Taliban Rejects US Report On Rising Threats In Afghanistan

The Taliban has rejected a report by a US watchdog claiming that instability has increased in Afghanistan owing to foreign armed groups and domestic threats, after the US withdrawal and subsequent Taliban takeover in August 2021.

According to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s Chief Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, the recent report published by SIGAR (US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction) is American propaganda.

In response to the SIGAR report’s comments that the Taliban is facing trouble handling the security problems owing to foreign armed groups in the country, Mujahid claimed, “The Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan has complete control over the situation and will not allow any group or entity to destabilize Afghanistan or use Afghan soil against any other country,” according to an Al Jazeera report.

Further arguing against the SIGAR report, the spokesman reiterated that no foreign armed group is active in Afghanistan, including ISIL, which he claimed has been weakened significantly and as quoted from Al Jazeera, “is on the verge of being destroyed”. Mujahid also reiterated that Afghanistan is seeing more security and stability in the last 40 years and that “Afghanistan is not a threat to anyone, but on the contrary, the Islamic emirate wants good and constructive relations with the international community, including the United States of America”, according to a statement reported on by Al Jazeera.

According to the Doha Agreement signed in 2020, the Taliban had promised to not let foreign armed groups like ISIL to not gain a foothold in the country, and owing to the promise the US-led forces had decided to withdraw from the war-torn country after 20 years. However, since the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban government has struggled to manage the administration of the country with the destruction of the Western infrastructure and systems of governance. Security in the country has also been threatened due to an increasing number of attacks by ISIL and ISIS-K on Afghan soil targeting minorities like the Hazaras, foreigners, and even Taliban officials in recent times.

For instance, on June 5th of this year, almost 80 schoolgirls in elementary schools across the Sur-e-Pul province were poisoned, allegedly by ISIS. Previously this month, the acting governor of the Badakhshan province was killed, while the governor of the northern Balkh province was also killed in March this year. While the attacks by ISIS and its affiliates have continued in an attempt to derail the Taliban government’s legitimacy, the Taliban has tried cracking down on these groups. In April 2023, Taliban forces raided an ISIL hideout in the Balkh province and reportedly killed 6 members.

Despite these attempts, the security atmosphere in Afghanistan is far from ideal with deadly attacks on civilians continuing at a feverish pace since the pullout in August 2021. The SIGAR report raised questions and concerns regarding this. However, the Taliban government’s lack of acknowledgment is concerning. Blasts in civilian-populated areas like a hotel in Kabul, attacks at a military airport and attacks specifically targeting the minority Shia communities in the country are deeply concerning and the international community, including the US must keep monitoring the risky and volatile security situation.