IEA rejects UN report, says findings on al-Qaeda and Daesh are untrue

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) on Monday rejected a report by the UN Security Council Monitoring Group that militant groups in the country enjoy greater freedom in Afghanistan since the take over by the IEA in August.

According to the report, which was released last week, the UN stated that the return of the IEA to power has raised concerns globally about the possibility of it becoming a safe haven for Al-Qaida and its affiliates in the country and a potential magnet for terrorist fighters from other regions to travel to the country.

“The security landscape in Afghanistan changed dramatically on 15 August,

when the Taliban (IEA) took control of the country. There are no recent signs that the Taliban (IEA) has taken steps to limit the activities of foreign terrorist fighters in the country.

“On the contrary, terrorist groups enjoy greater freedom there than at any time in recent history,” the report read adding however, that “Member States have not reported significant new movements of foreign terrorist fighters to Afghanistan”.

The IEA meanwhile said in a statement Monday that it strongly rejects the claims in the report and stated it does not consider such reports “in which there is no evidence to be in the interests of Afghanistan, the region and the world”.

The IEA stated that “the best security in Afghanistan has been provided since the Islamic Emirate came to full sovereignty” in August last year.

“The Islamic Emirate has fulfilled its obligations under the Doha Agreement and does not allow anyone to pose a threat from Afghanistan to other countries, and expects the same from others,” read the statement.

The IEA also stated that “as a responsible system, [the IEA] will play a positive role in the security and stability of Afghanistan, the region and the world by using the available facilities and opportunities, and hopes that other parties, including the UN Security Council, will understand these facts and make responsible statements”.

The latest report of the UN Security Council on activities of the Islamic State and al-Qaeda and their affiliates also stated that Osama bin Laden’s son, Abdallah, visited Afghanistan in October “for meetings with the Taliban (IEA)”.

The UN’s sanctions monitoring team prepares such reports twice a year as part of efforts to implement sanctions imposed on the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

The committee found that al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent (AQIS), which is led by Osama Mehmood and his deputy Atif Yahya Ghouri, “retains a presence in Afghanistan, in the provinces of Ghazni, Helmand, Kandahar, Nimruz, Paktika and Zabul, where the group fought alongside the Taliban (IEA)” against the ousted government of Ashraf Ghani.

AQIS is estimated to have between 200 and 400 fighters, mainly from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Pakistan, the report said.

However, the report concluded that the IEA has acted to rein in the anti-China terror group Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), also known as Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM).

“Some Member States reported that, following the Taliban’s (IEA) return to power, ETIM/TIP fighters were relocated from their traditional stronghold in Badakhshan province, on the border with China, to Baghlan, Takhar and other provinces, as part of the Taliban’s (IEA) efforts to both protect and restrain the group,” the report said.