United Nations, Feb 14 (PTI) Linkages between the Taliban, Al-Qaida and UN Security Council-designated terror entities such as LeT and JeM, are a further source of concern, UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Chair Ambassador T S Tirumurti said on Monday, as he noted that “serious concern” remains that Afghanistan may become a safe haven for Al Qaida and other terrorist groups in the region.
Tirumurti, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, delivered remarks in his capacity as Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Committee to the open briefing of the Counter-Terrorism Committee on the work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) with the Member States of South and South-East Asia.
He told the briefing that the latter half of 2021 saw “consequential change” in Afghanistan with the Taliban takeover of Kabul in August, the concurrent collapse of the government of Afghanistan, and the humanitarian crisis that followed.
He stressed that the recent 1988 Committee report to the Security Council noted that the ties between the Taliban, largely through the Haqqani Network, and the Al-Qaida and foreign terrorist fighters remain close and are based on ideological alignment and relationships forged through common struggle and intermarriage.
“The linkages between the Taliban, Al-Qaida, and terrorist entities proscribed by the Security Council, such as Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), are a further source of concern. And therefore, serious concern remains that Afghanistan may become a safe haven for Al Qaida and a number of terrorist groups in the region,” Tirumurti said in his Chair’s statement, which was as per consensus of all the 15 UN Security Council members that make up the Committee.
Tirumurti noted that since their military defeat in the conflict zones of the Middle East, ISIL and Al-Qaida have been seeking to establish a foothold in both South and South-East Asia.
Foreign terrorist fighters who travelled to the conflict zones from the region, as well as their accompanying family members — including women and children — have been returning to their countries of origin, he said, adding that many offenders are also due to complete their sentences and be released back into society in the coming months and years, “posing a further security threat.” Tirumurti underlined that the Taliban’s rise to power in Afghanistan also poses a “complex security threat” outside the region, particularly in parts of Africa, where terrorist groups may try to emulate the Taliban’s example.
He emphasised that the misuse of information and communications technologies (ICT) — including new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, “deep fakes”, and Blockchain — for terrorist purposes is on the increase.
“Use of drones for cross-border trafficking of arms, drugs and launching terror attacks have also remained an issue of serious concern,” he said.
He called on member states to harness the power of new technologies to counter terrorist threats in a responsible and human-rights compliant manner, while not forgetting the fact that as per UNSC resolution 1566 (2004), it is terrorism which seriously impairs the enjoyment of human rights and threaten the social and economic development of all States and undermine global stability and prosperity. PTI YAS RS AKJ RS
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