The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and the subsequent withdrawal of the troops were under close watch in many African capitals. Many Islamist insurgent groups of the continent have an eye on it.
The power shift is becoming quite critical as a juncture for the war on terror for the governments of nations like Mali, Nigeria, Mozambique, and Somalia. Also, it is a concern for the Western powers who support them.
A media outlet with a link to Somali Militant group al-Shabab has written that “God is great ” after the news of the Taliban takeover. The leader of West Africa’s Jama’at Nasral-Islam wall-Muslimin jihadist organization has drawn comparisons with the US’s withdrawal. It has also compared this withdrawal with the planned drawdown of France of military presence in the Sahel region of West Africa.
Emmanuel Macron of France has announced the presence of 5000 strong troops in the Sahel. It will end in the first quarter of 2022. Despite giving a timeline on the end of military operation, he has insisted France not withdraw entirely from its territories.
The French deployment started in 2013 a Paris made its attempt to halt the advance of the jihadist group in Mali. But the group continued to wreak havoc on civilian populations in the Sahel.
The US and European nations started withdrawing from the Sahel and other hot spots before the fall of Afghan government. Now experts are suggesting that the Taliban victory in Afghanistan could inspire other militant groups in that region. It can alter the course of the international efforts to fight terrorism.
“The US, France, and other European powers will slow down planned withdrawals of troops from the Sahel region and other hotspots for insecurity and militancy, and even increase deployments in some regions,” Robert Besseling, CEO of political risk consultancy Pangea-Risk, said in a special report last month.
“Meanwhile, non-traditional military partners, spearheaded by Russia, China, and some Middle Eastern countries, are stepping up engagements on the continent.”
Alex Vines, director of the Africa Programme, said that Afghanistan’s development offered a psychological boost to jihadist organizations. There is also a fragmentation among the militant groups and the regionalized nature of conflicts. It can make the tangible benefits difficult to assess.