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U.N. Report Claims Afghan Government Has Placed Al Qaeda Leaders in Senior Positions

The 9/11 Commission in the U.S. found that under the Taliban, al-Qaeda was able to use Afghanistan as a place to coordinate with other jihadists, and plot terrorist actions.
Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace in Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021. AP
Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace in Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021. AP

According to a recent report released by the United Nations earlier this month, it has been revealed that three high-ranking officials within the Taliban regime maintain significant connections to al-Qaeda.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) assigned an investigation group the responsibility of inquiring about the extent of the Taliban's affiliations with al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. A report concluded that a troubling number of al-Qaeda members have acquired positions of influence within the Taliban's security and administrative structures.

The report identifies Qari Baryal, the current governor of Kapisa province, as an individual who is on the U.S. most-wanted terrorist list. The U.S. military has claimed that Baryal is an al-Qaeda operative, who played a role in coordinating overall attack planning and execution in the Kabul region during the N.A.T.O. operation in Afghanistan.

Another terrorist mentioned in the report is Hafiz Muhammad Agha Hakeem, who is currently serving as the governor of Panjshir. The U.S. government has identified Hakeem as the leader of the "Kabul Network," a collaborative force comprising Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters who orchestrated suicide bombings targeting N.A.T.O. forces.

Tajmir Jawad, the Deputy Director of Intelligence for the Taliban, is yet another high-ranking Taliban official with ties to al-Qaeda mentioned in the report. Jawad, a former field commander for the terrorist "Haqqani Network", reportedly merged with the Taliban following the 2021 U.S. withdraw from the country.

In response to the U.N. report, the Taliban vehemently rejected its findings, asserting that their regime has faithfully adhered to its commitments to prevent terrorists from operating within Afghanistan's borders. They further asserted that there exists "no threat from the territory of Afghanistan to the region, neighbors, and countries of the world."

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