Al-Qaeda remains ‘resilient’, works closely with LeT, says UN report
Terror group Al-Qaeda remains “resilient”, continues to consider Afghanistan a safe sanctuary for its leaders and works closely with the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Haqqani network despite being overtaken by the Islamic State, a UN counter-terrorism watchdog set up by the Security Council has said in a new report.
The Islamic State itself which has diminished with the loss of its so-called “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq, has evolved into a “mainly covert network” and its leadership is focusing on establishing “establish sleeper cells at the local level in preparation for eventual resurgence”, according to the 24th report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team that was submitted to the UN Security Council Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee this month.
Even in its current form, the report by UN’s terrorism watchdog set up by Resolution 1267 of the Security Council, said the Islamic State poses the most “immediate threat to global security” and remains stronger than Al Qaeda in terms of its “finances, media profile and current combat experience and terrorist expertise”.
But Al Qaeda ‘remains resilient”, the UN body said although there are questions about its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri’s health and the group’s succession plan.
It “continues to cooperate closely with Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Haqqani Network”, the report said underscoring the threat these Pakistan-based terrorist groups continue to pose for the region and the world. A recent US department of defense reported the existence of hundreds of LeT fighter in Afghanistan.
Al-Qaeda remains the source of the largest collection of foreign fighters, which is Afghanistan. And the terrorist outfit responsible for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks remains a potent forced in Afghanistan. Its “members continue to function routinely as military and religious instructors for the Taliban” the report said.
And it remains entrenched there. “Al-Qaeda considers Afghanistan a continuing safe haven for its leadership, relying on its long-standing and strong relationship with the Taliban leadership,” the UN body said.