UN Report: Al-Qaida Flourishing in Taliban-Run Afghanistan, May Regain Capabilities to Launch “Long-Distance” Terror Attacks Soon
Ten months after President Joe Biden oversaw the disastrous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, al-Qaida is once again flourishing in the Taliban-ruled “Islamic Emirate,” a news report released by the United Nations found.
Al-Qaida is not the only jihadi group spreading its deadly wings in Afghanistan. The Islamic State (ISIS), which become a terrorist group with global reach under President Barack Obama’s watch, is building a stronghold in the Taliban-run country. According to the UN document, “International concern is building over the presence of al-Qaida, IS and ‘many other terrorist groups and fighters on Afghan soil,’” the German public broadcaster DW News reported this week.
The UN report also noted that the Taliban regime maintained ties with al-Qaida. “The report states that Taliban officials have retained links with al-Qaida, and the group’s leader Ayman al-Zawahri is reportedly present in eastern Afghanistan,” the German news outlet added.
Given al-Qaida’s new-found “increased freedom of action” under the Taliban rule, the jihadi group could be able to stage terrorist operations outside Afghanistan in coming years, the report warned.
The UK daily Guardian reported the alarming findings of the UN report:
Al-Qaida has a haven in Afghanistan under the Taliban and “increased freedom of action” with the potential of launching new long-distance attacks in coming years, a UN report based on intelligence supplied by member states says.
The assessment, by the UN committee charged with enforcing sanctions on the Taliban and others that may threaten the security of Afghanistan, will raise concerns that the country could once again become a base for international terrorist attacks after the withdrawal of US and Nato troops last year. (…)
Though al-Qaida has been overshadowed by the violence of Islamic State in recent years, it remains a potential threat with a presence in parts of south Asia, the Middle East and the Sahel. Several dozen al-Qaida senior leaders are based in Afghanistan, as well as affiliated groups such as al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent. (…)
An undisclosed number of al-Qaida members are reported to be living in Kabul’s former diplomatic quarter, where they may have access to meetings at the foreign affairs ministry, the report’s authors say, although they say this information is not confirmed.
The report also says a sudden spate of statements and communications from al-Qaida’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, suggests “he may be able to lead more effectively than was possible before the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan”.
Al-Qaida, responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks, has not given up its declared goal of worldwide jihad and global Islamist domination.
When Taliban fighters swept through Afghanistan in the wake of the U.S. military withdrawal in August 2021, al-Qaida renewed its call for the global Islamic jihad. The Taliban’s “victory demonstrates what the Islamic nation is capable of when it unites (and) proves that the way of jihad is the only way,” al-Qaida said in a statement in early September 2021. “It’s time for you to prepare for the next stage of the struggle,” the Islamic terror group added.
After the fall of Kabul in mid-August 2021, the Taliban established an Islamic regime based on the Iranian model, naming its long-time chief Hibatullah Akhundzada as its “Supreme Leader.” The terror militia imposed Sharia Law — mandating women to cover their faces and banning girls from attending school beyond the sixth grade.
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