KABUL – A recent United Nations report has unveiled that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other groups linked to Al Qaeda are furnishing members of the Islamic State or Da’esh with weapons akin to those used by NATO. The report, discussed during a Security Council session in New York, highlights the concerning issue of weapon proliferation in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Africa.
The UN report, which was made public this week, has raised alarm through the insights of two senior UN counter-terrorism officials. It focuses on the expanding access of Da’esh and its regional associates to small arms, light weapons, unmanned aircraft systems, and improvised explosive devices. The upheaval caused by the Taliban’s ascendancy in Afghanistan has prompted Member States to express apprehension about the surge in weapons and military equipment within Afghanistan and its neighboring nations.
The report details that weapons resembling those used by the former Afghan National Defense and Security Forces are being channeled to ISIL-K by groups affiliated with the Taliban and Al-Qaida, such as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (also known as the Turkistan Islamic Party).
In response to these claims, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid dismissed the allegations as baseless. He asserted that since the Taliban’s takeover, the activities of Da’esh in Afghanistan have been effectively neutralized. Mujahid expressed skepticism about the motives behind the claims, suggesting that they might be intended to bolster Da’esh’s morale and agenda.
During a recent Security Council briefing, it was conveyed that despite international counter-terrorism efforts, Da’esh and its affiliated groups continue to pose a significant threat in conflict zones and neighboring countries. Vladimir Voronkov, the head of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office (UNOCT), emphasized that comprehending and addressing these groups’ operations require sustained and coordinated endeavors. He highlighted the persistent expansion of Da’esh and its affiliates in certain African regions, particularly the Sahel, where the affiliate is becoming increasingly autonomous and intensifying attacks in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.