The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has laid bare a dynamic that has quietly developed over the last six to seven years: an uneasy but de facto mutual understanding between Washington and a part of the global jihadi movement. Neither side would dare express it publicly, as it would cause both internal and external outrage. And both are unsure about what it exactly entails and are distrustful of the other side’s true intentions.
Still, given that the Islamic State remains hellbent on attacking the United States and is, conversely, a primary target of it, a slow strategic repositioning has led both Washington and the al Qaeda galaxy to adopt a less belligerent posture toward each other. It is a deal whose manifold and long-term implications Washington seems to have overlooked.