New Delhi: U.S. President Joe Biden and his administration have been subjected to ridicule yet again.
Haqqani network's leader Sirajuddin Haqqani is now the new Interior Minister, responsible for the internal security of war-ravaged Afghanistan. He is 'wanted' by U.S. agencies for questioning in connection with the January 2008 attack on a hotel in Kabul that killed six people, including an American citizen, says an FBI note.
"He is believed to have coordinated and participated in cross-border attacks against United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan. Haqqani also allegedly was involved in the planning of the assassination attempt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2008," the FBI says.
The Haqqani network, known as a Taliban faction and its competitor somehow, had kidnapped 'Times' journalist David Rohde and held him and two others into captivity for seven months in remote tribal areas of Pakistan.
"During my time in captivity, I grew to see the Haqqanis as a criminal gang masquerading as a pious religious movement. They described themselves as the true followers of Islam but displayed an astounding capacity for dishonesty and greed," runs a piece written by Rohde in 'New Yorker'.
On November 10, 2008, Rohde, his interpreter, Tahir Ludin, and their driver, Asadullah "Asad" Mangal, were abducted outside Kabul while Rohde was researching a book about the history of the United States' involvement in Afghanistan.
In his piece, Rohde also wrote that the Taliban has a reputation for being 'Paranoid and delusional'.
"….. they insisted that the 9/11 attacks were hatched by American and Israeli intelligence agencies to create a pretext for the U.S. to enslave Muslims. They said that the U.S. was forcibly converting vast numbers of Muslims to Christianity. American and NATO soldiers, they believed, were making Afghan women work as prostitutes on military bases," wrote Rohde for 'New Yorker' on August 30, 2021, when the Taliban had already taken control of most of Afghanistan.
Rohde also writes: "Perhaps the most bitter part of the current debacle is the role of Pakistan. I saw firsthand that Pakistan's Army, while receiving billions in U.S. aid, allowed the Taliban to maintain havens beyond the reach of American troops. For twenty years, U.S. policymakers refused to confront the fact that Pakistan's support of the Taliban doomed the American effort in Afghanistan."
Even as a group, the Haqqani network has been designated a foreign terrorist organisation by the U.S.
Of course, even in India, the likes of Maj Gen (Retd) G K Bakshi says nothing has changed in Taliban leadership. During a T.V. debate, he said that Taliban 2.0 could be 'worse than' even 1.0.
It is generally believed that the new Taliban regime in Kabul would follow the model of Pakistan and Iran.
Pakistan has "so many terrorists" inside its borders. "So that's how the Taliban will handle it. Anyone who says the Taliban have changed isn't dealing with the substance of the situation," writes Rhode.
In the last 20 years, other experts say the Taliban have learnt to handle media and speak out what the west wants to hear about democracy, people's wishes and fighting for Islam, etc.; in reality, they remain the same.