In an interview with a top Taliban commander, the safe haven myth is dealt another blow (via: ThinkProgress).
“At least 70 percent of the Taliban are angry at Al Qaeda,” Maulvi said. “Originally, the Taliban were naïve and ignorant of politics and welcomed Al Qaeda into their homes.
“Part of the problem with Al Qaeda was that the Afghans around Jalalabad are in the habit of welcoming everyone who comes. They do an attan [Pashtun dance] for them. To tell the truth, I was relieved at the death of Osama. Through his policies, he destroyed Afghanistan. If he really believed in jihad he should have gone to Saudi Arabia and done jihad there, rather than wrecking our country.”
The same Taliban commander also called al-Qaeda a “plague” in the interview. As Ali Gharib notes, “In 2010, Ahmed Rashid reported that Taliban leader Mullah Omar pledged that a Taliban return to power in Afghanistan ‘would pose no threat to neighboring countries — implying that al-Qaeda would not be returning to Afghanistan.'”
This was knowable before Obama decided to surge troops in Afghanistan and waste additional hundreds of billions of dollars there. Indeed, the administration was fully aware of what a crapshoot the mission was, but did it always. As David Rothkopf, editor of Foreign Policy, wrote back in May:
The president opposed his own policy of sending in more troops to stabilize Afghanistan from the moment he approved it after months and months of messy internal wrangling. So why did he do it? The answer is that that Obama was leaving Iraq and could not afford to look weak in Afghanistan at the same time or he would come under political attack from the right. Getting out faster might also alienate the military to the point that public discord would damage the president.
At the time, I called this what it was: war for political repute. Hundreds of billions of dollars were wasted, thousands of soldiers and civilians were killed so that Obama could avoid being called a wimp by Republicans.