New Delhi: The Defence Ministry of Afghanistan has said that 30 Pakistani nationals affiliated to Al Qaeda have been killed in air strikes, media reports said. “112 Taliban terrorists including 30 Pakistani affiliated to Al Qaeda terrorist network for Indian subcontinent, were killed and 31 others wounded in airstrikes conducted by AAF at the outskirts of Lashkargah city, Helmand provincial center, yesterday,” the Afghan Defence Ministry said in a tweet. As per reports, Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) operates under Taliban protection from Kandahar, Helmand and Nimroz provinces.Also Read - Taliban Seeks UN Participation, Nominates Spokesman Suhail Shaheen as Afghan Envoy
Since the death of Asim Umar in 2019, AQIS has been led by Osama Mahmood, reports said, adding that the group consists mainly of Afghan and Pakistani nationals, and also includes individuals from Bangladesh, India and Myanmar. On March 30, AQIS commander Dawlat Bek Tajiki (alias Abu Mohammad al-Tajiki) was killed by Afghan forces in Gyan district of Paktika province. “Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is assessed by member states to be alive but ailing in Afghanistan. SayfAl Adl, his most likely successor, is reported to remain in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” a report said. Also Read - SAARC Foreign Ministers Meet Stands Cancelled as Pakistan Wanted Taliban to Represent Afghanistan: Report
Taliban preparing for a long-drawn conflict
The Taliban have been carefully collecting and stashing arms recovered during their operations for future use, thus indicating their preparedness for a long-drawn conflict. The Taliban Military Commission has instructed its field commanders to ensure that all military equipment captured from the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) should be recorded and stored safely, instead of being appropriated for personal use by Taliban militants. These “directions” come in the backdrop of substantial number of vehicles, pieces of weaponry and ammunition falling into Taliban hands during their recent offensives (May-July). Inputs continue to indicate that captured equipment and vehicles were being transferred to Pakistan by the Taliban. Also Read - Ended 20 Years Of Conflict In Afghanistan, Now Opening Doors Of Diplomacy: Joe Biden At UNGA
Foreign cadres for training new entrants
Significantly, with the casualties caused among their forces, the Taliban have been trying to use the services of foreign cadres for training the new entrants. Some of the best trained cadres have always been from the central Asian states who were sought by terror organisations such as the IS and the Al Qaeda in the past. Some of them have been instructors with various militant organisations and are considered among the best in the job, intelligence sources said.
Arab and Chechen trainers have been involved in training new cadres being inducted as their numbers recede with casualties being caused. Around 6,000 fresh terrorists based in Pakistan are being trained by Arab and Chechen instructors with the aim of raising a new unit. Meanwhile, infiltration of Taliban terrorists into Afghanistan from Pakistan continues.