Taliban dismiss UNSC report on al-Qaeda in Afghanistan

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid at a press conference on Thursday, August 25, 2022, in Kabul.

The Taliban on Thursday refuted a UN Security Council report about al-Qaeda and other militant groups’ presence in Afghanistan. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid labeled the findings of the report as “false”.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan strongly rejects this false allegation. Unfortunately, the United Nations has started a regular program of accusing the IEA, always spreading propaganda,” Mujahid said.

Taliban’s deputy chief minister Mawlawi Abdul Kabir, speaking at an event in Paktia province, also dismissed the report as baseless. “Afghanistan will not allow centers that pose a risk to the world,” Kabir stated. He challenged the UNSC’s claim of six al-Qaeda centers in Afghanistan, asserting full Taliban control over the country.

The United Nations Security Council, in its report dated Jan. 29, expressed concern about the growing activities of terrorist groups, particularly al-Qaeda, in Afghanistan. The report noted al-Qaeda’s active presence and the establishment of training camps, religious schools, and weapon storage facilities in several provinces.

Despite the Taliban’s efforts to limit al-Qaeda, the report highlighted that the group has maintained ties with the Taliban and a “holding” position under their rule, creating tensions. The UNSC had previously raised concerns about the presence and activities of terrorist groups in Afghanistan.

The report also indicated al-Qaeda’s diminished capacity for large-scale attacks. “Al-Qaida was reported to have established up to eight new training camps in Afghanistan, in provinces including Ghazni, Laghman, Parwan, and Uruzgan, with a new base in the Panjshir Valley,” the UNSC report stated, adding that some camps might be temporary.

Furthermore, the report mentioned Hakim al-Masri, based in Kunar Province, as responsible for these training camps and conducting suicide bomber training for TTP. It also noted that al-Qaeda operates five madrasas in Laghman, Kunar, Nangarhar, Nuristan, and Parwan provinces, and maintains safe houses in Herat, Farah, Helmand, and Kabul to facilitate movement between Afghanistan and Iran.