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Al-Qaeda active in 12 Afghan provinces: UN

‘Up to 6,000-6,500 Pakistani terrorists present in Afghanistan’

AT Monitoring Desk

KABUL: A report submitted to the United Nations Security Council indicates that the total number of “Pakistani foreign terrorist fighters” in Afghanistan is estimated at “between 6,000 and 6,500, most of them with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).’ 

The report says the TTP fighters in Afghanistan are led by Amir Noor Wali Mehsud, supported by his deputy Qari Amjad and TTP spokesperson Mohammad Khorasani. 

The report says that according to UN member states, “Al-Qaeda is covertly active in 12 Afghan provinces and Aiman al-Zawahiri remains based in the country.” 

The report says that the UN Monitoring Team estimates the total number of Al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan at “between 400 and 600 and that the leadership maintains close contact with the Haqqani network.” 
In February 2020, “al-Zawahiri met with Yahya Haqqani, the primary Haqqani Network contact with Al Qaeda since mid-2009, to discuss ongoing cooperation,” the report said. 

The report says that according to Member States, the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), presence in Afghanistan is mainly in Badakhshan, Kunduz and Takhar Provinces. 

Approximately “500 fighters of the group operate in Badakhshan, primarily in Raghistan and Warduj Districts,” the report says. 

The report says Daesh has suffered further severe reverses in its former Afghan strongholds of Nangarhar and Kunar provinces, but it is too soon to discount it as a threat. 

Although in territorial retreat, Daesh remains capable of carrying out high-profile attacks in various parts of the country, including Kabul, the report says. 

Daesh also aims to attract Taliban fighters who oppose the agreement with the United States, the report added, saying that in case of further military pressure on Daesh in Kunar, the group is expected to retreat to Badakhshan and other northern provinces. 

A number of other terrorist groups are active in Afghanistan, most operating under the umbrella of the Taliban but some aligned with Daesh. 

Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) operates under the Taliban umbrella from Nimruz, Helmand and Kandahar provinces, the report says, adding that the group reportedly has between 150 and 200 members from Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Pakistan. 

The current leader of AQIS is Osama Mahmood, who succeeded the late Asim Umar. AQIS is reportedly planning retaliation operations in the region to avenge the death of its former leader, according to the report.

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