Terror groups in Afghanistan
August 19, 2021 - There are an estimated 8,000-10,000 foreign terrorist fighters in Afghanistan. All must take an oath to the Taliban’s “Islamic Emirate,” and many support Al Qaeda or the so-called Islamic State.
In the February 2020 U.S.-Taliban Doha deal reached by the Trump administration, the Taliban agreed to cut ties with Al Qaeda and to ensure Afghanistan does not once again become a haven for terrorists.
However, a recent United Nations report found that the group remains “closely aligned” with the terrorist network.
According to the June report, Al Qaeda is present in at least 15 Afghan provinces, primarily in the east, southern and southeastern regions. “Al-Qaida maintains contact with the Taliban but has minimized overt communications with Taliban leadership in an effort to “lay low” and not jeopardize the Doha agreement,” according to the report.
However, in addition to the 60,000-strong Taliban, core Al Qaeda and Islamic State, Afghanistan has offered a safe haven to a veritable who’s who of terrorists.
The Haqqani network has more than 3,000 fighters and is the Taliban’s most combat-ready force, blamed for the deaths or injury of hundreds of U.S. troops.
Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISKP) has some 2,000 fighters. At the same time, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan (ISIL-K) fields some 1,500-2,000. Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has between 2,500 and 6,000, while the Turkistan Islamic Party has 1,000 fighters.