Key Points

The Austrian woman was given a choice between paying a 480 euro fine and spending 60 days in jail. She was not sentenced to be hanged, as would be the case in Pakistan. I find that less than entirely reassuring.

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The United States is no longer trying to defeat the Taliban. Instead, the Trump administration, like the Obama administration before it, wants out. The Taliban knows this and is more than happy to dictate the terms of America’s withdrawal. That’s what is now being negotiated. The jihadists also know that wars end in victory or defeat—and their victory is at hand.

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Al Qaeda has faced other obstacles as well. In its war with the U.S., the group has lost key management personnel. Most important, of course, was the death of Osama bin Laden in May 2011. Scores of other senior figures have been killed or captured. This has raised logistical hurdles, disrupting communications and al Qaeda’s chain of command. In addition, the rise of the Islamic State in 2013 and 2014 created the biggest challenge to al Qaeda’s authority within the global jihadist movement since its inception in 1988.

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FDD: www.defenddemocracy.org

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