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Al Qaeda leader Aiman al-Zawahiri may be in border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan: UN report

A major half of the Al-Qaeda management resides in the Afghanistan and Pakistan border region, together with the group’s elusive leader Aiman al-Zawahiri, who might be alive however too frail to be featured in propaganda, in keeping with a United Nations report.

The report, issued on Friday, mentioned that enormous numbers of Al-Qaeda fighters and different overseas extremist components aligned with the Taliban are positioned in varied elements of Afghanistan.

Member states reported {that a} important half of Al-Qaeda management stays primarily based in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the place the core is joined by and works carefully with Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, the twelfth report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team mentioned.

Al Qaeda leader Aiman Muhammed Rabi al-Zawahiri, is believed to be positioned someplace in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Previous experiences of his demise as a consequence of in poor health well being haven’t been confirmed.

“One member state experiences that he’s most likely alive however too frail to be featured in propaganda, the report mentioned, with out figuring out the nation.

It mentioned Al-Qaeda’s technique in the close to time period is assessed as sustaining its conventional secure haven in Afghanistan for the Al-Qaeda core management.

The Monitoring Team famous assessments which have instructed a longer-term Al-Qaeda core technique of “strategic persistence for a interval of time earlier than it could search to plan assaults in opposition to worldwide targets once more.

This state of affairs is untested in opposition to acknowledged Taliban commitments to ban such actions.

Al-Qaeda, together with Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, is reported to quantity in the vary of a number of dozen to 500 individuals.

Al-Qaeda core’s membership is of non-Afghan origin, consisting primarily of nationals from North Africa and the Middle East.

Member states assess that formal communication between senior Al-Qaeda and Taliban officers is at the moment rare, one member state reported that there’s common communication between the Taliban and Al-Qaeda on points associated to the peace course of.

The report mentioned Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent operates beneath the Taliban umbrella from Kandahar, Helmand (notably Baramcha) and Nimruz Provinces.

The group reportedly consists of primarily Afghan and Pakistani nationals, but additionally people from Bangladesh, India and Myanmar.

It mentioned the present leader of Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent is Osama Mahmood, who shouldn’t be listed, and succeeded the late Asim Umar.

The group is reported to be such an natural’ or important half of the insurgency that it could be troublesome, if not inconceivable, to separate it from its Taliban allies. Several member states characterised this relationship by noting that the spouse of the previous leader of Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, Asim Umar, was amongst 5,000 Taliban prisoners freed by the Afghan Government in 2020 as half of the Doha settlement, it mentioned.

The report added that Al-Qaeda continued to undergo attrition in the course of the interval beneath evaluation – between May 2020 and April 2021 – with a quantity of senior figures killed, usually alongside Taliban associates whereas co-located with them.

The major part of the Taliban in coping with Al-Qaeda is the Haqqani Network. Ties between the 2 teams stay shut, primarily based on ideological alignment, relationships solid via widespread battle and intermarriage, the report mentioned.

It added that the Taliban has begun to tighten its management over Al-Qaeda by gathering info on overseas terrorist fighters and registering and limiting them.

However, it has not made any concessions in this regard that it couldn’t simply and shortly reverse, and it’s inconceivable to evaluate with confidence that the Taliban will stay as much as its dedication to suppress any future worldwide menace emanating from Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Al-Qaida and like-minded militants proceed to have fun developments in Afghanistan as a victory for the Taliban’s trigger and thus for international radicalism.

In May 2020, Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent launched an Eid al-Fitr audio message in which it portrayed the Doha settlement for example of divine victory and reward for pursuing jihad.

While each organisations are anticipated to take care of a posture of distance and discretion for so long as such is required for the achievement of Taliban aims, Al-Qaeda nonetheless stands to learn from renewed credibility on the again of Taliban beneficial properties.

“It will be important for the international community to monitor any sign of Afghanistan again becoming a destination for extremists with both regional and international agendas,” it mentioned.

Regionally, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan (ISIL-Ok) technique is coordinated by the Al-Sadiq workplace, which covers the Khorasan region of Central and South Asia (together with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Central Asian republics).

While rare, ISIL-Ok nonetheless maintains communications with ISIL core, however funding help to the Khorasan department from the core is believed to have successfully dried up, it mentioned.

Since June 2020, ISIL-Ok has had an formidable new leader, Shahab al-Muhajir, who shouldn’t be listed, and it stays energetic and harmful, significantly whether it is ready, by positioning itself as the only pure rejectionist group in Afghanistan, to recruit disaffected Taliban and different militants to swell its ranks.

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