A close associate of Osama bin Laden has returned to his home in Afghanistan after 20 years of occupation by the US, just hours before US troops complete their evacuation from the war-torn country by President Joe Biden’s deadline, according to a new report. a video.
Amin ul-Haq, a leading arms supplier to Al Qaeda, returned to his hometown in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province on Monday, just over two weeks after the Taliban completed their lightning-fast offensive to take over almost the entire country.
Ul-Haq led bin Laden’s security when he occupied the Tora Bora cave complex. The two men escaped together when US troops attacked the complex NBC.
The leader of Al Qaeda was assassinated by US troops in Pakistan in 2011.
The video shows a car carrying ul-Haq driving through a checkpoint amid a small crowd.
At one point the car stops and ul-Haq rolls down the window. Seeming admirers crowd the passenger side of the vehicle as men take turns grasping and even kissing the hand of the top Al Qaeda operative.
Two men take a few steps forward along with the slow-moving car to take one next to ul-Haq.
The car is followed by a procession of vehicles carrying heavily armed fighters, some bearing the Taliban flag.
A video appears to show Bin Laden’s deputy Amin ul-Haq returning to his hometown 20 years after fleeing US forces.
When asked about ul-Haq’s return to Afghanistan, the Pentagon told DailyMail.com it does not comment on intelligence matters.
His return in the final hours of the US withdrawal attempt comes after about 122,300 people had been evacuated since late July. About 1,200 people were evacuated on US military and coalition flights as of Monday, bringing the total number of people who have left Kabul since its takeover by the Taliban to 116,700.
The US Treasury Department added ul-Haq to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists in 2001. He is also sanctioned by the United Nations and the United Kingdom.
Since the takeover of the militant group, concerns have been raised that the country would turn into a mature environment for other terrorist organizations to grow.
Intelligence reports estimate a revival of Al Qaeda within 18 to 24 months of the US withdrawal.
“It is almost certain that Al Qaeda will restore a safe haven in Afghanistan and use it to plot terrorism against the United States and others,” former State Department coordinator Nathan Sales told the newspaper. New York Times.
Ul-Haq (left) led Osama bin Laden’s security operation in the Tora Bora mountain complex until the two men fled together after US forces attacked
Days after Kabul fell to the Taliban, Biden falsely claimed that al-Qaeda has “gone” from Afghanistan.
‘What interest do we have in Afghanistan right now, with Al Qaeda gone? We went to Afghanistan with the express purpose of getting rid of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and getting Osama bin Laden. And we did,” the president said at the White House on Aug. 20.
Biden was directly contradicted by his own Defense Department a short time later. Spokesman John Kirby said after his comments that Al Qaeda’s presence in the region is not “significant enough to pose a threat to our homeland” compared to the number in 2001.
A United Nations report from June estimated that there were several dozen to 500 individuals associated with al-Qaeda, with most “core membership” outside Afghanistan.
The report also notes that while communication between Al Qaeda and the Taliban was rare at the time, a UN member state claimed there was “regular communication” in connection with the Taliban’s peace talks with the Trump administration.
In the February 2020 Doha Agreement negotiated by Trump, the Taliban pledged that they would “allow none of its members, other individuals or groups, including Al Qaeda, to use the soil of Afghanistan to protect the security of the United States and its threaten allies. ‘
Joe Biden falsely said Al Qaeda was ‘gone’ on August 20
Ul-Haq’s return comes in the final hours of the US evacuation from Afghanistan
In return, the group secured the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners against the will of the Afghan government, and Trump agreed to withdraw the troops by May 1.
But based on Monday’s video of ul-Haq’s return, the militants appeared to be encouraging and even celebrating the Islamist figure’s return.
Ul-Haq had been a member of Hizb-i Islami Khalis, one of the seven groups fighting against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
He was detained by Pakistani intelligence in 2008 but released in 2011, according to the Daily Telegram – about half a year after bin Laden was assassinated.
“Amin al-Haq was wrongfully arrested, so the police were unable to prove any allegations of his association with Osama bin Laden and the court released him,” a security source told the outlet.