The Taliban promised Washington during months of negotiations that the United States would never again be attacked from Afghan soil, yet, Jihad, or holy war, and a shared history continue to bind the two militant groups. The al-Qaida leadership still vows allegiance to Taliban chief Maulvi Hibatullah Akhunzada, and al-Qaida has been growing stronger in recent years. The group has overcome setbacks from the establishment of a rival Islamic State affiliate in eastern Afghanistan and from U.S. drone strikes that had reduced its numbers.
“There is no discernible evidence of a break or disjuncture between al-Qaida and the Taliban,” Mir said in an interview with The Associated Press. “Instead, at least parts of the Afghan Taliban, such as the Haqqani Network, and al-Qaida continue to actively collaborate.”