According to a new report by the State Department, the Afghan Taliban and its Haqqani Network are still “operating in Pakistan-based safe havens and threatening U.S. and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.” Pakistan has assisted the US in counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda. However, by refusing to move against the Taliban, including the Haqqanis, Pakistan is harboring al Qaeda’s most important allies in the region.
The Pakistani and American governments announced today that Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle, along with their three children, have been released from the Taliban’s custody. The couple was abducted in Afghanistan in 2012.
The Taliban released a statement attributed to its emir, Hibatullah Akhundzada, who says that “peace” is only possible if the “occupation” is ended. The statement is entirely self-serving and contains absurd claims. For example, Akhundzada writes that the Taliban wants a “free, independent and progressive Afghanistan,” which is completely inconsistent with the group’s ideology and history.
A new video from the Taliban features several images and clips of al Qaeda leaders, further demonstrating that the two remain firmly allied more than 15 years after the 9/11 hijackings.
The fifth installment of the Taliban’s “Army of Badr” video series highlights the oaths of loyalty sworn by Ayman al Zawahiri and Siraj Haqqani to the Taliban’s new emir, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour. The video is the latest piece of evidence that the jihadist “syndicate” continues to threaten Afghanistan 14 years after the US-led invasion of the country.
The Taliban’s new emir is Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour. His top two deputies are Moulavi Haibatullah Akhunzada and Siraj Haqqani. Both Mansour and Haqqani are allied with al Qaeda.
Recently released letters recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound reveal that key Pakistani leaders, including the brother of Pakistan’s current prime minister, sought out negotiations with al Qaeda. Pakistan intelligence also communicated with al Qaeda leaders through jihadist intermediaries to discuss a possible truce.