Abstract: African states on the frontiers of the fight against insurgents that appear to share ideological ideals with the Taliban may resolve to implement measures that hinder surprises. Boko Haram has launched attacks in Southern Niger which have claimed the lives of over a dozen soldiers. Comparatively, the presence of Rwandese forces in Mozambique that aid the latter’s army against the emboldened insurgence have yielded some results - reclamation of some areas in Delgado. The Egyptian military accordingly, has been effective at controlling the activities of insurgents. However, within the peninsula, militants remain potent. Libya remains awash with dissidents in the midst of political turmoil that has led rival governments to compete for global recognition. Considering the rise in insurgency on the continent, and what the Taliban take over may communicate to insurgents, African states fighting militants would have to take a number of factors into consideration. These could prove beneficial in evading the South Asian (Afghan) example.
Bottom-line-up-front: After 20 years of occupation, about 2 trillion dollars in investments, US and international military casualties along with tens of thousands of Afghans lives lost, the Taliban have returned with so much uncertainty as to how the future of the country will be. This should serve to be a message to Africa.
Problem statement: How to understand and process the lessons from the Taliban take over in Afghanistan for African leaders and their respective security arrangements in the fight against terrorism?
So what?: Corruption, nepotism, hostile neighborliness, insufficient integration and penetration by legal-rational authority, and over-militarization of the fight against insurgencies are what Africa shares with Afghanistan and which needs review. Thus, Africa states fighting militants within borders and beyond must take a cue from Afghanistan to undertake domestic reforms that will address these ills and challenges. They may look at implementing structural and institutional reforms in the sphere of politics, society and economics that ensure inclusiveness and shared development. Building professional militaries should be prioritized. The Afghanistan example further points to the potency of dialogue as an option in finding political solutions to long-standing macabre conflicts.
State-Building from Near-Scratch
Within a month of the US declaring war on the Taliban in 2001, the group was decimated, its government dislodged and victory declared. Most essentially, Osama bin Laden, the object for which the invasion was required, was on the run. Mullah Mohammed Omar, the stealthy founder and first supreme leader of the group, was similarly missing in action under the heavy bombardment and Blitz ground invasion of the world’s most powerful military force. This is not to posit that Kabul was not defended back in 2001. Nevertheless, the Taliban fighters positioned around Kabul could not withstand the airpower of the US and as such, several were killed.
Eventually, the US took over and started what it saw as state-building from near-scratch. It considered the invasion not only to be a show of power but also liberation to the millions of Afghans who had lived under the ‘brutal’ ‘totalitarian’ rule of the Taliban. The mandatory burqa for women, prohibition of education for girls and the general implementation of a strict form of Islamic law were all considered by the invaders to be abhorrent to the locals. The US reversed the status quo and assisted in installing a ‘liberal’ government dominated by erstwhile exiles who had inculcated in themselves some ‘liberal’ values overseas. The greatest economy on the globe bankrolled the physical and institutional rebuilding of Afghanistan while keeping a significant force with its allies in the country. One noteworthy institutional transformation was with the Afghan military. Billions were injected into building an indigenous force capable of preventing the return of the Taliban. Cumulatively, all of that failed when the group took back Kabul and almost the whole of Afghanistan on August 15 2021 - weeks away from the 20th anniversary since its ouster.
The US reversed the status quo and assisted in installing a ‘liberal’ government dominated by erstwhile exiles who had inculcated in themselves some ‘liberal’ values overseas.
The Taliban’s Return - A Clear Message to Africa
After 20 years of occupation, an estimated expenditure of 2 trillion dollars, US and international military casualties and tens of thousands of lost Afghan lives, the Taliban have returned with so much uncertainty as to how the country's future will be. This is a message to Africa.
The first decade of the 21st century saw an emergence and later surge in the activities of insurgents with Islamic fundamentalist ideologies on the African continent. For example, Al-Shabab was active in Somalia in the mid-2000s. Groups including Ansar AL-Din, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, AQIM, Boko Haram, Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, Ansaru and Islamic State in West African Province are active in West Africa, especially in the Sahel region. In Mozambique, the Islamic State version in Cabo Delgado in the north of the country has become dangerously active as its activities have entailed attacks not only on local targetsbut also, across the border in southern Tanzania. Al-Shabab still poses a threat to the Somali government and to Kenya, which hosts millions of Somali refugees. The group has expressed its best wishes and support to the Taliban after its exploits in Afghanistan. In the Sinai Peninsula, one can find as many groups as there are in West Africa engaged in the deadly insurgency that has exhausted both time and the resources of the Egyptian military. Libya has significant terrorist activities within its borders as political talks and clashes remain in what seems to be a perpetual stalemate.
