Kabul, May 30
A UN report has claimed that the relationship between the Taliban in Afghanistan and Al Qaeda remains close, with the latter "renewing its pledge of allegiance to Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada", the supreme leader of the Taliban.
The report by the UN Security Council's Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team assessed the presence of the Al Qaeda and Islamic State (IS) terror groups in Afghanistan, reports TOLO News.
"Member State assessments thus far suggest that Al Qaeda has a safe haven under the Taliban and increased freedom of action. Ayman al-Zawahiri has issued more frequent recorded messages since August, and there is now proof of life for him as recently as February 2022," the report said.
Al-Zawahiri has been the leader of Al Qaeda since 2011, succeeding the terror group's former leader Osama bin Laden following his death.
The report estimated that an approximate presence of "180 to 400 fighters affiliated with Al Qaeda" from "Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Pakistan" are settled in Afghanistan's "Ghazni, Helmand, Kandahar, Nimruz, Paktika and Zabul provinces"
The Taliban government in Afghanistan has not yet reacted to the report yet.