups like Moral Compass Federation continue to sound the alarm, because the terror warning dashboard light on Afghanistan is now blinking red.

As we enter this turbulent election year, a serious national security threat of global terrorism has been eclipsed by sensational civil trials and unprecedented partisan mudslinging. In order to bring the terror threat into sharp focus this election year, here are three things that might surprise you about Afghanistan:

An Estimated 20 Terror Groups Are Operating In Afghanistan

The son of Osama bin Laden, Abdallah bin Laden, has been spotted as recently as 2023 in Ghazni and Kandahar Provinces. Is he enjoying the tourist season in Afghanistan? Doubtful. A new report from the UN Security Council paints a grim picture of terror threats in Afghanistan. ISIS-K currently presents the greatest threat. They are assessed by the UN intelligence community as capable of projecting effective terror threats on a global level. Al-Qaeda is also re-generating rapidly from a strategic messaging entity to an operational force. While they only possess a regional capacity at the moment, they have aspirations (and the potential) to strike on a global scale. This is evidenced by the fact that Al-Qaeda has reportedly opened eight new training camps in Afghanistan. There are also five Al-Qaeda sponsored madrasas inside Afghanistan’s borders where thousands of future terrorists are radicalized for future strikes, regionally and globally.

The State Department Sends $80 Million To The Taliban Every 10-14 Days

According to the UN, there’s been more than $2 billion sent to the Taliban since the collapse. While the Biden administration contends that these funds are used for humanitarian aid, veterans’ groups and intelligence insiders assert that much of this money gets funneled into other nefarious uses, including into madrassas. More than two million students have graduated from these institutions of radicalization since the collapse in Afghanistan. There is little to no external oversight inside Afghanistan to ensure this foreign aid is applied responsibly, and not for terrorist activities. In fact, John Sopkos, Director of the Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said in a recent 2023 Congressional Testimony that he “cannot assure this committee or the American taxpayer [that] we are not currently funding the Taliban.” 

A Small Group Of Afghans Are Actively Resisting The Taliban

The NRF is led by Ahmad Massoud, the son of the slain Northern Alliance Leader, Ahmad Shah Massoud, killed by Al-Qaeda suicide bombers just before the attacks on September 11, 2001. As Afghanistan collapsed, resistance fighters consolidated in the Panjshir Valley of Northeast Afghanistan to make their stand against the oppressive Taliban rule. It hasn’t been easy. The NRF has almost no external support. The State Department refuses to officially engage the political wing of the NRF, opting instead to push for engagement with the Taliban — a group who practices a neanderthal version of “gender apartheid” on a grand scale. Yet the NRF conducts determined attacks against the Taliban and their Al-Qaeda Allies. The resistance is the only force attempting to disrupt otherwise unfettered terror activity in this safe haven we created by our irresponsible exit. Many veterans, concerned with the growing terror threat in Afghanistan have voiced their support for the NRF in an organization called Vets4NRF.

The abandonment of our Afghan Allies of 20 years heaped a moral injury on an entire generation of American Veterans who voluntarily fought the longest war in American History. This violation of a strict veteran code of never abandoning our allies by our political, diplomatic, and senior military leaders has resulted in increased mental health issues across the veteran community. It has also contributed to recruiting and retention issues in the military.

We shouldn’t turn the page on Afghanistan. If we do, our enemies have a vote in the outcome, and they’ll make us pay for it. Veterans serve as our moral compass when institutional leadership fails. They should get loud this election year. They should continue to demand support for our at-risk and highly vetted allies. Helping our Afghan Allies, helps our veterans.

We also need Americans to bring the growing threat in Afghanistan back onto the main stage this election year. The NRF isn’t looking for American boots on the ground. Perhaps instead of cutting those 40-million-dollar-a-week checks to the Taliban, we should send them to the only outfit that’s directly standing up to terrorism, the NRF.

Because if we stay on this current path of directly financing terror groups and pretending the Taliban will behave in our best interest, there will be American boots on the ground, only they’ll be worn by our children.


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Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Scott Mann is a former U.S. Army Green Beret with tours all over the world including Colombia, Iraq, and multiple tours in Afghanistan. He is a warrior storyteller and the founder of Rooftop Leadership and the author of the instant New York Times Best-Seller, Operation Pineapple Express. He has since founded Operation Pineapple Express Relief, a 501c3 to help support the emergency needs of our Afghan allies such as safe passage out of Afghanistan, plus unforeseen resettlement needs.

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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