Al-Shabab still poses a threat to the Somali government and to Kenya, which hosts millions of Somali refugees. The group has expressed its best wishes and support to the Taliban after its exploits in Afghanistan.
With the aforementioned state of terrorist activities on the continent, it is undeniably clear that the victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan sends an unfriendly message to African states battling insurgencies. To the terrorists and insurgents on the continent, this may be the best news in a long time. As is common in history, events have ways of unsettling and or encouraging actors and entities in distant places. It is not for nothing that Kathrine the Great of Russia fell ‘sick’ when news reached her about the French Revolution in 1789. Dissidents and the lower class of the Russian society from back then may have received that same news positively. A lot happened in the 20 years US and NATO occupation of Afghanistan. Two decades of democratic experimentation were inundated by electoral challenges, Taliban insurgency, fall of military doyens, and changing policies that corresponded with changes in the political administration in Washington DC. However, the crux of this piece are the lessons and signals that the events in Afghanistan provide for African leaders and their respective security arrangements towards the fight against terrorism.
The first thing African security forces and political leaders in charge of making security policies should not overlook is the operational morale that the Taliban victory in South Asia gives to insurgents across the continent. In the minds of insurgent leaders in the Sahel, North Africa, Somalia and Mozambique, nothing is insurmountable in their efforts to establish caliphates, sharia-governed territories and hit targets of Western ‘infidels’. Arguably so, ‘if the greatest military, aided by its allies, has been ‘defeated’, there cannot be an obstacle huge enough to halt their mission towards their goal’. Admittedly, the events and conditions leading up to the Taliban takeover are not the same as those prevalent in Africa. However, with similar modus operandi and theoretical motivations, insurgents in Africa may relate in no uncertain terms with the Taliban and be motivated by their victory. For the security forces across the continent, this may mean increased attacks and more recruitments as prospective recruits see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for the insurgencies. The morale Afghanistan gives to terror organizations would not only be for existing members but also the exuberant youth who are contemplating joining various militant groups across the region.
Arguably so, ‘if the greatest military, aided by its allies, has been ‘defeated’, there cannot be an obstacle huge enough to halt their mission towards their goal’.
It is also worth noting that more terrorist organizations may set their eyes on taking over the reins of governments as an extension of their vision. With members of the Taliban literally occupying the executive desk of Ashraf Ghani—the self-exiled president of Afghanistan—as publicized by international news outlets, many insurgents across Africa may be positioning themselves to do something analogous in the countries they operate. While this may sound like guesswork as opposed to empirical observation, there are some examples in the recent past that inform such pessimism. In 2014 when the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) took swaths of western Iraq with the second-largest city Mosul, insurgents elsewhere had already started establishing caliphates of their own to the surprise of many. In the Sahel, Ansar Dine had created its own Caliphate in northern Mali. Boko Haram quickly pledged allegiance to ISIS and intensified its territorial ambitions. Many insurgencies subsequently metamorphosed and adopted the ideals of the group as theirs. In many places, groups renamed themselves and the areas under their ‘jurisdiction’ as provinces of the Islamic State. Islamic State in West African Province and Islamic State of Iraq and Levant-Sinai Province are a couple of examples on the continent. Militants in Cabo Delgado in Mozambique have also declared themselves to be the Mozambican version of ISIS. Despite Boko Haram’s setbacks in recent months, its territorial ambitions are likely to be boosted by the return of the Mullahs in Afghanistan. Al Shabab stands tall among the insurgence likely to be inspired by the Taliban in taking over territories and governments. Exhibiting their desire to govern in areas under their control and facing relatively weak government compared to what the Taliban have deposed, the group is likely to adopt a more radical approach towards Mogadishu. Equivalently, in Mozambique, the southernmost Islamic fundamental insurgency on the continent already perceives Cabo Delgado as a stronghold which it seeks to use as a base to destabilize the southern African state. The Taliban victory in Asia may do sufficiently ‘well’ to motivate an attainable goal of taking over Maputo. While insurgents in Sinai face a more formidable and highly professional Egyptian military, they might not be left out in the list of insurgencies that could be inspired by the Taliban henceforth.
