US DoD expects Kabul’s restrictions on Al-Qaeda to ‘loosen’

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The US CENTCOM’s assessment is that the Islamic Emirate will likely loosen restrictions on al-Qaeda over the next 12 to 24 months and will allow al-Qaeda greater freedom of movement and the “ability to train, travel, and potentially re-establish an external operations capability,” according to report given to the US Congress.

“The DoS (Department of State) assessed that the Taliban has taken steps to implement many of its counterterrorism commitments in the 2020 Doha Agreement with the US Government regarding al-Qaeda and other groups, though continued monitoring and engagement will remain essential. However, USCENTCOM assessed that the Taliban will likely loosen these restrictions over the next 12 to 24 months, allowing al-Qaeda greater freedom of movement and the ability to train, travel, and potentially re-establish an external operations capability,” said a Lead Inspector General Report to the US Congress.

The report cited Daesh as the top terrorist threat in Afghanistan with “approximately 2,000 members operating in the country.”

Analysts said that some of the organizations are inflating the issues in Afghanistan.

“The reports of the officials and some American organizations in this regard are most likely based on political issues, they either overemphasize or downplay the issue but the truth is as long as these groups are present on Afghan soil and are active here and being supported, it is dangerous for Afghanistan and they should be considered an imminent threat,” said Asadullah Nadeem, a military veteran.

But the current Afghan government denied the presence of terrorist groups in Afghanistan.

“There are no movements, no forces in our country which can plan attacks against others. The Islamic Emirate, based on its policy, doesn’t allow anyone to use the Afghan soil against others,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.

“We retain all necessary authorities to execute over the horizon counterterrorism operations and we remain confident in these capabilities moving forward without speaking to specific rules of engagement surrounding airstrikes. There is currently no requirement to clear airspace with the Taliban and we do not expect that any future over the horizon counterterrorism strikes would hinge on such a clearance,” he said.

Officials from the Cultural Commission of the Ministry of Information and Cultural meanwhile said the United States should not intervene anymore in Afghanistan. “We expect the United States to not make irresponsible remarks.They conducted an airstrike in Kabul and killed civilians including children,” said Javad Sar, a member of the commission.

On August 29, the US carried out an airstrike in Kabul claiming to have targeted Daesh fighters while later it was discovered that the victims were civilians. The Pentagon later apologized for the attack.

Earlier, many US officials expressed their concerns over the remerge of terrorist groups including Daesh in Afghanistan, but the Islamic Emirate denied the presence of terrorist groups in the country.

“Security has been ensured all over the country. There is no terrorist group to pose threat to Afghanistan,” said Inamullah Samangani, an Islamic Emirate spokesman. “The Islamic Emirate has remained committed to not allow anyone to use Afghan soil to threat the security of the region and the world.”—Reuters

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