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With Taliban in control of Afghanistan, rival Jihadist outfits form lobby to retain their influence

Al-Qaeda was not too happy with the Doha Agreement, the deal between the USA and Taliban that assured US withdrawal from Afghanistan, and is unnerved by the cooperation between the two after the withdrawal as seen with the promise of US aid to the war-torn country under Talib rule.

The Taliban has managed to recapture Afghanistan after 20 years of warfare with the United States of America. However, its control over the country is still not yet settled as numerous terrorist groups are still active. In recent times, Taliban has attempted to sign agreements with Jihadist outfits in their bid to ensure that the authority of the Talibs is not challenged.

Dr. Antonio Gutierrez, senior research fellow at British think tank RUSI, said in an article recently that Taliban has managed to negotiate deals with Lashkar-e Taiba (LeT), Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). The deal gave the Talibs greater control over the outfit and banned them from committing acts of terror against other countries apart from restricting their freedom of movement.

There are numerous others, however, which have refused to sign agreements with the Taliban, the most prominent among them being Al-Qaeda and Tehreek-e-Taliban, says Gutierrez. Al-Qaeda was not too happy with the Doha Agreement, the deal between the USA and Taliban that assured US withdrawal from Afghanistan, and is unnerved by the cooperation between the two after the withdrawal as seen with the promise of US aid to the war-torn country under Talib rule.

In fact, Al Qaeda suspects that Taliban has been providing assistance to the USA in eliminating their members. Suspicions gained further prominence when Asim Umar, head of bin Laden’s terror outfit in the Indian subcontinent, was killed in a raid in an area that was under the complete control of the Taliban.

According to sources cited by Gutierrez, Umar was initially unwilling to travel to Musa Qala in Helmand but eventually agreed to do so. Once there, he was made to wait without definitive reasons until he was eliminated in a raid. Gutierrez also writes that one source in the Afghan security forces confirmed that Taliban was providing information on Al Qaeda members. Another IMU leader is suspected to have been murdered by the Taliban themselves. Only three weeks earlier, he had protested against the Doha Agreement.

Such actions of the Taliban have made terrorist outfits such as the Al Qaeda feel threatened and they are taking measures of their own to counter it. According to Gutierrez, Al Qaeda is attempting to build an ‘anti-deal lobby’, the Doha Agreement mandates that Taliban prevent terrorist outfits from using Afghan soil to launch attacks against other countries.

Taliban claims that this lobby was responsible for a series of attacks on NGOs and journalists in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, they are attempting to pursue their strategy of restricting the movement of these outfits. Jihadists from Central Asia were recently told to prepare to be transferred to their designated areas and registered. That their weapons could be snatched away remains a distinct possibility.

The Haqqani Network, which has four ministerial berths in the interim Afghan Government, is perceived to be an outfit that the Al Qaeda can rely on. The latter has urged the TTP to move to the Loya Paktia region, which is under the Haqqani Network. Al Qaeda, too, is looking to move to Paktia and turn it into their new base of operations.

What is the future of Afghanistan under the Taliban?

The developments indicate that even after Taliban has managed to win control over Afghanistan, its hold over the country is not yet secure. The group is facing an imminent threat from the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP), which is accusing it of apostasy for cooperating with the United States.

The ISKP, which had carried out the Kabul Airport Attack, could find support among Al Qaeda and other Jihadist outfits as they are threatened by the prospect of the Taliban working with the USA or Russia and China. Whether they are capable of carving out a better position for themselves in the negotiation table is something that will become clear only in the months and years to come.

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Searched termsAl Qaeda
OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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