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Sahel: ‘The Taliban are seen as a model of patience for al-Qaeda’

By Jihâd Gillon
Posted on Tuesday, 24 August 2021 08:54

Soldiers from the Barkhane operation have been fighting jihadist groups in the Sahel since 2014 © Philippe de Poulpiquet/MAX PPP

While Iyad Ag Ghali has welcomed the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan, what impact will this return have on jihadist groups in the Sahel? Adib Bencherif, a specialist in the field, provides some answers.

Although the two areas are separated by several thousand kilometres, the recent return of the Taliban to Afghanistan is being closely observed in North Africa and the Sahel.

This is because, in theory at least, their leader Haibatullah Akhundzadala is linked to Ag Ghali’s Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM, or GNIM) coalition, which is affiliated to al-Qaeda.

Another key element is that the Taliban’s governance strategy, including normalised relations with neighbouring states, could offer a model for jihadist groups in the Sahel.