Al Qaeda affiliates pose terrorist challenge: UN
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Al Qaeda and its affiliates including Tehrek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan pose a direct terrorist challenge to Afghanistan, UN experts said in a report on Friday, saying the Taliban remain divided on the value of political engagement.
In its report, on threat posed by the Taliban and on the implementation of UN-targeted sanctions, the Taliban Monitoring Team, established by the UN Security Council, said that the Afghan National Security Forces are confident and have maintained control over towns and most districts, despite an unusually intensive Taliban campaign throughout the winter months.
Continuing international economic support will be crucial following the transition of international forces out of Afghanistan, and States in the region remain concerned about the possible fallout from any instability, said the report released by the UN Security Council.
According to the report, reconciliation has stalled although Afghan Government efforts to promote political contacts continue. “The Taliban remain divided on the value of political engagement, and face a “resource curse” of income from narcotics and illegal mining that may reduce incentives for a lasting settlement,” it said.
“They are experiencing a range of divisions driven primarily by differences over political strategy, amplified by increasingly diversified revenue streams,” the report said adding that it is of concern that some Taliban groups are expressing sympathy for Al-Qaida and its affiliates.
“Al-Qaida affiliates including the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan regularly participate in attacks on the Afghan forces. The presence of these groups poses a direct terrorist challenge for Afghanistan, South and Central Asia and the wider international community,” the report said.
Noting that the sanctions regime established pursuant to a Security Council resolution remains an important tool for Afghanistan and the international community, the report said the Taliban continue to seek its removal. A sanctions focus on key facilitators is likely to yield the greatest operational impact.
The report said the path to a sustainable political process with measurable results has been slow in Afghanistan. Efforts to open up channels to the Taliban have moved forward, however, and while a substantive settlement does not appear near there are opportunities for continuing dialogue, it said.
“Once the second round of the presidential elections is concluded and the shape of the new Afghan Government is clear, there could be renewed opportunities for political talks,” it said, adding that the primary impediment appears to be the lack of consensus on the Taliban side, where important parts of the Taliban leadership remain unpersuaded by the logic of negotiations and unconvinced that the current strength of the Afghan security forces will be maintained after transition.
“No significant gains can be made in view of these internal Taliban differences, although they do not rule out continuing contacts. As with all sensitive political processes in conflicts, reconciliation may or may not succeed — but it is unlikely to be expeditious,” the report said.
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