UN report finds strong links between Afghan Taliban, TTP

The link between the Afghan Taliban and proscribed militant outfits Al Qaeda and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) remains “strong and symbiotic”, as per a report published by the United Nations (UN), media reports said. The 14th report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team of the UN Security Council’s 1988 Taliban Sanctions Committee noted that a “range of terrorist groups has greater freedom of manoeuvre under the Taliban de facto authorities”, Dawn reported. “They are making good use of this, and the threat of terrorism is rising in both Afghanistan and the region,” the report read. “While they have sought to reduce the profile of these groups and conducted maintaining links to numerous terrorist entities, the Taliban have lobbied 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 report said that the Taliban forces have conducted operations against ISIL-K, in general, but they have not delivered on the counter-terrorism provisions under the Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan between the US and the Taliban. “There are indications that Al Qaeda is rebuilding operational capability, that TTP is launching attacks into Pakistan with support from the Taliban, that groups of foreign terrorist fighters are projecting threat across Afghanistan’s borders and that the operations of ISIL-K are becoming more sophisticated and lethal (if not more numerous),” it added, Dawn reported. However, the Afghan Taliban dismissed the report and called it “full of prejudice”. “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan considers the continuation of UN Security Council sanctions and such reports as full of prejudice and in conflict with the principles of independence and non-interference, and calls for an end to it,” Taliban government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement, Dawn reported.