Responding to a recent UN Security Council report that stated the presence of Saif al-Adel, the de facto leader of al-Qaida, in Iran, and another key member of the terrorist network, Abu Muhsin al-Masri, in Afghanistan, the spokesperson for the US State Department, Ned Price, stated on Wednesday that the Taliban is unwilling or unable to take action against al-Qaida in Afghanistan. He warned that the US is prepared to intervene.
Ned Price said the US would act “decisively” to disrupt threats emanating from Afghanistan. “We are prepared, willing, and able to take action ourselves if the Taliban is unable or unwilling to fulfil the commitments that it has made,” he said.
The State Department spokesperson accused Iran of “offering safe haven to al-Qaida” as part of its “wide-ranging support” for terrorism and of destabilising activities in the Middle East and beyond.
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The US-Taliban agreement, which was signed in February 2020 in Doha, Qatar and paved the way for the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, stipulated that “the Taliban will not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including al-Qa’ida, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.”
In August 2022, the US targeted a house in Kabul by a drone strike, killing al-Qaida leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, accusing the Taliban of violating the Doha Agreement.
Neither the Taliban nor al-Qaida has officially acknowledged al-Zawahiri’s death.