And the Taliban and al-Qaeda certainly do. Since the inception of their relationship, the two groups have differed on their strategic objectives. The Al-Qaeda-Taliban connection could be analyzed on their following modes of . The relationship is mutual, as Bill Roggio editor of The Long War Journal. Taliban Unmasked: Afghan Taliban's Continued Symbiotic Relationship with al Qaeda and International Terrorism. Tamim Asey. At a recent.
Are they different after almost two decades of fighting?
They are in a rush to a graceful exit for its forces with political cover claiming a successful conclusion to the Afghan war. This mindset has led to pretending the Afghan Taliban have changed, and they are now effectively representing an insurgency against an Afghan government marked by corruption, warlordism and a lack of a broad-based government in Kabul.
This is a huge simplification of a much more complex problem with regional and global dimensions — without even a mention concerning the role they played in haphazard and quick fix policies and an unwillingness to address the big elephant in the room - Taliban safe-havens across the border in Pakistan under the cover and support of the notorious Pakistani Inter Service Intelligence Service ISI.
The bottom-line remains just as it has over the last 17 years - the Afghan Taliban have not changed and has deep ties with remnants of Al Qaeda and regional terror organizations - a fact long known to Western and regional intelligence agencies.
It still serves as an umbrella organization to many terrorist organizations including Al Qaeda and provide them an enabling environment to plan, train and equip for their next deadly missions in the subcontinent and beyond. Taliban and its allies continue to pose security threats to the United States and its allies. Though, what has really changed about the Taliban is their increasing legitimacy as a proxy force and guns for hire by regional security agencies.
Today - there are at least six different factions within the Taliban on the payroll of Afghan neighbors and their security establishments. Pakistan no longer controls a monopoly of control over the Taliban as a proxy force and their many shuras, i.
Pentagon Continues to Underestimate Al Qaeda, Downplay Ties to Taliban | RealClearDefense
The Taliban are effectively a rag-tag force for hire to the highest regional bidder — and is one with deep ties to organized crime in the region. Bush in announcing a global war on terror and Operation Enduring Freedom, laid out three conditions for the Taliban regime to remain in power: Those who legitimize the Taliban as merely an insurgent group with no ambitions beyond Afghanistan should simply look at their brothers in arms in different battles i.
Punjabis, Arabs, Uzbeks, Uighurs and others. Dostum has said the reason the attack was successful was due to Pakistani commandos taking part and that the Pakistani air force also gave support. The same year, Russia said Pakistan was responsible for the "military expansion" of the Taliban in northern Afghanistan by sending large numbers of Pakistani troops, some of whom had subsequently been taken as prisoners by the anti-Taliban United Front.
The UN secretary-general implicitly criticized Pakistan for its military support and the Security Council stated it was "deeply distress[ed] over reports of involvement in the fighting, on the Taliban side, of thousands of non-Afghan nationals".
In Julyseveral countries, including the United States, accused Pakistan of being "in violation of U.ISIL and the Taliban - Featured Documentary
The Taliban also obtained financial resources from Pakistan. Ahmad Shah Massoud and Abdul Rashid Dostumformer enemies, created the United Front Northern Alliance against the Taliban that were preparing offensives against the remaining areas under the control of Massoud and those under the control of Dostum.
The Al-Qaeda-Afghan Taliban Connections
After longstanding battles, especially for the northern city of Mazar-i-SharifAbdul Rashid Dostum and his Junbish forces were defeated by the Taliban and their allies in Dostum subsequently went into exile. Ahmad Shah Massoud remained the only major anti-Taliban leader inside Afghanistan who was able to defend vast parts of his territory against the Taliban. In the areas under his control Massoud set up democratic institutions and signed the Women's Rights Declaration. In the area of Massoud, women and girls did not have to wear the Afghan burqa.
They were allowed to work and to go to school.
Pentagon Continues to Underestimate Al Qaeda, Downplay Ties to Taliban
In at least two known instances, Massoud personally intervened against cases of forced marriage. It is our conviction and we believe that both men and women are created by the Almighty. Both have equal rights. Gathering support for Taliban regime amongst Arab sympathizers of Al-Qaeda was another milestone achieved by Al-Qaeda and that strengthened their alliance. Arab sympathizers started to send millions of dollars of alms money to Taliban regime also in the form of weapons and equipment ranging from four by four vehicles to small arms.
Zakat money charity poured into Afghanistan from Arab states, only because of the personal contacts of Bin Laden in Arab and Middle Eastern states. It is believed that the impetus behind destruction of Buddha statues in Bamiyan province in July was also initiated by the Taliban on the advice of Bin Laden.
Taliban refused to listen to Pakistani authorities when they showed them their concerns. They preferred Bin Laden, the Saudi exile over, their primary and most important ally Pakistan.
The very event showed the Taliban reliance on Bin Laden network rather than the state which had continued to support them from the beginning. According to Gretchen Peters, "When the Taliban blew up the ancient Buddhas of Bamian, even after Islamabad had dispatched its foreign minister to beg them not to, the Americans concluded Islamabad had created a monster it could no longer control .
Sectarian terrorist outfits such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi LeJ were proscribed by the state of Pakistan and most of the leadership of banned sectarian groups found safe havens in Afghanistan only when they colluded with Al-Qaeda and received training at Al-Qaeda-run training camps.
The anti-Shia sectarian organizations had created havoc in Pakistan during mids and, after founding an enclave in Afghanistan, their numbers swelled and endured.
Pakistani authorities repeatedly asked Taliban regime to hand them over but only to be turned down by the Taliban. After the fall of Taliban regime, when the Al-Qaeda leadership was on the run, these Al-Qaeda-trained Pakistani groups helped escort Bin Laden and Zawahiri out of Afghanistan along with their hundreds of Arab rank and files and provided them shelter in the tribal areas of Pakistan.
Many of high ranking Al-Qaeda leaders were later arrested by Pakistani security forces from major Pakistani cities and tribal areas. Because of their anti-Shia rhetoric and actions, the Taliban found an equally vocal Al-Qaeda and a natural alliance was formed against Shia-Muslims of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Iranian influence in Afghanistan was another issue and both had a common stance in declaring Shia community of Afghanistan as non-Muslims and stern action was taken against the Shia community living in Afghanistan.
The murder of Iranian diplomats at second Mazar-e-Shariff offensive inadded with massacre of Shia-Hazara community, was a blatant proof of it. According to sources, during the Mazar-e-Shariff battle most brutalities were committed by the Arab legion of Taliban troops and Pakistani sectarian outfits part of the invading Taliban force. Most importantly, the assassination of Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Maosud, by two Arabs in a suicide attack, was another example of Al-Qaeda-Taliban cooperation.
The two Arabs posing as Belgian-Moroccan journalists were indeed sent by the Al-Qaeda leadership to eliminate the most potent threat to Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Later investigations led to the exposure of prominent role played by Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in the assassination of Ahmad Shah Masoud. It was an action to showcase the Taliban leadership their loyalties and proving Al-Qaeda as an asset of Taliban regime rather than a liability.
The two with their Islamist organization were more than just simple Islamist radicals. They had links to billion dollar cartel of narco-trading in Central Asia. He may have recognized the group's earning potential: