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January 28, 2021

Taliban reject US report on al-Qaeda in Afghanistan

Top Story

January 28, 2021

PESHAWAR: Reacting to a recent report of the US Treasury Department, the Afghan Taliban claimed al-Qaeda was no longer existing in Afghanistan and that all foreign militants and members of al-Qaeda had returned to their respective countries.

The US Treasury Department in its report stated that al-Qaeda was reorganising in Afghanistan and gaining strength there.

“We strongly reject this report. The report has been compiled by partisan and warmongering circles based on false information,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid was quick to react and denied report of the US Treasury Department.

Taliban said it was in 2001 when a large-scale war broke out in Afghanistan and the subsequent uprising began in parts of the Arab world, and this members of al-Qaeda and other foreign nationals staying in Afghanistan returned back to their countries. “Currently, there are no al-Qaeda operatives, present in Afghanistan and neither does there remain a need for any foreign national to live in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, some circles are seeking the extension of this imposed war on the Afghan nation in pursuit of their interests and malicious objectives, are thus seeking to corrupt minds and create unwarranted fears with propaganda, and are sourcing information from warmongering individuals and parties before forwarding it to other departments,” Taliban explained in the statement.

Taliban emphasised implementation of the Doha peace accord, which the US and Taliban signed on February 29, 2020, and a logical solution to the ongoing problem (Afghan war). They said it was in the interest of both the American and Afghan people that the war in Afghanistan to be concluded as per recommendations of the Doha accord.

“The Islamic Emirate once again declares that it shall remain committed to all clauses of the Doha agreement, not allow anyone to pose a threat to the security of the United States and its allies from the soil of Afghanistan or build bases here. The Islamic Emirate maintains that all concerned parties must remain committed to the Doha agreement and their stated responsibilities,” they maintained.

In the Doha accord, the Afghan Taliban had committed they would cut their ties with all foreign militant groups and would never allow them to run a parallel militant group or use their country for their interests against any other country, particularly US and it’s allies.

Senior Taliban leaders often claim that US had spent trillions of dollars to defeat al-Qaeda but Taliban did it without spending a penny to dysfunctional in Afghanistan.

Taliban claimed that they had made it mandatory for the foreign militants not to run an armed group, carry out attacks or leaving a particular area without prior permission from their local leadership. “There was a time when rich Arabs used to bring funds and spend on our operations in Afghanistan. We facilitated many of them to return to their countries and a few of other remained in Afghanistan are not authorised to either run a separate militant group or carry out any attack in the country,” one senior Taliban leader told The News on condition of anonymity.

Also, Taliban were supposed to join the intra Afghan dialogue and bring reduction in their attacks against the foreign forces as well as the Afghan government and its armed forces. The Afghan government was supposed to release the Taliban prisoners before start of the intra Afghan peace negotiations. The Afghan government had already freed around 5000 Taliban prisoners in rerun of their prisoners held by the Taliban. The two sides finally started peace negotiations in Doha in September 2020 and after several rounds of meetings, they developed consensus to choose topics for future talks.

The US presidential elections delayed initiation of the second round of talks as the two sides was waiting to see outcome of the polls.

Taliban and the Afghan government held second round of talks in Doha but talks suspended again without making any progress. Taliban said the Afghan government sent its delegation first to India and now to Saudi Arabia to seek their support against them (Taliban).

In its reaction, Taliban said they sent a high level delegation to Pakistan and now to Iran to garner their assistance. Taliban claimed besides some other countries, India and Saudi Arabia had opposed their peace talks with the US and latter with the Afghan government, for reasons best known to them.