OREANDA-NEWS. The terrorist Islamist group «Al-Qaeda», which used Afghanistan as a base for attacking the United States 20 years ago, may again strengthen it's influence there after the withdrawal of the US military from the country. US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin warned about this on Thursday, September 9, speaking to reporters in Kuwait after a visit to the Persian Gulf countries.

At the same time, the head of the Pentagon stressed that the United States is ready to prevent the buildup of «Al-Qaeda» forces in the country. «The whole community is watching what will happen next and whether «Al-Qaeda» will be able to build up it's forces in Afghanistan again, Austin said. This is the nature of «Al-Qaeda» and the «Islamic State» their members are always trying to find a space where they can build up their forces: in Afghanistan, in Somalia or in any other ungoverned territory».

From 1996 to 2001, when the radical Islamist «Taliban» movement ruled Afghanistan, this country was a haven for «Al-Qaeda». After the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, the «Taliban» refused to hand over the leaders of «Al-Qaeda» to the US authorities, after which the US military entered Afghanistan and overthrew the «Taliban» government. The operation in this country became the longest armed conflict in the history of the United States.

In May 2021, the Joe Biden administration announced the unconditional withdrawal of US and NATO forces. After the withdrawal of Western troops, the «Taliban» seized power in Afghanistan again in a matter of days. They are going to restore the «Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan» — the name of the country under their control from 1996 to 2001.