UN: Taliban faces threat from ISIL new resistance
Afghanistan's Taliban rulers are maintaining close ties with al-Qaida as they consolidate control over the country, and their main military threat is coming from the ISIL extremist group and guerrilla-style attacks by former Afghan government security personnel, U.N. experts said in a new report.
The experts said in the report to the U.N. Security Council that with the onset of better weather, fighting may escalate as both ISIL and resistance forces undertake operations against Taliban forces.
But neither IS nor al-Qaida "is believed to be capable of mounting international attacks before 2023 at the earliest, regardless of their intent or of whether the Taliban acts to restrain them," the panel of experts said.
Nonetheless, it said the presence of IS, al-Qaida, and "many other terrorist groups and fighters on Afghan soil" is raising concerns in neighboring countries and the wider international community.
Since their takeover of Afghanistan last Aug. 15 as U.S. and NATO forces were in the final stages of their chaotic withdrawal from the country after 20 years, the Taliban "have favored loyalty and seniority over competence, and their decision-making has been opaque and inconsistent," the experts said.
In the report obtained Thursday, the panel monitoring sanctions against the Taliban said its leaders have appointed 41 men on the U.N. sanctions blacklist to the Cabinet and senior positions, and they have favored the country's dominant Pashtun ethnic group, alienating minority communities including ethnic Tajiks and Uzbeks.
The Taliban's primary concern has been to consolidate control "while seeking international recognition, to re-engage with the international financial system and to receive aid in order to deal with the...