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Taliban in denial amid allegations of al-Qaeda links

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KABUL: The Taliban have shrugged off allegations by the United Nations that their administration is harbouring Al-Qaeda and has “strong and symbiotic link” with and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

A UN report has said that terrorist groups can freely manoeuver under the Taliban in Afghanistan, raising the threat of terrorism in the country and the region.

The Taliban administration in a statement strongly rejected the claims it is allowing “opponents of neighboring and regional countries” to use Afghanistan soil against other countries.

However, the fourteenth report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team of the 1988 Taliban Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council said that the Taliban have harboured and allowed active support of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan contrary to promises to not allow Afghan soil to be used for attacks against other countries. The report also accuses them of lobbying member states for counter-terrorism assistance in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province (ISIL-K), which it perceives as its principal rival.

“The link between the Taliban and both Al-Qaeda and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) remains strong and symbiotic. A range of terrorist groups have greater freedom of manoeuver under the Taliban de facto authorities. They are making good use of this, and the threat of terrorism is rising in both Afghanistan and the region,” the report, said.

It added that while they have sought to reduce the profile of these groups and have conducted operations against ISIL-K, in general, the Taliban have not delivered on the counter-terrorism provisions under the Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan between the United States of America and the Taliban.

However, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on Sunday rejected the accusations, saying they consider the continuation of UN Security Council sanctions and such reports as prejudiced and contradictory to principles of independence and non-interference.

In a statement, the Taliban said their counternarcotic campaign has helped cut cultivation, production and trafficking of drugs significantly.

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