Reactions to Biden’s remarks: The Taliban lauds and opponents deride

Remarks on Friday by the US President, Joe Biden, on getting assistance from the Taliban to combat Al-Qaeda was swiftly welcomed by the group as proof that there were no terrorist organisations operating in Afghanistan.

But for some, President Biden revealed the existence of a relationship between the US and the Taliban, which according to a recent UN Security Council report, still has close ties with Al-Qaeda and other terrorist networks.

Answering to a question about a US State Department’s report on Afghanistan withdrawal mistakes, President Biden said: “Remember what I said about Afghanistan? I said Al-Qaeda would not be there. I said it wouldn’t be there. I said we’d get help from the Taliban. What’s happening now? What’s going on? Read your press. I was right.”

The Taliban

The Taliban’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Abdul Qahar Balkhi, welcome Biden’s remarks as “an acknowledgment of reality” that no terrorist entities operated in Afghanistan under the group’s rule.

And the group’s longtime spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, said in a statement in Persian, that Joe Biden’s remarks prove the Taliban’s “commitment to its obligations”. He accused the group’s opponents and those who have criticised President Biden of being “servants of America” and “conspiracists”.

Speaking to Al Jazeera Arabic, the group’s foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, said that Biden’s remarks were “an understanding of reality”.

The critics

Rahmatullah Nabil, a former intelligence chief, called Biden’s remarks a “ground breaking revelation” which exposed the Taliban’s links with the US. The Taliban, he said, has become the Wagner Group for the US in the region.

Shaharzad Akbar, the former head of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, slammed Biden’s remarks and reminded him what getting help from the Taliban meant for the people of Afghanistan.

Shahgul Rezaie, a former member of parliament, said that the Taliban fought to secure the interests of Pakistan and the US.

Ashraf Haidari, former Afghanistan ambassador to Sri Lanka, said that NATO spent 20 years fighting to replace the Taliban with the Taliban and that regional stability is at risk, and the US at potentially greater risk.