Despite Boko Haram’s setbacks in recent months, its territorial ambitions are likely to be boosted by the return of the Mullahs in Afghanistan. Al Shabab stands tall among the insurgence likely to be inspired by the Taliban in taking over territories and governments.
Direct Support from other “Theaters”
Away from the inspirational and morale-boosting consequences of the events in Kabul, it would be necessary to consider possible direct support and assistance that the new authorities in Afghanistan may give to other global insurgents. Laudably, after their surprise victory and to some extent before that, the Taliban has expressed its readiness to avoid terrorist associations that trigger memories of the past. It accordingly assured Afghanistan’s neighbors of its willingness not to back insurgents or terrorists against them. The US is reported to have received similar assurance back in Doha even before the fall of Kabul. Theoretically, this is good, however, a group that drove an insurgency for 2 decades must not be underestimated in what it may do concerning support for other insurgents, especially now that it finds itself in a position of power, influence and financial ‘independence’. What further complicates matters is the fact that the group faces a possible legitimacy crisis with the international community. The Canadian Prime Minister posited that he “had no plans” for recognizing the group, in his first approach to the new rulers. Pakistan - the group's perceived most influential friend - could not immediately recognize the Taliban’s authority over its Western neighbor. These, alongside other isolationist and lukewarm posturing by some nations towards Afghanistan, may push the Taliban to court and support insurgents far and near—including Africa’s. Thus, if they are refused formal recognition, the Taliban may resort to militant proxies to send worldwide messages about their presence and potency. Years of isolationist foreign policy by the US and other western states towards Iran have resulted in powerful institutions whose activities remain a potential threat to such states' interest in the Middle East and beyond.
Pakistan - the group's perceived most influential friend - could not immediately recognize the Taliban’s authority over its Western neighbor. These, alongside other isolationist and lukewarm posturing by some nations towards Afghanistan, may push the Taliban to court and support insurgents far and near—including Africa’s.
While Africa may seem far from South Asia, Afghanistan is just separated by four countries from the continent by land. Osama Bin Laden lived in both Afghanistan and Sudan at different times during his active years prior to the US attacks. With the rise in insurgent activities on the continent, the idea of future support from the Taliban may not be far-fetched if they so wish to offer it. African security leaders and policymakers may look into this and strengthen their intelligence as it appears the Taliban was able to outsmart US intelligence with regard to how quickly they took back the country.
One of the pull factors that helped bring back the Taliban (acknowledged by many pundits and experts), is the endemic corruption that plagues Afghan society, particularly after the US invasion. A United Nations (UN) report stated that 23% of the annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Afghan economy is lost to corruption. In the rankings of Transparency International, Afghanistan has consistently been in the league of states with the worst levels of corruption among the comity of nations. Before the comeback, many Afghans in other districts where the Taliban had started their governance had variedly attested to their public service's efficacy and incorruptible nature and had considered the group a possible alternative to the western-backed government in Kabul. Interestingly, as many as 63% of respondents from Kandahar saw the group as an alternative due to corruption. Corruption, favoritism, nepotism and many other harmful practices are common on the African continent. From Libya and Sinai in the North, down to Sub-Sahara Africa, countries battling terrorism today on the continent are also among the most corrupt. This, coupled with ethnocentrism, go to show the sympathy many locals had for insurgents who stop at nothing to trumpet such ills while promising a better future devoid of them. The tribal allegiance and identity that trump national identities in Afghanistan and fuel corruption are also found in Africa. Sahel countries like Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad, just as Afghanistan, are predominantly Muslim states ruled by a political class often protected by tribal leanings while being supervised by pervasively corrupt systems. Like in Afghanistan, where the people saw the corrupt system as being given tacit approval by the US, several West African nationals consider their governments as French puppets that loot the state for personal benefit. During a recent protest in Senegal, the youth questioned France’s influence and the stationing of foreign forces in Dakar. In Somalia, Al-Shabab has preyed on endemic corruption and bad governance as propaganda subjects against the western-backed government in Mogadishu. The events in Mozambique equally point to terror groups taking advantage of systemic failure that is partially attributable to corruption.
From Libya and Sinai in the North, down to Sub-Sahara Africa, countries battling terrorism today on the continent are also among the most corrupt.
