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Afghan Taliban’s strength

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THE Afghan Taliban surprised the world when they asserted that no organisation named Al Qaeda existed in Afghanistan. The statement will not affect the commitments they made to the US early this year as part of the peace deal. Although the Taliban have a history of employing ‘denial’ as a war tactic, their statement denying Al Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan also hints at their increasing political compulsions. The two militant groups have a long history of cooperation and friendship which the Taliban now feel is harder to maintain.

The Taliban have been using the ‘denial strategy’, equally against friends and foes, since they first came to power during the late 1990s. It was the time when Afghanistan had become a haven for international jihadists, including Pakistani terrorists, who were involved in sectarian killings in Pakistan. It was an open secret that the terrorists of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi were running their training camps in Afghanistan. However, quite surprisingly, whenever Pakistan demanded the extradition of these terrorists, the Taliban denied their presence on Afghan soil. This may be a reference from their past but even now the Afghan Taliban do not publicly acknowledge their close bonds with Pakistani militant groups, mainly the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

A recent report by the UN’s Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team has indicated that Pakistani militant groups, mainly the TTP, are operating inside Afghanistan with the permission and support of the Afghan Taliban. In many instances, they remain reluctant to take action against the TTP and its........

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