Eleven Taliban leaders have been reportedly exchanged for three kidnapped Indian engineers. One of the newly-freed Taliban commanders is Abdul Rashid Baluch. The US designated Baluch as a terrorist in 2015, reporting that he “served as a Taliban liaison officer to al Qaeda (AQ) and was responsible for planning meetings between Taliban senior leadership” and al Qaeda “members in Karachi, Pakistan.”
In 2001, Omar was unwavering in his position that the Taliban was religiously obligated to protect Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda cadre. The Taliban has remained true to Omar’s words, and fought an 18 year long war to defend the terror group.
The Taliban continues to use rural areas it controls to threaten major population centers, including provincial capitals.
Not only does the Taliban reject democracy in Afghanistan, it is opposed to it worldwide. Given the Taliban’s clear and consistent views on the “evils” of democracy and all Muslim’s religious obligation to resit it, it is absolute folly for the State Department to attempt to appeal to the Taliban to permit elections to take place.
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has repeatedly made it absolutely clear that the aim of this Jihad is the end of occupation and establishment of an Islamic government,” the Taliban says in a recent statement.
The Taliban has warned civilians to stay away from places near government facilitates, including election sites, as it says these targets are fair game. However, given the scarcity of medical facilities, it is impossible for Afghan civilians to avoid hospitals such as the one in Qalat.
One of the attacks, in Parwan province, targeted an election rally while President Ghani was speaking. The Taliban has warned civilians to stay away from election sites.
A raid against a Taliban explosives warehouse in Ghazni highlights the enduring relationship between the Taliban and al Qaeda.