A corollary of corruption is abject poverty, which is prevalent in many African countries. As found in Afghanistan, where about half or more of the population live below the poverty line, various African countries have poor populations that make them susceptible to militant activities. Where destitution meets corruption, local populations become increasingly apathetic towards authority. This may ultimately lead to a search for alternative types of governance that may be promised or seemingly already in practice by insurgents. In itself, poverty breeds insurgency and helps it to fester as the poor may be driven to join militants or give them support as a way to rebel against the system, which they often believe is the cause of their plight. There have been reports of locals in Somalia, where Al -Shabab had been in control, recognize the group for its pro-poor administration of society. The poverty in Sahelian states catalyzes insurgency. Similar to Afghanistan, there is significant inequality in the standard of living in several African capitals in conjunction with their rural surroundings. The inadequate penetration of the state to all parts of its territory to enable equitable distribution of resources hence becomes a disincentive to fighting militants. Basic amenities like drinkable water, sanitary facilities and electricity are often absent in many parts of these countries, especially further away from principal cities. Areas with such characteristics easily fall victim to the benevolence of terrorist groups and ultimately become strongholds for militants.
Military Weakness is Exploited!
Clearly, the malfunction of the Afghan military and its ultimate defeat by the Taliban sends a message to militaries across Africa that find themselves battling insurgents. The factors that led to the victory of the Taliban were both multifaced and complex. However, what surprised observers was the stark impotence exhibited by the Afghan security forces as the group captured city after city and province after province until finally surrounding Kabul and taking over the state in less than a fortnight. The Global Firepower, a site that ranks militaries across the globe ranked Afghanistan as 75 of 140 states in 2021. The total manpower of the Afghan military is given as 325,000, with 270 aircraft, over 1,000 armored vehicles, 120 towed artillery and 25 rocket projectors. These resources, fueled by a four-billion-dollar budget, were supposed to be enough to make a national army a top dog in its clashes with insurgents. Nonetheless, August proved otherwise. Here too, African states and militaries fighting terrorist insurgents can relate and learn lessons. In the Global Firepower ranking of 2021, very few African states ranked better than Afghanistan.
The total manpower of the Afghan military is given as 325,000, with 270 aircraft, over 1,000 armored vehicles, 120 towed artillery and 25 rocket projectors. These resources, fueled by a four-billion-dollar budget, were supposed to be enough to make a national army a top dog in its clashes with insurgents. Nonetheless, August proved otherwise.
Except for Egypt, South Africa, Algeria, Ethiopia, Morocco, Nigeria and a few others, most African states are considered to have militaries that are inferior compared to that of the landlocked South Asian state before the Taliban took over. This notwithstanding, it must be made clear that the willingness of the soldier to fight is as important as the weapons he has in his possession for the fight. Weapons, even the most sophisticated, would need some human input to function to achieve their operational goals. Did the Afghan soldier know what he was fighting for? Did he identify with the state? These are the questions Africa states may answer by looking at their own militaries.
A number of African states have security forces whose capacity may only be enough to protect their administrative capitals where the ‘state’ is typically felt. The institutionalization of most African militaries has been bedeviled with challenges that are in some cases worse than Afghanistan’s, and that makes their fight against militants an uphill battle. In the insurgent-awash Sahel, security forces face problems such as under tooling, unmeritocratic recruitment process, substate collaboration with Islamist insurgents and inadequate intelligence gathering. In Mali, the military’s frustration with the Salafi inspired insurgency and its inability to halt their downward advancement from the North, coupled with the force’s internal rivalry, the country’s endemic corruption and economic deprivation contributed to a coup in 2020 that deposed the civilian government and created an environment of political instability. The country is still reeling from the consequences a year later. Yes, the morale of many African militaries unlike that of the Afghans is further weakened by the inadequacy of weapons and ammunition. To this end, leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have pledged for a billion-dollar fund that may aid in the fight against Islamist militants. With the happenings in Afghanistan, states, as well as regional organizations, could do more in making some of the said pledges tangible.
Nigeria, the economic and political giant in West Africa, has been battling Boko Haram with a military that faces challenges in professionalism and efficacy. While the country has embarked on a modest retooling of its security forces in recent years, the insurgency has not been quenched in spite of some internal crises within the group. The country’s security architects may want to observe and learn from Afghanistan, where the Taliban had been on the receiving end of attacks and counter-attacks with powerful weapons from the most powerful military alliance to avail in the world. During the war, the world’s most powerful conventional bomb, referred to by the media as the ‘mother of all bombs’, was dropped in Afghanistan, albeit targeted at ISIS fighters in the country. That did not dissuade an ‘inferior’ armed group in its focus to take over the reins of the government.
