Al-Qaeda affiliate maintains close ties to Taliban in Afghanistan
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Despite recent progress in peace process, al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) maintains close ties to the Taliban in Afghanistan, likely for protection and training, the Pentagon said in a report.
AQIS routinely supports and works with low-level Taliban members in its efforts to undermine the Afghan government, and maintains and enduring interest in attacking US forces and Western targets in the region, the report to the Congress, said. The report covers events during the period of December 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020.
Under the Feb. 29 U.S.-Taliban deal that could pave the way toward a full withdrawal of foreign soldiers from Afghanistan, the Taliban promised to prevent al Qaeda from using Afghan soil to threaten the security of the United States and its allies. Additionally, AQIS assists local Taliban in some attacks, according to the network’s statements.
The report said that continuing coalition counter-terrorism pressure has reduced AQIS’s ability to conduct operations in Afghanistan without the support of the Taliban.
The report said that since the February Reduction in Violence period, the Taliban has sustained high levels of violence against Afghan forces checkpoints and convoys.
“Concurrently, the Taliban has avoided attacks against coalition forces and provincial capitals, likely to avoid risking the U.S.-Taliban Agreement. The current level of violence conducted by the Taliban remains high,” the report said.
The report said that the Taliban and the Afghan government are moving toward peace talks and have started releasing prisoners in accordance with the terms of the deal, but “high levels of Taliban violence and the COVID-19 outbreak in the country continue to hinder efforts to make progress on security and reconciliation.”
“The Taliban is calibrating its use of violence to harass and undermine the ANDSF and GIRoA, but remain at a level it perceives is within the bounds of the agreement, probably to encourage a U.S. troop withdrawal and set favorable conditions for a post-withdrawal Afghanistan,” the report said.
Source: 1TV News