New York: Over 20 regional and international terrorist groups, including Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) are currently fighting against government forces in Afghanistan, mainly in the border areas, according to a recent UN report.
The tenth report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, submitted to the 1988 Sanctions Committee of the United Nations, shows concern over the Taliban and other associated individuals constituting a threat to the peace, stability and security of Afghanistan.
"Al-Qaida is eager to expand its presence in Barmal District in Paktika Province. It has been intensifying its concentration in the Afghan-Pakistan border area in close cooperation with Lashkar-e Taiba and the Haqqani Network. Al-Qaida members act as instructors and religious teachers for Taliban personnel and their family members," said the report.
It quoted Afghan officials as saying that some 500 Lashkar-e-Taiba fighters are active in Kunar and Nangarhar provinces of the country.
"Kunar Province remains a focal area for foreign terrorist fighters. Of the more prominent groups operating there, Lashkar-e-Taiba reportedly continues to act as a key facilitator in recruitment and financial support activities," the report said.
"The group reportedly tried to manage relations between the Taliban and ISIL and establish some kind of truce. But more recently it has distanced itself from ISIL and has played a more neutral role," it added.
The UN report also indicated that Al-Qaida continues to see Afghanistan as a safe haven for its leadership, based on its long-standing strong relationship with the Taliban.
"Aiman Muhammed Rabi al-Zawahiri, Hamza Usama Muhammad bin Laden and the Taliban leadership have repeatedly emphasised the importance of the alliance between Al-Qaida and the Taliban. Al-Qaida has grown stronger operating under the Taliban umbrella across Afghanistan and is more active than in recent years," the report stated.
It quoted Afghan officials as saying that the number of Al-Qaida affiliates currently assessed to be operating in Afghanistan stands at approximately 240, with the most significant numbers located in Badakhshan, Kunar and Zabul provinces....