Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda aiding Pakistani Taliban’s insurgency

The Afghan Taliban, with the help of Al Qaeda, is directly sheltering, supporting, and training the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP) despite claims to the contrary.

The Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda’s support of the TTP is documented in the latest report on Afghanistan by the United Nations Security Council’s Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, which was released on June 9.

“The link between the Taliban and both Al Qaeda and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) remains strong and symbiotic,” the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team noted. “A range of terrorist groups have greater freedom of maneuver under the Taliban de facto authorities. They are making good use of this, and the threat of terrorism is rising in both Afghanistan and the region.”

“There are indications … that TTP is launching attacks into Pakistan with support from the Taliban, that groups of foreign terrorist fighters are projecting threat across Afghanistan’s borders,” the report continued.

The Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team also rebutted repeated Taliban claims that the group does not allow foreign terror groups to operate within Afghanistan and conducts attacks outside the country. [See: FDD’s Long War Journal has refuted this false assertion numerous times]

“Taliban harbouring and supporting TTP evidences a threat projecting beyond the borders of Afghanistan and negates the group’s numerous assertions that Afghanistan’s soil will not be used for carrying out attacks against other countries,” the report stated.

“The relationship between the Afghan Taliban and TTP, like the Taliban’s relationship with Al Qaeda, is tightly bonded and unlikely to dissipate.”

Additionally, “The Taliban does not consider TTP a threat to Afghanistan, but rather as part of the emirate.”

The Afghan Taliban-TTP ties have been forged in decades of war both inside Afghanistan and across the border in Pakistan. The leader of the TTP has sworn allegiance to the Taliban’s emir, and says his group is part of the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

The TTP helped the Afghan Taliban battle the U.S. and the prior Afghan government, and is known to have a safe haven in eastern Afghanistan.

Al Qaeda, for its part, “trained and supplied ideological guidance to TTP fighters in suicide bomber training camps in Kunar Province,” according to one UN member state. Al Qaeda could not operate multiple training camps in Afghanistan without the express consent and support of the Afghan Taliban and its leadership. [For more information on Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, see LWJ report, Al Qaeda actively operating training camps in 5 Afghan provinces.]

The Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team estimates that the TTP has “4,000 to 6,000 fighters … based mainly in the eastern provinces of Nangarhar, Kunar, Logar, Paktika, Paktia and Khost.” TTP emir Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud is believed to be based in Paktika province, a stronghold of the Haqqani Network, while his deputy, Qari Amjad Ali, shelters in Kunar.

The Afghan Taliban has vehemently objected to the latest UN report, as it punches gaping holes into the Taliban’s narrative that it does not shelter and support foreign terror groups. However, the presence of the TTP, Al Qaeda and a host of other terror groups in Afghanistan is undeniable and backed by decades of evidence.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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