Islamabad [Pakistan], June 3 (ANI): The Taliban in Afghanistan still maintain close ties with the al-Qaeda terror network, despite signing a peace deal with the United States in which they committed to fight terrorist groups, a UN report released on Tuesday said.
The terrorists promptly slammed the report as "baseless and bigoted".
The UN's Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team told the Security Council in a report that the relations between the Taliban, particularly its Haqqani network, and al-Qaeda "remain close," and are rooted in "friendship, a history of shared struggle, ideological sympathy and intermarriage".
"The Taliban regularly consulted with al-Qaeda during negotiations with the United States and offered guarantees that it would honour their historical ties. Al-Qaeda has reacted positively to the agreement, with statements from its acolytes celebrating it as a victory for the Taliban's cause and thus for global militancy," the report said.
The US-Taliban accord, signed in Qatar's capital of Doha at the end of February, was meant to allow for American troops to gradually leave Afghanistan after 19 years of war and pave way for intra-Afghan negotiations that would shape the country's political future.
Under the accord, the Taliban pledged to combat other terror groups -- including al-Qaeda, which they once harboured -- and prevent terrorists from using Afghan territory to stage attacks on America.
But the UN's report said that the Taliban had met six times over the past 12 months with al-Qaeda, including the most prominent such instance in spring 2019, when the Taliban's top officials met with Hamza bin Laden, son of Osama bin Laden, to reassure "the Islamic Emirate would not break its historical ties with al-Qaeda for any price". (ANI)