Taliban welcomes Biden’s remarks despite reports of close ties with terror networks

The Taliban has welcomed the President Joe Biden’s remarks on the group providing assistance to combat Al Qaeda.

Answering a question on Afghanistan during a press conference on Friday, President Biden said:

“Remember what I said about Afghanistan? I said Al Qaeda would not be there. I said it wouldn’t be there. I said we’d get help from the Taliban. What’s happening now? What’s going on? Read your press. I was right.”

The Taliban’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Abdul Qahar Balkhi, said in a statement on Saturday:

“We consider remarks by US President Joe Biden about non-existence of armed groups in Afghanistan as acknowledgment of reality & state that it refutes the recent report by UN Sanctions Monitoring Team alleging the prescence & operation of over twenty armed groups in Afghanistan.

“The Islamic Emirate maintains the policy of not allowing anyone to use the soil of Afghanistan to harm others. Our actions in this regard are not due to the requests or support of anyone, including America.”

This comes after a UN Security Council report in June which said that the Taliban has been hosting senior Al Qaeda figures and their families in Afghanistan.

On 31 July 2022, the US announced the death of Al Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a drone strike in Kabul.

The report further stated that the Taliban has given “advisory roles in the Taliban security and administrative structures” to Al Qaeda members in the government and they receive monthly “welfare payments”. Al Qaeda fighters, the report said, use Taliban bases for training.

The report also said that the Taliban kept closed ties with the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) as well as “traditional ties” to other regional terrorist organisations, including the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Jamaat Ansarullah and others.