MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 22nd September, 2021) There are no members of the al-Qaeda terrorist group (banned in Russia) in Afghanistan, TOLOnews said Tuesday, citing Taliban (banned in Russia) spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
Earlier in the month, former Central Intelligence Agency director Michael Morrell claimed that al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri lived in Afghanistan and was harbored by the Taliban. The resistance in Panjshir province also alleged that the Taliban was sheltering al-Qaeda terrorists and allowing them to join the movement, the claim that was repeated by UN Special Envoy Deborah Lyons. The Taliban have since rejected the allegations.
"Concerns have been raised over Al Qaida presence in Afghanistan. Such remarks are propaganda. We do not see anyone in Afghanistan belonging to Al Qaida. The Islamic Emirate (Taliban-led government) has made commitments to the United States in this regard. The commitments are that we will not allow anyone to threaten anyone using Afghanistan territory," Mujahid said.
In mid-September, the US intelligence agencies warned that al-Qaeda could use Afghan soil to plot attacks on the US sooner than expected, within two years, since the US withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan had shortened the timeline.
The Taliban vowed to cut ties with al-Qaeda and to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorist groups as part of the Doha agreement reached with the Trump administration in February of 2020.
Afghanistan previously provided the base for al-Qaeda and the group's late leader Osama bin Laden to plan and direct the September 11 attacks, prompting a US invasion and two decades of fighting that followed.