The United Nations Security Council warns in its latest report on al Qaeda and the Islamic State that both groups maintain a significant presence in Afghanistan. The UN describes al Qaeda’s relationship with the Taliban as “long-standing” and “strong,” finding that the international terrorist organization “continues to see Afghanistan as a safe haven for its leadership.”
The new assessment was authored in January and released online in early February. It is consistent with a previous analysis written last summer. In that report, dated July 2018, the UN said al Qaeda’s “alliance with the Taliban and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan remains firm,” and the two are still “closely allied.”
FDD’s Long War Journal has created a map of al Qaeda’s and the Islamic State’s presence in Afghanistan based primarily on the last two UN reports. The data were supplemented with operational reporting from the U.S. military and Afghan security forces in recent years. The map shows the presence of al Qaeda and al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), as well as the Islamic State, across 13 Afghan provinces.