I heard the blast.
And again, the Taliban take credit, and again, they were probably not the drivers for the attack. LeT, with probable involvement from the ISI, are the ones with the gripes and concerns about the Indians in Afghanistan. Why would the Taliban care about Indian involvement in Afghanistan?
Because Pakistan cares.
Why would the Taliban claim responsibility? Because it makes them look powerful. Perhaps they were involved… and if they were, then the ties between the Taliban and external groups, under question at the moment, are still vibrant. Those of us here in country really don’t doubt that. It’s others, for whom the argument that the Taliban are really a single-issue organization, who would benefit from wide acceptance of the idea that the Taliban really only exist because we are here, or because they are only interested in Afghanistan.
Try this on from the Summer of 2001:
Usama bin Ladin’s Role
The Taliban’s increasing internationalism is particularly exemplified by its grant of safe haven to Usama bin Ladin. Bin Ladin had been active in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation but left after the Red Army’s withdrawal. When he returned to the country in 1996, he first settled in an area neutral in the war between the United Front and the Taliban, though he and the Taliban quickly developed a mutual affinity, prompting bin Ladin to establish a new base for himself at the movement’s headquarters in Kandahar. The Taliban have claimed that they have prevented him from playing any role in terrorism. (Contrarily, the U.S. government holds him responsible for the 1998 embassy bombings in East Africa and likely the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen.)
Yet it is certain that bin Ladin himself has become increasingly radicalized while with the Taliban. He issued his most notorious anti-American fatwa (decree) in 1998, calling on his followers to kill any American—civilian or military, adults or children—anywhere in the world. Also in 1998, it became known through an intercept of bin Ladin’s satellite telephone calls, that he was linked to the embassy bombings in East Africa. The Taliban responded that they had taken away his communications equipment.
Apart from this, much has been rumored but little proven about bin Ladin’s activities inside Afghanistan and the exact nature of his relationship with the Taliban. Taliban leader Mullah ‘Umar may have married one of bin Ladin’s daughters. Pakistani papers at times have reported that bin Ladin visits Taliban troops on the front lines and the wounded in hospitals. He is also believed to have given money directly to the Taliban for their war and to have financed a so-called “bin Ladin brigade” of at least several hundred foreign fighters.25 He has also aided these fighters through the distribution of his “terrorist encyclopedia,” which has been found on some of the Taliban killed or captured by the United Front.26 United Front military leaders claim that bin Ladin has offered rewards for their assassination.27
Bin Ladin’s links also help the Taliban in other ways. For instance, it is conceivable that as Taliban leaders have become increasingly involved in the drug trade, bin Ladin’s international network may have helped them in distributing these narcotics. Numerous terrorist-affiliated websites are certainly active in soliciting funds for the Taliban.28 As a symbol of defiance toward the United States and of adherence toward the cause of militant Islam, bin Ladin is also valuable to the Taliban as a source of donations from abroad, particularly from the wealthy Arab countries of the Persian Gulf.
Where the Taliban end and bin Ladin’s Al-Qa‘ida organization begins is difficult to determine. Both the Taliban and Al-Qa‘ida are perhaps best viewed as links in the same chain of the international terrorist network. The Taliban have created an indispensable haven in Afghanistan, a base where extremists like bin Ladin and others can meet and plan future attacks in relative safety. The paramount importance of the Taliban’s connection with bin Ladin is best described by the bin Ladin-affiliated website Azzam.com, which argues in a Taliban fundraising appeal that “the fall of an Islamic Afghanistan … will be a calamity that will make other Muslim calamities look like nothing in comparison.”29
It’s amazing how a linkage that was only too clear to some prior to 9/11 is somehow now an absurdity. Has al Qaeda been disrupted? Clearly, yes. Have they been destroyed? Clearly, no. For linkage, just wondering here, if the Afghan in Colorado who has admitted to a terror plot inside the United States would be working completely alone and without any support, training, assistance, organizational or information support, or if there is some kind of distributed support network that he has some access to. Just wondering. Also wondering why this doesn’t bring home the concept that Afghanistan and those who it can harbor are and can be a threat to the internal security of the United States.
Could this guy just be a terrorist mastermind working alone and without a net? Could he be a Wallenda of terror? Yes, I suppose it is possible, but that’s not the greatest possibility now, is it?
So, while we have some who are assuring us that al Qaeda has been whittled down to perhaps… and this seems to be the consensus… about 100 people, we have two little items of note in the very recent past that bring that contention into a bit of doubt. What would be the purpose, I wonder? Who would benefit from the public somehow buying into the myth of al Qaeda irrelevance?