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.
The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for two suicide bombings this month, one in Balochistan and the other in Swat. At least 11 Pakistani soldiers were killed in the attack in Swat. The jihadists controlled Swat from 2007 to 2009, when Pakistani forces removed them from power. The group has claimed at least 5 “martyrdom” operations thus far in 2018, after claiming 11 in all of 2017.
The Pakistani Taliban has released a lengthy statement rejecting Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s claim to be the new caliph. The group praises Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar, as well as deceased al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his successor, Ayman al Zawahiri.