Afghanistan: Foreign terrorist groups aiding Taliban

Kabul: Several foreign terrorist groups including Al-Qaeda are aiding the Taliban which is rapidly advancing in Afghanistan amid the US troops withdrawal, said a recent media report.

According to Nikkie Asia, when the US and allied forces have almost completely withdrawn, the Taliban have made rapid territorial gains, capturing swathes of the countryside, towns and border crossings, mainly with the support of Al-Qaeda and allied groups, including the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP); and Central Asian terrorist outfits such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and Jamaat Ansarullah, terrorist outfit also known as the Tajik Taliban.

Nikkie Asia reported citing government officials, tribal elders and local journalists that foreign terrorists, particularly Tajiks, Uzbeks, Pakistanis and Uyghurs linked with Al-Qaeda allies have been spotted in Taliban ranks during recent advances in Afghanistan.

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Refuting the reports, Suhail Shaheen, one of the Taliban representatives told media outlet: “We do not have foreign terrorists in our ranks.” “Such reports or claims are aimed at misleading the people of the world about on-the-ground realities in Afghanistan.”

Afghan Ambassador Ghulam Isaczai during the last briefing at the UN Security Council said that since mid-April, the Taliban have launched more than 5,500 attacks in 31 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces “with the direct support of more than 10,000 foreign terrorists representing 20 groups, including Al-Qaeda, ETIM, and TTP, and IMU.”

“The link between the Taliban and the transnational terrorist groups is stronger today than at any point in recent times,” Isaczai said.

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense on Saturday claimed that 30 Al-Qaeda terrorists were among the 112 terrorists killed in airstrikes launched by Afghan forces to protect Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province, from the Taliban, reported Nikkie Asia.

On Thursday, Taliban claimed that it captured Herat, the eleventh provincial capital in the war-torn country. Afghanistan is witnessing a surge in violence as the Taliban has intensified its offensive against Afghan forces and civilians with the complete pullback of foreign forces just a few weeks away.

Due to rising violence in the country by the Taliban, the situation is deteriorating badly as the terror group has been looting people and killing civilians after capturing multiple areas from the government.

The Taliban escalated its offensive against the Afghan forces soon after the US forces started leaving Afghanistan in large numbers after the peace deal signed between Washington and the Taliban in February last year.

On Wednesday, President Ashraf Ghani appointed a new chief of army staff in an attempt to give a robust response to the terror group on the ground.

Haibatullah Alizai replaced Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai, as the new chief of army staff. Alizai previously worked as commander of the Afghan National Army Commando.

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