The U.S. military continues to recycle stale estimates of Al Qaeda’s strength in Afghanistan, and elevate the Islamic State as a greater threat.
The Afghan military targeted Al Qaeda’s network in four different districts in Helmand province over the past month. Al Qaeda was operating a “training center” and fighting alongside the Taliban.
The U.S. government, military, and intelligence services have provided inaccurate assessments of Al Qaeda’s strength in Afghanistan for more than a decade. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continued that tradition by recent regurgitating that Al Qaeda has fewer than 200 fighters in the country. This estimate, like previous ones, should not be trusted.
The Taliban’s demand of the release of the wife of slain Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent leader Asim Umar is curious, as the group maintains that Al Qaeda does not have a presence in Afghanistan.
According to a newly released UN monitoring team report, al-Qaeda’s relations with the Taliban “continue to be close and mutually beneficial.” The relationship has continued despite al-Qaeda’s reported concerns over the Taliban’s talks with the U.S.
The U.S. military has suppressed a press release announcing the death of Al Qaeda In the Indian Subcontinient’s emir for three months as his presence with the difficult. Asim Umar, his courrier to Ayman al Zawahiri, his staff, and even his wife were embedded with the Taliban in Helmand province when he was killed.
Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security claims it has confirmed that Asim Umar, the emir of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, was killed during a Sept. 23 raid in Helmand province. Other key AQIS leaders were also killed in the fighting.
Afghan officials have identified several AQIS members who were killed during a controversial raid in Musa Qala, Helmand earlier this week. They have also posted images purportedly documenting the weaponry, explosives and cash seized at the jihadists’ compound.