According to a recently released report by a UN Security Council monitoring team, the Taliban is the “primary partner for all foreign terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan,” including al Qaeda. The only exception is the Islamic State, which opposes the Taliban.
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.
Katibat Imam al Bukhari (also known as the Imam Bukhari Jamaat), an Uzbek jihadist group that operates in Syria and Afghanistan, has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the US State Department today.
The Afghan military said it captured a German citizen who was fighting in Helmand province and belonged to the Taliban’s Red Unit, which serves as an elite unit that spearheads attacks on Afghan forces.
Abdul Hakim al Tatari, a Russian Tatar member of the former Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, joined the Islamic State’s Wilayat Khurasan before migrating to Syria. He was later killed in the battles around Baiji, Iraq, just days after arriving to Islamic State-held territory.
A former Guantanamo detainee known as Jamal al Harith (formerly Ronald Fiddler) launched a suicide attack with a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) south of Mosul earlier this week. He is at least the second former Guantanamo detainee to launch a suicide attack in or around Mosul on behalf of the Islamic State and its predecessor organization.
The attack was executed by a Tajik fighter, who may have been a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan faction that merged with the Islamic State’s Khorasan province.
Abu Dher al Barmi, the former mufti of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan who defected in 2014, apologized for joining the Islamic State and encouraged others who joined the organization to leave it for other jihadist groups.