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Al-Qaeda resurfaces in Afghanistan with new training camps, schools

AT News

KABUL – A recent report from the UN Security Council says that al-Qaeda is already establishing itself in Afghanistan and using eight new training camps and five madrasas for its recruitment and propaganda.

According to the report, these training camps are dispersed throughout various provinces, including Ghazni, Laghman, Parwan, and Uruzgan. Additionally, al-Qaida has identified strategic sites for the movement of operatives between Afghanistan and Iran, with a newly established base for weapon stockpiling located in the Panjshir Valley, north of Kabul.

Analysts underscore the historical ties and ideological alignment between al-Qaida and the Taliban, emphasizing their shared jihadist worldview and mutual support. This collaboration has deepened since the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan, offering al-Qaida strategic advantages such as access to experienced fighters and operational expertise.

The resurgence of terrorist activities in Afghanistan has been facilitated by the political instability following the Taliban’s resurgence. Reports indicate an increase in terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings, targeting ethnic minorities, religious sites, and government establishments. Notably, the Islamic State Khorasan Province and other extremist groups like Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan have also intensified their operations within the country.

Furthermore, the report highlights the establishment of suicide bomber training camps for Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan in Kunar Province, indicating a concerning trend of collaboration among various extremist factions.

The close relationship between the Taliban and al-Qaida continues to pose challenges, with the latter operating under Taliban patronage in Afghanistan. Analysts suggest that al-Qaida’s presence provides strategic advantages to the Taliban, including leverage in regional dynamics and access to resources.

The tense border between Afghanistan and Iran adds another layer of complexity to the situation. Both countries have cited grievances against each other, exacerbating tensions fueled by a longstanding dispute over the Helmand River. Iran’s vast rural regions and porous borders create opportunities for al-Qaida fighters to enter the country undetected, potentially establishing bases and logistical hubs.

Analysts warn that al-Qaida’s interest in establishing bases in Iran reflects a strategic calculus aimed at expanding its operational capabilities and regional influence. Iran’s geographic proximity to Afghanistan provides al-Qaida with opportunities to recruit new members, coordinate activities, and access vital resources and support networks.

The resurgence of al-Qaida in Afghanistan underscores the urgent need for international cooperation and strategic efforts to address the evolving terrorist threat in the region. As Afghanistan grapples with political instability and security challenges, proactive measures are essential to prevent further escalation and mitigate the impact of terrorist activities on regional stability and security.

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