Bigger terrorist threat looming after Taliban takeover

Australia and other western nations should prepare for Afghanistan to become a haven for terrorist groups following the Taliban takeover, a security expert has warned.

There is concern by western generals and politicians the unexpectedly swift Taliban takeover and the exit by the US military will lead to more terrorist cells based in Afghanistan.

Rodger Shanahan, of the Lowy Institute, told that some terrorists are probably now in remote parts of Afghanistan operating "in the shadows".

READ MORE: The seven astonishing days that marked Afghanistan's fate

He said it would prove difficult to stop them, even if the newly-restored Taliban government was willing to do so.

"The big question is whether the Taliban will restrict them," Dr Shanahan said.

The country has vast remote and deeply forested valleys that provide ideal bases for terrorists.

"Afghanistan is a large country with many ungoverned and lawless areas. It will be a massively difficult to try and eradicate them."

From its training camps and headquarters in remote Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda group planned the 9/11 attacks on the US in 2001.

Soon after the terror network was ejected from Afghanistan along with its Taliban backers by a Western Coalition including Australia.

READ MORE: What life will be like under the Taliban in Afghanistan

Western nations are continuing to use an array of intelligence systems to monitor the situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton said last week that the US retained the capability to strike at terrorist targets there.

"The Americans have the capability to strike both with manned and unmanned aircraft now. They have over-the-horizon capability in terms of their counter-terrorism efforts," Mr Dutton told Today.

"If they see a problem festering, then I have no doubt that they will act and they'll act in their interests and they'll act in their interests and they'll act in the interests of their allies."

Dr Shanahan said there are also other non-Western nations, such as China and Pakistan, that share the West's concerns about Afghanistan becoming a terrorist haven.

READ MORE: Who are the Taliban and how did they take control of Afghanistan so swiftly?

"The Chinese are worried about the Turkistan Islamic movement and Pakistan does not want to see further Taliban influence in its country," he said.

During the failed peace talks that took place in Doha, Taliban officials were told by the US they could only achieve international recognition if they completely broke links with al-Qaeda.

Dr Shanahan said the international community has some diplomatic levers and pressures it can use to exert influence with the Taliban such as humanitarian aid.

But after the Taliban's toppling of the Afghan government, political and military leaders have warned of a new terrorist threat emerging from the chaos.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the UN Security Council to "use all tools at its disposal to suppress the global terrorist threat in Afghanistan".

And UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged Western nations needed to unite to prevent the country lapsing back into a haven for international terrorist networks.

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