Asia - Pacific

Taliban rebuke UN report on ties with al-Qaeda

In a statement, Taliban reaffirm their commitment to abide by Doha agreement with US

Shadi Khan Saif   | 02.06.2020
Taliban rebuke UN report on ties with al-Qaeda

KABUL, Afghanistan

The Taliban on Tuesday rebuked a UN report charging the group in Afghanistan of keeping ties with al-Qaeda despite a peace deal with the US.

The group posted a statement on its website which termed the UN report “false.” It called on the UN leadership to not allow such reports to “undermine” this world body’s credibility and neutrality.

“All in all, this report is designed to undermine and destroy the agreement reached between the Islamic Emirate [Taliban] and the United States, which is an important instrument and tool for ending the war, lasting peace and security in Afghanistan,” said the statement issued in Pashto and Dari languages.

The Taliban reaffirmed their commitment to abide by the Doha agreement with the US.

On Monday, the UN report said the Taliban have maintained its ties to al-Qaeda despite assurances it made to Washington to sever all ties with the hardline militant group.

The UN's Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team told the Security Council in a report that the relations between the Taliban, particularly its Haqqani network, and al-Qaeda "remain close," and are rooted in "friendship, a history of shared struggle, ideological sympathy and intermarriage."

"The Taliban regularly consulted with Al-Qaida during negotiations with the United States and offered guarantees that it would honour their historical ties. Al-Qaida has reacted positively to the agreement, with statements from its acolytes celebrating it as a victory for the Taliban’s cause and thus for global militancy," the report said.

The Trump administration signed in February an agreement with the Taliban aimed at reducing violence in the hopes of fostering bilateral talks between the Afghan government and the extremist group to end the war-torn nation's 18-year conflict.

As part of the pact, the Taliban agreed not to allow al-Qaeda, Daesh/ISIS or any other militant group to operate in the areas they control.

But the UN's report said the Taliban had met six times over the past 12 months with al-Qaeda, including the most prominent such instance in spring 2019 when the Taliban's top officials met with Hamza bin Laden, son of Osama bin Laden, to reassure "the Islamic Emirate would not break its historical ties with Al-Qaida for any price."

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