The recent killing of the deputy chief of al Qaeda’s Pakistani cadre, Muhammad Hanif (aka Zarar), whom the Afghan Taliban had sheltered, shows that even within al Qaeda, Taliban-allied Pakistani jihadists have kept supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan. This assistance began before 9/11, but it now includes al Qaeda’s broader agenda.
Al Qaeda has helped to make the Afghan Taliban powerful enough to challenge the Western-backed Afghan government. The government in Kabul, the United States, and the international community have all recognized the Afghan Taliban’s strength in relation to Kabul, as is evident from the ongoing Doha peace process. Aiding the Taliban insurgency also helps al Qaeda reach its primary goal of defeating the greater enemy: the United States. Instead of transnational terrorism, these Pakistani al Qaeda groups are focused on preventing a U.S. military victory over the Taliban and their allies in Afghanistan. It was the reason al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) declared the news of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan as a magnificent victory.