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Taliban still deny presence of al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan

AT News

KABUL: The Taliban has once again denied that members of Al Qaeda are present in Afghanistan.

The denial comes in response to a U.S. general’s remarks suggesting that they still are foreign fighters linked to al-Qaeda terrorist network in Afghanistan.

The U.S. Marine Corps General Kenneth Franklin McKenzie raised concerns recently that al-Qaeda militants still operate in Afghanistan and that the Taliban may not be able to avoid its influence.

He faulted Taliban’s reliability and capability to cut ties with al-Qaeda, saying that he would not recommend a full withdrawal of the US troops unless the Taliban show that they no longer support al-Qaeda.

“The Al-Qaeda’s sanctuaries are in eastern Afghanistan nearby the borderline with Pakistan,” McKenzie said.

But the Taliban in a statement said that the Arab fighters, who lived under the Al-Qaeda’s flag in the earlier regime of the Taliban in Afghanistan, are no longer existed.

Based on the US-Taliban peace deal signed on February end, the Taliban have to cut ties with other terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda- one of the main supporter of the Taliban regime in 1990st.

The militant’s statement said that they would stay committed to their agreement with the US and that they would not let anyone use the Afghanistan’s soil against the US.

Referring to the Taliban’s operations against the ISI-K fighters, McKenzie said, “It is slightly clear for me if the Taliban will take the same actions against Al-Qaeda.”

The troops withdrawal, McKenzie said depend on the Taliban’s commitment to the agreement. “I think the Taliban need to demonstrate that they’re going to be faithful partners.”

Last week, the UN said in a statement that the Taliban have not cut their vast ties with the Al-Qaeda and that their relations might have been strengthened in the recent months. The statement said that the group has even consulted with the Al-Qaeda during talks with the US diplomats.

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