Small Wars Journal

Jihad, History Link Taliban to al-Qaida in Afghanistan

Wed, 09/18/2019 - 12:10am

Jihad, History Link Taliban to al-Qaida in Afghanistan by Kathy Gannon – AP

The Taliban promised Washington during months of negotiations that the United States would never again be attacked from Afghan soil. Such a pledge would have included al-Qaida, which planned the 9/11 attacks from inside Afghanistan.

Yet jihad, or holy war, and a shared history continue to bind the two militant groups, and there’s no evidence of a break in relations between the long-time allies. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said the Taliban agreed to cut ties with al-Qaida as part of peace negotiations, which President Donald Trump abruptly called off last week.

The al-Qaida leadership still vows allegiance to Taliban chief Maulvi Hibatullah Akhunzada, and al-Qaida has been growing stronger in recent years, according to analysts and experts. The group has overcome setbacks from the establishment of a rival Islamic State affiliate in eastern Afghanistan and from U.S. drone strikes that had reduced its numbers…

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