According to the UN’s Jan. 2019 assessment, al Qaeda’s relationship with the Taliban is “long-standing” and “strong.” And al Qaeda “continues to see Afghanistan as a safe haven for its leadership.” The UN estimates that the Islamic State has several thousand fighters in Afghanistan as well.
The al Qaeda and Taliban-linked jihadist group has operated under the radar of Western officials in Afghanistan, but continues to wage jihad alongside its allies.
The IJU continues to operate in eastern Afghanistan. The group said that fighters from Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan as well as Pashtuns participated in attacks on US bases, and that the fighters have deployed a mine designed to down a US Apache.
The strike took place in Mir Ali, a known terrorist haven where the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and the Islamic Jihad Group, an IMU splinter group, are based.
Mounir and Yassin Chouka, two Germans who are operatives in the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and Mevlut Kar, an Islamic Jihad Union facilitator, were added to the list of Specially Designated Global terrorists. All three have ties to al Qaeda.
Another Turkish fighter is said to have been killed in a recent US Predator airstrike in Mir Ali, Pakistan.
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan said that Abu Bakr al Almani, a previously unknown jihadist, was killed during battle.
The Taliban again called for the release of ‘Lady al Qaeda’ Aafia Siddiqui. The hostages may be managed by Moezeddine Garsallaoui, a Swiss citizen who is a senior al Qaeda leader in North Waziristan.