Al Qaeda and several of its affiliates are praising the Taliban for effectively taking control of Afghanistan, with the South Asian branch on Monday calling this a great military victory against the United States.
Analyst Abdul Sayed tweeted that the branch also said its members are praying that the Taliban can successfully implement sharia law in Afghanistan, The Washington Post reports. This comes as the Taliban is attempting to distance itself from Al Qaeda, the terrorist organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. At the time, Al Qaeda was operating out of Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban, and the U.S. launched its war in the country to take out the extremist group and prevent another massive attack on U.S. soil.
Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem told Saudi Arabia's al-Hadath TV on Sunday that Al Qaeda is "not present in Afghanistan in the first place," although there may be "family ties" between both groups. He also rejected the idea that the Taliban will turn a blind eye to Al Qaeda fighters coming in from Pakistan, saying, "How many times have I said that we will not allow anyone to use the lands of Afghanistan against the security of other nations? ... Anyone, anyone, anyone from any country."
In June, the United Nations issued a report stating that Al Qaeda has a presence in at least 15 Afghan provinces, and there could be 500 fighters in the country.