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Tajik terrorist serves as Taliban commander in northern Afghanistan


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FDD's Long War Journal

Bill Roggio & Andrew Tobin

May 25, 2022

As the Taliban continues to maintain that it doesn’t allow foreign fighters in Afghanistan, a Tajik national and commander for the Al Qaeda-linked Jamaat Ansarullah remains in control of several districts in a northern Afghan province.

During the Taliban’s swift offensive across Afghanistan last spring and summer, the Taliban placed five districts in the northern province of Badakhshan under the control of Mahdi Arsalon, a Tajik national and a commander in the Al Qaeda-linked Jamaat Ansarullah (JA). Arsalon was given control of the districts by Qari Fasihuddin, an ethnic Tajik Taliban commander who served as the shadow governor of Badakhshan at the time. Fasihuddin has since been appointed to serve as the Taliban’s chief of army staff.

The clear cooperation between the Taliban and Jamaat Ansarullah directly contradicts repeated Taliban claims that their regime does not provide safe haven to foreign fighters. In an interview with CNN this past week, the Taliban’s Minister of the Interior, and leader of the Haqqani Network, Siraj Haqqani doubled down on the assertion, declaring that the Taliban does not support foreign fighters and does not allow Afghanistan to serve as a breeding ground or launching pad for terrorism. 

Numerous terror groups, including Al Qaeda, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harakat-ul-Mujahideen, Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, the Turkistan Isamic Party, Katibat Imam Bukhari, and a host of others are known to operate inside Afghanistan. These groups are closely allied with the Taliban and helped the group take control of the country in order to establish the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. 


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