Pakistan remains a “safe haven” for a host of regional terror groups, including the Afghan Taliban and its integral subgroup, the Al Qaeda linked Haqqani Network, according the the State Department’s newly released Country Reports on Terrorism 2019.
The Taliban’s denial of Al Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan means that one of the two groups are not telling the truth. Either Al Qaeda has crafted an elaborate scheme to pretend it fights in Afghanistan alongside the Taliban, or the Taliban is lying, and Al Qaeda has fought there for decades and remains to this day.
Over the past week, the Taliban has killed or wounded more than 420 Afghan security personnel during attacks across Afghanistan. This buries claims by Afghan officials who claimed the Taliban agreed to extend its Ei-ul-Fitr ceasefire.
the Taliban continues to make it clear that it won’t accept anything less than a return of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. In a recent video, it extols the virtues of jihad while it denounces “deviants … who who are trained in the poisonous deviant beliefs of atheism, communism, secularism, democracy, and other satanic western and disbelieving ideologies.”
The Taliban’s statement should raise deep concerns with U.S. officials about the group’s reliability to be an effective counterterrorism partner against Al Qaeda and other terror groups.
Pakistan continues to play its double game by supporting terror groups. Thousands of Pakistanis, including fighters from the Pakistan state-sponsored Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, as well as the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, continue to support the Taliban’s jihad against the Afghan government.
The Taliban’s two deputy emirs and the head of its political office lauded suicide bombers and other “martyrdom seekers” who are working to achieve the goal of the restoration of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
The U.S. continues to target high level Islamic State leaders in Syria despite President Trump’s claim that the group has been “defeated.” Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service said that the U.S. military killed Hajji Taysir, who oversees the “Research Department for ISIS’s chemical and biological weapons efforts in Syria.” His death has not been confirmed.