Interior ministry claims Taliban still enjoy close ties with al-Qaeda

Masoud Andarabi, Interior Minister says the Taliban have kept up a close relationship with “international terrorists” despite having promised to cut ties with terrorist groups including al-Qaeda.

Andarabi and top security officials visited Arghandab district, in Kandahar, where heavy clashes are ongoing between the Afghan forces and the Taliban – and have intensified over the past two months.

During his visit to Arghandab, Andarabi stated the Taliban has not fulfilled its Doha commitments – which state the group must break relations with terrorist groups including al-Qaeda.

Andarabi said that foreign militants were fighting alongside the Taliban. This comes after officials stated last week that foreigners had joined the ranks of the Taliban to fight the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANSDF).

“In the operation that is underway in Arghandab, many foreign Taliban and a foreign terrorists have participated in the clashes alongside the Taliban. The commandos witnessed the tactics they (Taliban) used, the way they dug tunnels, and planted mines, all these indicate a strong relation between international terrorism and the Taliban,” Andarabi said.

Meanwhile, security officials claimed that at least 600 militants including foreign nationals have been killed in the clashes over the past two months.

This comes a few days after the Taliban ordered its fighters not to include foreign militants in their ranks, nor shelter them, and stated if fighters fail to adhere to the order they face dismissal.

The group’s military commission said in a statement seen by Ariana News last week that should this happen the responsible cell will also be disbanded.

“All authorities and Mujahidin are directed that no one is allowed to arbitrarily let foreign groups into their ranks or give shelter to them.”

“If anyone commits such an act and the provincial authorities are notified, they (fighters) will be immediately dismissed,” the statement read.

“Their groups will be disbanded and referred to the military commission for further punishment,” the statement concluded.