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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Ayman al-Zawahiri assassination: The Taliban’s biggest crisis | Aljazeera

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The death of al-Zawahri has caused an internal legitimacy issue for the Taliban.

The drone assault that killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has precipitated an internal crisis within the Taliban. The organization has been humiliated by a unilateral US military operation, and its persistent assertions that it has denied “terrorists” space have been revealed as falsehoods. This threatens two contradicting primary objectives of the Taliban: maintaining the credibility of the group’s rank-and-file and gaining desperately needed financial aid. Taliban might face fresh challenges from Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) if they do not adopt a hardline stance against the United States. ISKP has already benefited from al-Zawahiri’s death since one of its most formidable adversaries has been destroyed.

But it may also acquire propaganda traction by blaming the Taliban for failing to foresee the attack or even participating in it. Numerous Taliban commanders are undoubtedly enraged that his presence has exposed the organization to profound humiliation and a possible internal legitimacy crisis. He asserts that forces advocating more pragmatic and conciliatory approaches may have a chance to seize power, but hardliners will not budge. The Taliban’s internal conflicts might grow corrosive and represent a significant danger to governance and political authority if they become all-consuming, providing the door for forming new armed opposition organizations. In the worst-case scenario, the missile that killed al-Zawahiri may rip the Taliban apart. In almost thirty years, the Taliban have never faced a crisis of this magnitude.

Source: https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2022/8/5/ayman-al-zawahiri-assassination-the-talibans-biggest-crisis

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