KABUL (Pajhwok): The Taliban remain closely aligned with Al-Qaeda, claims a new report from the United Nations Security Council.
The two militant outfits had shown no indication of breaking ties, even if they had temporarily tried to mask their connections, said the report released on Wednesday.
Citing the bleak report from the UN Monitoring Team, CNN said 2020 was the most violent year ever recorded by the United Nations in Afghanistan.
In the first three months of the current year, the report noted, security incidents in the war-hit country had increased by more than 60 percent, compared to the same period in 2020.
The UN team blamed the Taliban for most of targeted assassinations — aimed at undermining the capacity of the government in Kabul.
Some of Taliban leaders were not serious about the deadlocked peace process, the UN team alleged.
Mullah Mohammad Yaqub Omari and Sirajuddin Haqqani are reportedly opposed to peace talks and back a military solution.
The UN Monitoring Team’s report comes as the last remaining US troops are due to leave Afghanistan in the coming months.
The Taliban are believed to contest or control an estimated 50 to 70 per cent of Afghan territory outside of urban centers. They also exert direct control over 57 per cent of district administrative centers.
Despite two decades of conflict, Taliban numbers remain robust and recruitment steady. The group’s fighting strength is said to be ranging from 58,000 to 100,000.
However, the Afghan military is in decline. “As of February 2021, the strength of Afghan forces stood at approximately 308,000 personnel, well below its target strength of 352,000,” the report added.
A significant part of Al Qaeda leaders are still believed to be in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region, according to the UN report.
The Taliban could conduct attacks on withdrawing forces in an attempt to score propaganda points over the United States, the UN said.