TRIUMPHANT Taliban leaders are reportedly already offering a safe haven to Al Qaeda as it bids to create a "cradle of jihad".
The revelation made by a Pentagon watchdog report came the day after president Joe Biden claimed the war had ensured Afghanistan could not be used to launch terror attacks.
The withdrawal and fall of Kabul come weeks before the 20 year anniversary of the September 11 2001 Al Qaeda attacks that sparked the invasion the following month.
The objective was to topple the Taliban regime, dislodge Al Qaeda and capture its leader Osama bin Laden after the jihadis carried out the attacks on New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000 people.
But now with the Taliban back in power after the hasty withdrawal of Western forces, a new report claims the terror group again has a safe place in which to plot mass murder.
Written by the Pentagon Office of the Inspector General, it states that Isis has exploited the political instability and rise in violence as the West withdrew.
But chillingly, it adds: "The Taliban continued to maintain its relationship with Al Qaeda, providing safe haven for the terrorist group in Afghanistan.”
Bin Laden plotted the 9/11 terror attacks from Afghan soil.
He was finally hunted down and killed by Navy Seals in neighbouring Pakistan ten years later.
Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday the Taliban must prevent Afghanistan from lapsing back into being a terror breeding ground.
He said: "Those now taking power have the responsibility to ensure that international terrorists do not regain a foothold."
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He added: "Part of the Afghan security forces fought bravely.
"But they were unable to secure the country because ultimately the Afghan political leadership failed to stand up to the Taliban and to achieve the peaceful solution that Afghans desperately wanted."
Yesterday Afghanistan's fall to the Taliban poses a "direct terror threat" to Britain, No10's ex-national security adviser has warned.
Lord Sedwill said: "Of course there is a direct threat as well and we'll have to see whether the Taliban will honour their commitments not to allow Afghanistan to become a haven for terrorists and indeed drug traffickers as well."
Emily Winterbotham, director, terrorism and conflict from Royal United Services Institute, said: "There are numerous different groups that operate out of Afghanistan.
Despite the international intervention in 2001… there is still a foothold forAl Qaeda in the country, it's never really disappeared
"But I think the ones that we're most concerned about from an international perspective is obviously Al Qaeda
"Despite the international intervention in 2001… there is still a foothold forAl Qaeda in the country, it's never really disappeared.
"But obviously, it hasn't operated from the country itself for a number of years."
A peace deal signed by the Trump administration in Doha, the capital of Qatar, last year required the Taliban to stop giving safe haven to terrorist groups.
'AL QAEDA SYMPATHISERS'
But the Taliban's upper echelons are filled with figures who have fought alongside Al Qaeda or hosted their operatives, reports the Daily Mail.
One is Sirajuddin Haqqani, one of the Taliban's deputy leaders and the son of a close friend to Bin Laden.
On Monday, President Biden said: "We went to Afghanistan almost 20 years ago with clear goals: get those who attacked us on September 11th, 2001, and make sure Al Qaeda could not use Afghanistan as a base from which to attack us again.
"We did that. We severely degraded Al Qaeda in Afghanistan."
The Pentagon declined to comment on the report.
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