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Saudi Arabia, the Taliban and al Qaeda: Together again?

taliban Taliban fighters in American-like gear hoist the white flag of the Taliban in the Afghanistan mountains, resembling the iconic photo of Marines raising the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima in World War II. Some have said the photo was intended to mock the U.S. (Image: Taliban via Twitter)

Twenty years ago, the U.S. and its close allies invaded Afghanistan after Taliban leaders refused to turn over al Qaeda boss Osama bin Laden following the deadly Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Today, 2,500 U.S. military deaths and $2 trillion in lost treasure later, America’s longest war has come full circle. The once-routed Taliban is back in power.

An ominous sign that terrorist forces at large in the “graveyard of empires” are once again emboldened to attack Americans came quickly with the deaths Thursday of 13 U.S. troops in Thursday’s suicide bombings at the chaotic Kabul airport.

An insurgent splinter group of the defeated Islamic State, an enemy of the Taliban, took credit for the bloodshed which also killed more than 150 Afghanis. Not al Qaeda. But some experts have said they expect al Qaeda will return to Afghanistan now that the Taliban is again in control. Others, like former FBI Agent Ali Soufan, believe al Qaeda never left.

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