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Pushing the Brotherhood Away … To Afghanistan

Pushing the Brotherhood Away … To Afghanistan

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, July 15

Last March, Ankara announced its desire to resume diplomatic relations with Cairo. Following that announcement, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political and PR arm, which operated out of Turkey, found itself forced to shut down. It became difficult, if not impossible, to maintain its everyday activities from the country. Shortly thereafter, the Brotherhood’s leadership made a decision to stop and search for an alternative home base from which to operate. The group’s former secretary general, Mahmoud Hussein, spearheaded the effort and proposed the United Kingdom, where he resides. Other countries that came up were Canada, the Netherlands and Malaysia. But then, a new and surprising candidate came up: Afghanistan! The group of individuals within the Brotherhood who proposed this idea are those who were involved with humanitarian relief efforts in Afghanistan during the Soviet–Afghan War. According to several reports, Ibrahim Munir, the secretary general of the Muslim Brotherhood, did not oppose the idea, but he requested further consultations with the leaders of the international organization, Taliban officials and the Turkish government. It is well known that the leadership of the Taliban, especially at this time, maintains close ties with the Brotherhood. Indeed, the Brotherhood’s organizational presence is long-standing in Afghanistan. The Brotherhood’s interest in Afghanistan has ancient roots. The movement established several chapters there, especially during the era of Sayyid Qutb. Afghanistan, with its rugged mountain landscape and its numerous militia forces, is a prime location for the Brotherhood’s headquarters. Not only those who fled Egypt, but also those who came from other parts of the Arab world, including Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. With the protection and auspices of the Taliban, the Brotherhood has all the conditions it needs to thrive in Afghanistan. Only time will tell if the movement pursues this option, but it’s surely worth keeping an eye on what happens in this post-Turkey era of the Brotherhood. – Mishary Al-Dayidi (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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