Taliban claim they didn’t know al-Qaeda leader was in Afghanistan

The Taliban mentioned Thursday they’re investigating what they described as “claims” that al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri was killed in a U.S. drone strike within the Afghan capital on the weekend.

The group insisted in a press release that it “has no information of the arrival and residence” of al-Zawahri in Afghanistan.

The assertion marked the primary time the Taliban addressed Sunday’s drone strike that killed the pinnacle of the al-Qaeda community on the balcony of a Kabul secure home that U.S. officers mentioned was linked to a Taliban chief.

The killing of al-Zawahri has additional strained relations between the Taliban and the West, significantly as they search an pressing infusion of money to deal with an financial disaster there following the U.S. withdrawal from the nation a yr in the past.

The Taliban had promised within the 2020 Doha Settlement with the U.S. that they’d not harbour al-Qaeda members or these searching for to assault the U.S.

In Thursday’s assertion, the Taliban appeared to deal with these considerations.

They mentioned they “ordered the detection and intelligence businesses to conduct critical and complete investigations on numerous features of the talked about occasion.”

‘No hazard’

The assertion additionally contained assurances to the West, saying that “there is no such thing as a hazard from the territory of Afghanistan to any nation, together with America.” It mentioned that the Taliban need the implementation of the Doha Settlement.

The strike early Sunday shook awake Shirpur, as soon as a district of historic buildings that had been bulldozed in 2003 to make approach for luxurious properties for officers in Afghanistan’s Western-backed authorities and worldwide help organizations. After the U.S. withdrawal in August 2021, senior Taliban moved into among the deserted properties there.

U.S. officers have mentioned al-Zawahri was staying on the house of a high aide to senior Taliban chief Sirajuddin Haqqani. Haqqani is the deputy head of the Taliban, serves as inside minister of their authorities and heads the Haqqani community, a strong faction throughout the Taliban motion.

Management rivals

The Haqqani community is an Afghan Islamic rebel group constructed across the household of the identical identify. Within the Eighties, it fought Soviet forces and over the previous 20 years, it battled U.S.-led NATO troops and the previous Afghanistan authorities.

The U.S. authorities maintains a $10 million US bounty on Sirajuddin Haqqani for assaults on American troops and Afghan civilians.

However the Haqqanis, from Afghanistan’s jap Khost province, have rivals throughout the Taliban management, largely from the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar. Some imagine Sirajuddin Haqqani desires extra energy. Different Taliban figures have opposed the Haqqanis’ assaults in opposition to civilians in Kabul and elsewhere through the insurgency.

Through the first half of 2022, Ayman al-Zawahri more and more reached out to supporters with video and audio messages, together with assurances that al-Qaeda can compete with the Islamic State group for management of a world motion, a report by the United Nations’ Analytical Assist and Sanctions Monitoring Workforce mentioned.

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