Afghanistan
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(Last Updated On: June 15, 2023)

US officials have dismissed the recent UN Security Council Sanctions Committee report on terrorist groups including al-Qaeda and ISIS in Afghanistan and said their intelligence does not match that issued by the UN.

Speaking to VOA, a number of American officials said they have not seen evidence that confirms the findings of the United Nations.

The Analysis and Monitoring Group of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee said in its recent report that terrorist groups in Afghanistan have more freedom of action compared to the past and terrorist threats are increasing in Afghanistan and the region.

But one American official told Voice of America on condition of anonymity that this information “does not match the analysis of our intelligence community.”

The United Nations report also stated that al-Qaeda and ISIS have also established training camps in different provinces of Afghanistan.

According to United Nations assessments, there are 30 to 60 high-ranking officials of al-Qaeda in the provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, Kunar and Kabul, and a total of about 400 fighters of this group and 1,600 members of their families are present in various training camps in Afghanistan.

The report also stated the Khorasan branch of ISIS has 4,000 to 6,000 members in Afghanistan and has camps and shelters in at least 13 provinces of Afghanistan.

A senior American official spoke more frankly about this and told VOA: “The estimates about the number of members of al-Qaeda and ISIS in the United Nations report are irregular and scattered compared to the information of the American intelligence community and the estimates of our partners and allies.”

The official also said that according to U.S. assessments, fewer than 12 major al-Qaeda members are currently in Afghanistan, and that no major al-Qaeda leader is in Afghanistan after the U.S. killed the group’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul.

He said that al-Qaeda has not revived its presence in Afghanistan after the US withdrawal in August 2021, and that the organization does not appear to have established training camps in Afghanistan.

The United States has also denied information from some members of the United Nations that Saif al-Adel, also called Ibrahim al-Madani, the leader of al-Qaeda, left his base in Iran and visited Afghanistan in 2022. At least one member of the United Nations has said that Saif al-Adel is currently based in Afghanistan.

This American official said that the Khorasan branch of ISIS has not been able to achieve its goal of attacking the United States in the past two years.