"The relationship between the Taliban and Al-Qaida remains close, with the latter celebrating the former’s success and renewing its pledge of allegiance to [Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada]," a UN report said.
The Islamic Emirate has yet to comment on this latest claim but has earlier denied reports of the presence of terrorist groups in Afghanistan.
The UN Security Council released a report by the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team which assessed the presence of Al-Qaeda and Daesh groups in Afghanistan.
“Member State assessments thus far suggest that Al-Qaida has a safe haven under the Taliban and increased freedom of action. Ayman al-Zawahiri has issued more frequent recorded messages since August, and there is now proof of life for him as recently as February 2022,” the report said.
The report estimated an approximate presence of "180 to 400 fighters affiliated with Al-Qaeda" from "Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Pakistan" who are settled in "Ghazni, Helmand, Kandahar, Nimruz, Paktika and Zabul provinces."
“The Islamic Emirate has yet to reach a final discussion regarding this issue. The officials of the Islamic Emirate should provide final assurances in this regard,” said Shir Hassan Hassan, an international relations analyst.
“After the killing of (Osama bin Laden), the al-Qaeda has become a diminished organization. In fact, al-(Qaeda) is not an important danger to the world,” said Torek Farhadi, a political analyst.
“These are the excuses for the Islamic Emirate. The Islamic Emirate should clarify its stance about whether it has a link with Al-Qaeda or not. If not, then clearly deny it,” said Sayed Ishaq Gailani, leader of the National Solidarity Movement of Afghanistan.
The report said that “ Taliban are starting to see the National Resistance Front challenge fading while recognizing ISIL-K as a more long-term and serious threat.”