Evidently, the militarization of the fight against insurgents, especially the kind that seeks to take territory and govern, may not always be successful if it had ever been. In two decades, the US, which had earlier refused to negotiate with ‘terrorist organizations’ as a matter of principle, finally gave in to negotiations with the Taliban. This was the point when the most powerful military and wealthiest economy on the planet recognized that it could not stay in Afghanistan forever. Former President Donald Trump spoke with Mullah Baradar, the political chief of the Taliban, on the phone in the course of the talks. The negotiations were generally purposed for finding a way to allow the US to leave in honor while alleviating the probable Taliban offensive in its absence. Thus, the Taliban was supposed to accept political participation in Afghanistan’s future without the use of a significant amount of coercive force. Where necessary, African states with struggling security forces may engage insurgents through available channels before they become more macabre and garner the ability to overrun countries. If the US and the Afghan government could sit down for talks with the Taliban, it may also be possible for the Somali government to have talks with Al-Shabab. It would equally not be far-fetched for the Egyptian government to engage with Sinai insurgents who may have genuine concerns. The home emerged insurgency in Northern Mozambique has root causes such as the social and economic ills in the Islam-dominated North. Targeted assassinations and bombings did not prevent the Taliban from gaining a seat across the table from US negotiators. What prevents Boko Haram from holding talks with the federal government of Nigeria albeit with its name on the list of international organizations? Yes, it is now apparent that even with insurgency emanating from religious fundamentalism, political solutions are not only possible but also probable.
Where necessary, African states with struggling security forces may engage insurgents through available channels before they become more macabre and garner the ability to overrun countries.
African states on the frontiers of the fight against insurgents that seem to share some sort of ideological ideals with the Taliban may resolve to implement measures that could avoid any surprises. Already, the immediate aftermath of Afghanistan in mid-August saw a rise in consistent attacks. There have been attacks in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso with many lives lost. More audaciously, Al-Shabaab, on August 24, 2021, stormed a military base in Somalia and attempted to recapture a town they had lost to government forces in earlier clashes. The group announced via media outlets that it seized some arms from the military after the operation. Boko Haram has also launched attacks in Southern Niger, killing over a dozen soldiers in the process. The presence of Rwandese forces in Mozambique aiding the Mozambican army against the emboldened insurgence is yielding early results as some areas in Cabo Delgado have been retaken. On the other hand, the Egyptian military has been generally effective in controlling the activities of insurgents. However, within the peninsula, militants remain potent. Libya is still awash with insurgents in the midst of political turmoil that has caused rival governments to compete for international recognition.
With the status quo on the continent and what the Taliban take over may communicate to insurgents, African states fighting militants would have to take a number of factors and dynamics into account. They would assist in avoiding a fate like the South Asian example: Afghanistan.
Local Ownership, Security through Strength, and None-Corruption
Over-reliance on foreign forces will not be helpful in the long term in regard to defeating insurgents and terrorist organizations. With President Ashraf Ghani abandoning his post and fleeing the country while ordinary Afghans dangerously cling to the wings of flying military jets to evade Taliban rule, one thing is clear—one cannot rely on outside forces to protect the state. African political and security leaders must take a cue and commit to building strong security institutions with recruitments based on principles that should include meritocracy. The nepotistic and ethnocentric influences in building security institutions could be shunned for a more professional process. Admittedly, political instability in some states sometimes leads to the use of loyalists in protecting governments. However, the threats from insurgents seem to be more against the state than governments. Building a professional force would therefore ensure that countries rely on their home-grown long-term plans of fighting militants without worrying about the shocks that come with the exit of foreign troops or assistance.
African political and security leaders must take a cue and commit to building strong security institutions with recruitments based on principles that should include meritocracy.
African states fighting insurgencies must fight corruption concurrently and concentrate on basic socio-economic development that lifts the very poor from the vicious cycle of poverty. This would be essential to quench the garnering of strength by militants due to support from locals who may be poor and resentful towards central authorities. When basic amenities are provided in remote areas that are often strongholds of militants, they often help limit the effectiveness of their propaganda. While insurgents themselves may not be from poor backgrounds, they often court the poor for support and recruitment — taking advantage of their vulnerabilities. The funds that are lost to corruption (worth billions of dollars) across the continent could be channeled towards building a more equitable society. To avoid a similar situation to that in Afghanistan from occurring, fighting corruption must become a sine qua non for a successful fight against militants.
