A report released by the United Nations revealed that the Taliban has failed to fulfill one of the central tenets of the agreement that it would break ties with Al-Qaeda but they have further fostered relationship with the group that plotted 9/11.
The report said that during the talk with the United States, the Taliban has held regulator consultations with Al- Qaida and assured them that they will not break their historic ties with the group. The UN report informed they Al-Qaeda has 400 to 600 operatives active in 12 Afghan provinces and is running training camps in the east of the country.
US General Frank McKenzie has already given a bleak assessment of the Taliban’s ability to fulfill the pledges made in the February 29 agreement. McKenzie was also explicitly skeptical about the Taliban’s pledge to break with al-Qaeda and informed that they have not yet demonstrated it.
The Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen has rejected the UN report, denying that the Taliban conferred at high levels with al–Qaeda assured it cooperation and safe haven or allowed the group to run training camps in the east of the country. “I totally refute this report; it is a baseless accusation aimed at spoiling the peace process,” Shaheed said.
However, the U.N. investigators said that the “relations between the Taliban, especially the Haqqani Network and al-Qaeda remain close, based on friendship, a history of shared struggle, ideological sympathy, and intermarriage,” and that the Taliban offered al-Qaeda continuing safe have in its territory, just as it did before 9/11.
The authors of the report argue that the Taliban’s credibility as a counter-terrorism partner for the international community will “rest on their success in countering the threat from Daesh’s Khorasan branch,” in addition to their handling of any threat posed by al-Qaeda, the report says.
According to the report, the number of foreign terrorist fighters in Afghanistan includes “up to 6,500 Pakistanis.”
The report comes as the Afghan government has expedited its efforts for peace by continuing to release Taliban prisoners from its prisons to move forward towards the intra-Afghan negotiations that Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, said he hopes will begin in the next week.