Just months after the United States signed a controversial deal with the Taliban to end the long-running war in Afghanistan – predicted by the insurgents’ claim that it would not offer asylum to al Qaeda – local officials are worried that terrorists still rule parts of the country.
According to Tolo’s Afghan newsletter, Yassin Khan, the governor of the southern province of Hellman, pointed to a growing footprint of al Qaeda in the Durand-Pakistan area, as well as in the border pockets between Afghanistan and Iran. Helmand has long been a bloody battlefield for US and Afghan troops and has emerged as a stronghold of the Taliban.
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Khan also stressed that al-Qaeda is currently present in the Bahramcha area, Disho district from Hellman to Herat province, and that its operatives “provide training and support to the Taliban” in addition to providing materials.
Other Afghan military brass said the Taliban had “changed tactics” in recent weeks, relying on imports of materials from outside the country to make their own mines and shells.
Nevertheless, the US government is committed to moving forward with the Taliban agreement signed in February. The deal involves the withdrawal of US troops, even if Afghanistan remains troubled by high levels of violence – sustaining the largest number of terrorist deaths worldwide.
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There were almost 8,500 terrorist attacks worldwide in 2019, killing more than 20,300 people; about 5,460 were known perpetrators and 14,840 were victims, according to a report earlier this month by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and the Response to Terrorism (START) of the University of Maryland.
According to the data, the number of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan increased by 2 percent between 2018 and 2019. The number of victims killed in Taliban attacks increased by 9 percent between 2018 and 2019, “essentially maintains the escalation that has taken place in Afghanistan in recent years. “
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“While the Taliban were involved in peace talks with the United States, Afghanistan survived 21 percent of all terrorist attacks worldwide in 2019, and 41 percent of all people killed in terrorist attacks (including attackers) in 2019 were killed in Afghanistan. “The report said the Taliban in Afghanistan were responsible for more terrorist attacks in 2019 than any other large-scale group. These attacks resulted in more deaths than the next ten deadly perpetrators combined.”