Despite the debacle, Afghanistan has further highlighted the essence of dialogue and good neighborliness in the fight against insurgencies. These two would be very critical for states in similar fights. Many pundits point to the roles of Pakistan and to a significantly lesser extent, Iran in the Taliban victory in mid-August. Therefore, African states fighting insurgencies must take their relations with neighboring states seriously and engage in confidence-building where cold relations had previously existed. Cooperating with adjoining states would likely grant domestic security forces a strategic advantage over insurgents. Africa seems to have some level of advantage in this area as regional blocs theoretically promote such cooperation. Despite some inter-state frictions, regional bodies including the ECOWAS have had member states cooperate within and with other states outside their blocs to fight insurgents. Nigeria has cooperated with Niger, a fellow ECOWAS member, Cameroun and Chad—non-member states—to fight Boko Haram on several occasions. There has also been some cooperation between Mozambique and Tanzania in fighting the ISIS ‘franchise’ that threatens both sides of the border. Nonetheless, more needs to be done to make cooperations of such nature more result-oriented. Currently, Kenya and Somalia have some differences in the fight against Al Shabab, which could potentially derail the progress made so far.
Dialogue, as earlier mentioned, is increasingly becoming inevitable in tackling insurgency around the world. African states with weak institutions and low budgets could avoid costly wars against militants by fishing out moderate actors and opening communication channels where possible. This could lead to political solutions as interests on both sides are brought to the surface and ironed out in the process of confidence-building through dialogue. While the fall of Afghanistan may have been swift and surprising to various actors, the absence of bloodshed in the process may be partly attributed to the preceding negotiations. Admittedly, many insurgents across the continent have adopted ruthless measures. However, such modus operandi should not dissuade the opportunity for a dialogue that may result in a political solution. No, the targeted assassinations and bombings by the Taliban did not stop them from getting a negotiation chair in Doha.
While the fall of Afghanistan may have been swift and surprising to various actors, the absence of bloodshed in the process may be partly attributed to the preceding negotiations. Admittedly, many insurgents across the continent have adopted ruthless measures.
The fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban together with the events that led to the same situation are not exactly the same as what is happening in Africa with regard to insurgencies. The Taliban had once ruled Afghanistan before getting ousted in 2001. The group had nominally not been on the US list of terrorist organizations, as its operations were not deemed to pose a threat to Western interests beyond the borders of Afghanistan. Again, unlike many African militaries that have been in place since independence, the Afghan army was essentially built from the scratch. This was compounded by the fact that the new government in Kabul had skeptical and sometimes hostile neighbors who were not comfortable with the presence of international forces next door. Apart from the French presence in the Sahel that insurgents oppose, Africa on the other hand does not have the same experience.
Regardless, conditions such as poverty, corruption, weak security institutions and over-militarization of conflict exist on the continent as was the case in Afghanistan before the fall of Kabul. With such similar conditions, a morale-boosting vortex by events in the South Asian restive state could worsen the destabilization effects of insurgencies across the continent. Afghanistan is hence an obvious message to Africa.
Fidel Amakye Owusu is an International Relations Analyst with an accumulated six years of experience in the field. He holds a Bachelors degree in Political Science and History as well as a Master in International Relations. Mr. Owusu’s interests encompass issues such as terrorism, arms, governance and security on a global scale (particularly in the West African sub-region). As a columnist at several online news outlets in Ghana, he has written pieces such as Why Nations Pay Lip Service to Disarmament I&II, Ghana Stands Tall in the Fight Against Terrorism…, We Risk Having Nuclear Proxies in South Asia, and Drone Revolution in Africa among others. With five years of working experience with the government of Ghana under his belt, he currently hosts an international affairs program on state TV. The views contained in this article are the author’s alone.
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 The Taliban has not been on the US list of terrorist organizations. However, in September 2012 the US listed the Haqqani Network, an affiliate of the Taliban believed to have as link between the group and Al Qaeda, as a terrorist organization. A $5 million bounty was subsequently placed on its leader and son of the group’s leader. After the fall of Kabul to the Taliban in mid-August, Sirajuddin Haqqani has been seen granting interviews to the media despite the bounty on his head.
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