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Taliban keep strong ties with al-Qaeda; Ghani’s aide

AT News

KABUL: Wahid Omar, an adviser to President Ghani claims that Taliban militants still hold strong relationship with the al-Qaeda terrorist network and jointly attack on government institutions.

“This is a relationship between two bodies who believe violence, believe terrorism and believe killing of people. This relation is as deep as Taliban and al-Qaeda are the same,” Omar told reporters on Monday. He even claimed that the relationship between two terrorist groups has been strengthened.

Taliban have vowed in their 2020 peace deal with the United States to cut ties with al-Qaeda and other international terrorist groups.

But the United Nations said in a recent report that senior officials of the two terrorist groups have personal relations like marriage. So, it said no change was seen in the relations between Taliban and al-Qaeda.

It said the second generation of Taliban and al-Qaeda have strengthened the ties, adding that the latter has now strong presence in at least 15 provinces in the east and south of Afghanistan led by Sheikh Mahmoud.

Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar admitted that al-Qaeda has influence and presence in 11 out of 34 provinces.

Separately, ministry of defense said that foreign fighters are fighting alongside Taliban against government forces.

“Nobody can deny this. There are Pakistani, Uzbek, Chechen, Tajik and Arab terrorists who fights alongside Taliban against the people of Afghanistan,” said Fawad Aman, a spokesman of defense ministry.

Taliban did not immediately comment on the allegations.

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