Just a few months after the US signed a controversial agreement with the Taliban to end the long-term war in Afghanistan – assuming the insurgent group would not offer a safe haven to Al Qaeda – local officials fear that terrorists are still ruling in parts of the United States Country.
According to the Afghan news agency Tolo, Yasin Khan, the governor of the southern province of Helman, has pointed to the increasing presence of al-Qaida in the district along the Durand line with Pakistan and the border pockets between Afghanistan and Iran. Helmand has long been a bloody battleground for US and Afghan troops and has become a Taliban stronghold.
“The governor of Helmand said it was worrying that the Taliban would not cut ties to al-Qaida and other foreign fighters,”
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Khan also emphasized that Al Qaeda is currently present in the Bahramcha region in Disho district in Helmand opposite Herat province and that its staff “provide training and support for the Taliban in addition to providing materials.”
Other Afghan military officials said the Taliban “changed” tactics in the past few weeks and relied on foreign material imports to make their own mines and projectiles.
Even so, the US government has promised to further advance the Taliban agreement signed in February. The agreement includes the withdrawal of American troops on the ground, even though Afghanistan continues to be affected by force majeure and by far the highest number of deaths from terrorism worldwide.
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In 2019, there were nearly 8,500 terrorist attacks worldwide that killed more than 20,300 people. According to a report by the University of Maryland National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Terrorism Response (START), approximately 5,460 known perpetrators and 14,840 victims were killed earlier this month.
According to the data, the number of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan increased by 2 percent between 2018 and 2019. The number of casualties killed in the Taliban-led attacks increased 9 percent between 2018 and 2019, “which essentially supports the escalation that has occurred in Afghanistan in recent years.”
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“While the Taliban conducted peace talks with the United States, Afghanistan saw 21 percent of all terrorist attacks worldwide in 2019, and 41 percent of all people killed in the terrorist attack (including attackers) were killed in Afghanistan in 2019,” the report said. “The Taliban in Afghanistan were by far the cause of more terrorist attacks than any other group in 2019, and these attacks resulted in more deaths than the next ten deadliest groups of perpetrators combined.”