Report: Taliban Still Working With Al-Qaida, Violating Agreement With US

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Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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A United Nations (U.N.) report published Monday stated that the Taliban has maintained ties with al-Qaida even though it signed an agreement with the United States earlier this year pledging to withdraw its support for the terrorist organization.

The Trump administration has attempted to negotiate peace between the Taliban and Afghan government since 2018, and the February agreement was meant to precede direct talks between the two, The Hill reported.

The deal committed the United States to a partial withdrawal of American troops in Afghanistan by July and a full withdrawal in 2021, assuming that the Taliban honored its side of the agreement. The Afghan government was not a party to the deal, resulting in its military resuming attacks against the Taliban in May. (RELATED: Taliban Ends Partial Truce, Will Resume Offensives Against Afghan Government)

The Taliban, which refers to itself as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, is also a militant Islamic fundamentalist group but is not listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization because of concerns that such a label would have undermined negotiations with the United States.

(L to R) US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar shake hands after signing a peace agreement during a ceremony in the Qatari capital Doha on February 29, 2020. - The United States signed a landmark deal with the Taliban, laying out a timetable for a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan within 14 months as it seeks an exit from its longest-ever war. Pompeo called on the Taliban to honour its commitments to sever ties with jihadist groups as Washington signed a landmark deal with the Afghan insurgents. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP) (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images)

US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar shake hands after signing the peace agreement (Karim Jaafar/AFP via Getty Images)

One of the stipulations of the agreement was that the Taliban would not assist terrorist groups like al-Qaida in Afghan territory. However, a report from the U.N. Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team found that the Taliban and al-Qaida were working with each other during negotiations and that the Taliban is still close with al-Qaida.

“The Taliban regularly consulted with [al-Qaida] during negotiations with the United States and offered guarantees that it would honour their historical ties,” the report said. It was also mentioned that leaders of the Taliban and al-Qaida regularly meet, making “any notion of a break between the two mere fiction.”

While the report, which cites U.N. member states, government officials, and think tanks, openly reveals the defiance of the Taliban, it is unclear how the Trump administration will respond. The Taliban has not attacked American forces since the deal was signed and President Donald Trump has been vocal about his desire for a withdrawal.

Although the report calls the US-Taliban deal into question, it is yet to be seen if the current situation in Afghanistan will change because of it. Conflict continues between the Taliban and the Afghan government, and there is no current path for reconciliation between the two.