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Unconfirmed Report Claims 'Al Qaeda Militants Joined Taliban' in Panjshir Offensive

© AP Photo / Rahmat GulIn this Aug. 19, 2021 file photo, Taliban fighters display their flag on patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan. When U.S. President Joe Biden took office early this year, Western allies were falling over themselves to welcome and praise him and hail a new era in trans-Atlantic cooperation.
In this Aug. 19, 2021 file photo, Taliban fighters display their flag on patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan. When U.S. President Joe Biden took office early this year, Western allies were falling over themselves to welcome and praise him and hail a new era in trans-Atlantic cooperation. - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.09.2021
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As part of the 2020 peace deal with the US, the Taliban* previously vowed not to allow al-Qaeda* and other terrorist organisations to take hold in Afghanistan. That did not stop al-Qaeda from praising the "historic victory" of the insurgent group over NATO forces though.
Al-Qaeda* has joined the Taliban* in its fight against the National Resistance Front in the Panjshir Valley, Al Arabiya has reported, citing anonymous sources. The media outlet's sources did not clarify exactly how al-Qaeda is allegedly helping the Taliban.
 Sputnik cannot independently verify Al Arabiya's report about al-Qaeda helping the Taliban.
The National Resistance Front of Afghanistan is holed up in the Panjshir Valley not far from Kabul, where it is currently defending against Taliban forces, who successfully conquered the rest of the country in the wake of the NATO withdrawal. The front rejects the Taliban's claims for power unless it agrees to form a truly inclusive government that will represent the interests of all groups and nationalities residing in the country. The Taliban previously pledged to form an inclusive government, but is yet to unveil it.
After unsuccessful negotiations with the Panjshir resistance, the Taliban launched an offensive against the valley which enjoys natural protection from the mountainous landscape. The insurgent group reported killing 34 members of the resistance and capturing 11 checkpoints. The National Resistance Front, in turn, claimed to have killed 350 Taliban fighters overnight between 1-2 September.

No Foothold for Terrorist Groups?

The Resistance Front's claims suggest that the Taliban might have violated the provisions of the February 2020 peace deal with the US. Under it, the Taliban pledged to never again allow Afghanistan to turn into a breeding ground for terrorists, including al-Qaeda. Washington, in turn, had promised to withdraw its troops from the country, which it did on 30 August, four months later than the deadline outlined in the agreement.
Following the capture of Kabul, the Taliban publicly reaffirmed its commitment to keeping al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan and promised to prevent the group from using the country as a base for attacks on foreign states. The Taliban separately stressed that it does not maintain any ties with the terrorist group and claimed that no al-Qaeda members are present on Afghan territory at the moment.
US President Joe Biden's decision to uphold the peace deal negotiated by his predecessor and withdraw troops from Afghanistan has faced harsh criticism from his political opponents and former security and defence officials. Some alleged that the withdrawal might result in the resurgence of terrorist groups in the country and an increase in terrorist attacks against the US as well as other western countries.
Taliban fighters pose for a photograph in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.08.2021
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'Like Coke and Pepsi': Afghan Vice-President Says No Difference Between Al-Qaeda, Taliban
One of the leaders of the National Resistance Front, Afghanistan Vice President in exile Amrullah Saleh, claimed in an interview with Fox News that there is no ideological difference between Daesh*, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban, adding that none of them can be trusted. While Daesh and al-Qaeda seek to establish a worldwide caliphate regulated by the rules of Sharia law, the Taliban publicly says its goal is to establish an emirate based on the same Islamic laws within the borders of Afghanistan.
*Al-Qaeda, Daesh (also known as ISIS) and the Taliban are terrorist organisations outlawed in Russia and many other countries
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