During an online conference last week, CENTCOM commander Gen. McKenzie questioned the Taliban’s commitment to its supposed counterterrorism assurances. He pointed to al Qaeda’s presence in eastern Afghanistan and claimed Ayman al Zawahiri is there. In response, the Taliban falsely claimed that al Qaeda hasn’t been present in Afghanistan since the days of the Islamic Emirate.
According to a new report by a UN monitoring team, the Taliban “regularly consulted with Al Qaeda during negotiations with the United States and offered guarantees that it would honor their historical ties.” The analysis contains numerous allegations of ongoing collusion between the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
According to a new report by the Lead Inspector General for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, U.S. officials have assessed that the Taliban is “reluctant to publicly break with al Qaeda,” while Pakistan continues to harbor senior Taliban leaders, including the Haqqanis. The report confirms that the Taliban went on the offensive following the Feb. 29 withdrawal agreement with the U.S.
Last week, AQAP released an audio message form its new emir, Khalid Batarfi. In it, Batarfi renews his allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri on behalf of AQAP. He also praises the Taliban and Shabaab.
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.