Taliban victory in Afghanistan inspired terrorists around world, increased anti-India foreign terror groups' presence: UNSC report
New Delhi: Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan in August of last year has increased narcotics outflow and the presence of anti-India foreign terror groups like Jaish-i-Mohammed (JiM) and Lashkar-e-Tayiba (LeT) in the country, said a key United Nations Security Council (UNSC) report, which is the thirteenth report of the Sanctions Monitoring Team under the Taliban Sanctions Committee, established pursuant to resolution 1988 (2011).
"Afghan-origin drugs have increased significantly in the second half of 2021" which suggests "less effective counter-narcotics efforts within Afghanistan or heightened activity in anticipation of a ban.", said the report and pointed to the seizing of 3 tons of Afghan origin heroin in India in September of 2021, and smuggling via Iran to Turkey and Europe which has "increased by up to 50 per cent since the Taliban assumed power."
On the presence of foreign terrorist fighters, the 27-page report submitted last week said, "Taliban victory in Afghanistan has inspired terrorists around the world..." confirming the presence of Jaish and Lashkar terror groups. Both the Pakistan based UN-designated terror groups have been responsible for a number of terror attacks in India including Pathankot, Uri and the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. The report said both these groups along with the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement or ETIM, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan have fighters "each numbering in the few hundreds."
Specifically, the report said Jaish-i-Mohammed (JiM) has appointed Qari Ramazan as the new head of the grouping in Afghanistan. The terror group was founded by Masood Azhar who was listed as an international terrorist in 2019 after the Pulwama terror attack in India. It further said, "according to one Member State, JiM maintains eight training camps in Nangarhar, three of which are directly under Taliban control".
Previous UNSC report pointed to the support given by JiM to the Taliban, adding that in October 2021, LeT leader Mawlawi Assadullah met with Taliban Deputy Interior Minister Noor Jalil. Later in January 2022, a Taliban delegation visited a training camp used by LeT in the Haska Mena district of Nangarhar.
Elaborating on the linkage between JiM and Taliban, the report highlighted that, "The group was said to maintain three camps in Kunar and Nangarhar. Previous LeT members have included Aslam Farooqi and Ejaz Ahmad Ahangar (a.k.a. Abu Usman al-Kashmiri), both of whom joined ISIL-K". This is the first public confirmation of these 2 terror groups in Afghanistan by any multilateral body since the Taliban takeover.
Fears of Afghanistan becoming a terror safe haven have always been there since the Taliban takeover. With mentioning ETIM, Bejing will also be worried over terror safe haven in Taliban control Afghanistan. ETIM is an Uyghur Islamic extremist calling for the establishment of East Turkestan in China's westernmost province of Xinjiang.
Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan or TTP forms the largest component of foreign fighters with Sirajuddin Haqqani Taliban appointed acting interior minister being "relied upon more than anyone else" to act as an "intermediary between TTP and Pakistan". The report explained that "Haqqani mediations have not led to a sustainable ceasefire, but are a further indication of Sirajuddin's central role within the Taliban as a mediator and figure of authority among rank-and-file TTP".
The report also said that the core leadership of Al Qaida remain in Afghanistan with its chief Aiman al-Zawahiri in the "eastern region from Zabul Province north towards Kunar and along the border with Pakistan", and also mentioned the recent appearance of al-Zawahiri in a video released on 5th April this year by Al-Qaida's As-Sahab Media Foundation in which he referred to Hijab issue in India. The video provided the first conclusive current proof of life for al-Zawahiri in recent years.
The report explained, "the pace of recent communications suggests that he may be able to lead more effectively than was possible before the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan."
The Taliban sanctions committee or the 1988 Security Council Committee is chaired by the Indian envoy to the UN, TS Tirumurti. The committee comprises all 15 members of the Security Council and makes its decision by consensus. It has two vice-chairs as well, Russia and UAE. It came into existence in 2011 by splitting the 1267 sanctions regime and passage of resolution 1988. The committee is mandated to oversee the implementation of the sanction's measures, designate individuals, remove the names on requests etc.