IS threat looms large over Taliban in Kabul: UN

June 04, 2022 12:00 am | Updated 05:34 am IST - UNITED NATIONS

Afghan regime trying to counter influence by maintaining close ties with al-Qaida

Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers are maintaining close ties with al-Qaida as they consolidate control over the country, and their main military threat is coming from the Islamic State extremist group and guerrilla-style attacks by former Afghan government security personnel, UN experts said in a new report.

The experts said in the report to the UN Security Council that with the onset of better weather, fighting may escalate as both Islamic State and resistance forces undertake operations against Taliban forces.

But neither IS nor al-Qaida “is believed to be capable of mounting international attacks before 2023 at the earliest,” the panel of experts said.

Nonetheless, it said the presence of IS, Al-Qaida, and “many other terrorist groups and fighters on Afghan soil” is raising concerns in the wider international community.

Loyalty over competence

Since their takeover of Afghanistan on last August 15 as the U.S. and NATO forces were in the final stages of their chaotic withdrawal from the country after 20 years, the Taliban “have favoured loyalty and seniority over competence, and their decision-making has been opaque and inconsistent,” the experts said.

In the report obtained on Thursday, the panel monitoring sanctions against the Taliban said its leaders have appointed 41 men on the UN sanctions blacklist to the Cabinet and senior positions, and they have favoured the country’s dominant Pashtun ethnic group, alienating minority communities including ethnic Tajiks and Uzbeks.

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