UN Complicates Afghan Pullout With Allegations of al-Qaeda Ties

Says Taliban, al-Qaeda have sense of 'shared partnership'

Officials in Afghanistan’s Ghani government have long tried to slow the US pullout with claims that the Taliban is cheating, and the UN’s latest report seems to be continuing in complicating matters with dubious allegations.

In this case, the UN claimed that the Taliban and al-Qaeda not only have “bonds of marriage,” but also a shared partnership through a generation of struggle against the US-led occupation. This claim doesn’t appear to be backed by any evidence.

Indeed, it flies in the face of the Taliban statements instructing members not to cooperate with al-Qaeda or its members. Claims that the Taliban are violating this warning seem unfounded, but keep being brought up, complicating the US pullout.

Despite the deal to leave Afghanistan having been made some time ago, constant accusations have allowed US officials, particularly those averse to leaving, to treat the matter as though it was still being debated. This has already led to the US reneging on the May 1 pullout date.

Prolonging the US presence has led to increased attacks across Afghanistan, and growing mistrust from the Taliban. Indeed, if the generation of struggle was driving the Taliban and al-Qaeda together, these equivocations seem to risk doing yet more of that.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.