KABUL (Pajhwok): The United States has said at least 21 terrorist groups have been active on both sides of the Durand Line, but some believe less than 20 terrorist outfits are operating in Afghanistan.
US and NATO forces commander in Afghanistan Gen. Nicholson on February 9th this year told the Senate Armed Services Committee that 20 globally designated terrorist organizations were located in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.
According to the list provided by the foreign forces stationed in Afghanistan, 21 terrorist organizations have been named currently active in Afghanistan-Pakistan region.
They include Tahreek-i-Taliban Afghanistan, the Haqqani Network, Jamatud Dawa Ehli Quran, Daesh, Al-Qaeda, Al-Aaeda South Asia Network, Hizbul Mujahidin, Taliban groups led by Mullah Nazir, Tahreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Harakat-ul-Jihad Islami, Harakat-ul-Jihad Bangladesh, Lashkar-i-Janghavi, Harakat-ul-Mujahidin, Jaeshi Mohammad, Lashkar-i-Tayyiba, Tariq Gedar Group, Jamat-ul-Ahrar, Jundullah, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Junbish-i-Islami Turkmenistan, Itehad Jahad Islami and Qodus Force.
These 21 groups are among the 99 groups black listed by the US worldwide. Foreign forces have termed these groups as dangerous for the region and said regional countries should treat these groups as terrorists.
They, however, did not specifically say how many groups are active on the Afghan side and how many on the Pakistani side of the Durand Line.
The National Directorate of Security (NDS) says in addition to the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network, 21 more terrorist groups, 15 of them Pakistani, have been active in Afghanistan. But some sources at the National Security Council and former President Karzai’s regime said the number of terrorist groups in Afghanistan did not reach 21.
Of the 21 blacklisted terrorist organizations, 11 belong to Pakistan, two to Iran and three (Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda South Asia Network, Daesh) are global terrorist outfits active in different parts of the world.
Two more groups, the Tahreek-i-Taliban Afghanistan and Jamatud Dawa Ehli Quran, are Afghanistan-based but three groups belong to Uzbekistan, East Turkistan and Bangladesh.
Of the above mentioned terrorist groups, five were blacklisted in 2016, one in 2017 and 15 were blacklisted between 1997 and 2013.
1-Tahreek-i-Taliban Afghanistan (TTA)
According to information from foreign forces stationed in Afghanistan, the TTA was blacklisted by the US on 19/09/2012.
Based on reports, the TTA was incepted in 1995 and it launched its activities from southern Kandahar province. They captured Kabul in 1996 and established the self-styled government of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan (IEA). The Taliban captured up to 90 percent territory of Afghanistan until 2001.
Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE and Saudi Arabia had formally recognized the Taliban government.
On October 17, 2001, the US invaded Afghanistan after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. The US accused Al Qaeda Chief Osama Bin Ladin of masterminding the attack who at that time lived in Afghanistan and the Taliban had provided him refuge and refused to hand him over to the US.
US forces with support of Taliban rivals --- the Jabha-i-Muqawamat, comprised of former mujahdeen who toppled the Taliban government and appointed Hamid Karzai as interim president of Afghanistan.
The founder and long-time supremo of the Taliban movement, Mullah Mohammad Omar Mujahid reportedly died in Pakistan in 2013. His successor Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a drone strike in 2016 while Mullah Haibatullah, is the TTA current leader.
Political affairs expert Waheed Muzdah said due to internal differences have TTA into three groups. The Mullah Haibatullah-led Taliban, Mullah Rassoul-led Taliban currently headed by Mullah Abdul Manan Niyazi and the Mahaz-i-Fidae headed by Mullah Najibullah Wardak.
He claimed Mullah Niyazi was living in Kabul and was in contact with the Afghan government.
According to Muzhda, the group led by Mullah Najibullah mainly operated in the northern parts of the country and its network was in Pakistan. They have contacts with the NDS.
The Mahaz-i-Fidae and Daesh groups mainly target foreign missions. About the Haqqani Network, Muzhda said: “There is no tangible network by the name of Haqqanis. Inside the Taliban, the group leader has a symbolic role and the power of making decisions lies with deputies and executive officials. Currently Sirajuddin Haqqani is deputy head of TTA. It is Taliban propaganda to say they are many groups.”
He said Mualvi Khalis-led Hezb-i-Islami had close contacts with the Taliban and some of Khalis members were part of the TTA like Mullah Haibatullah and Jalaluddin Haqqani.
According to Muzhda, in spring, the number of Haibatullah-led TTA reaches 50,000 and reduces to 20,000 in winter as most of TTA fighters go to seminaries in Pakistan.
Karim Popal, another expert, said the number of Taliban led by Mullah Habatullah was some 35,000 while its splinter groups led by Mullah Rassoul has 15,000 personnel.
According to some sources, the Mullah Rassoul group parted ways with the Taliban in 2015 when Mullah Akhtar Manssour was elected as the supreme leader. The splinter groups have demanded the Taliban free themselves from the influence of Pakistan’s intelligence agency.
The Taliban have categorically rejected they are under Pakistan influence while Islamabad also rejects it.
2- Jamaatud Dawa al Quran wa Sunnah
According to the NATO’s media office in Kabul, this group was blacklisted by the US on May 25, 2016. According to a report, Jamaatud al Dawa al Quran wa Sunnah was founded by Mualvi Jamilur Rahman in 1985 in e
astern Kunar province.
Wahid Muzhda said the group was divided into two after its founder, Rahman died. A splinter group of the organization is now led by Haji Rohullah Wakil, brother-in-law of Rahman, he said.
He said Wakil was currently living in Kabul and often appeared in meetings organized about peace. Muzhda said the group led by Wakil was not a terrorist organization.
Muzhda did not provide information about the second splinter group of Jamaat al Dawa al Quran wa Sunnah. But a person, who wished to go unnamed, said the second splinter group of the organization was led by Haji Hayatullah, who lives in Pakistan’s Peshawar city.
NATO’s media office in Kabul said Daesh was blacklisted by the US on January 14, 2016. Daesh or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) made headlines on 2013 when it secured its footholds in Syria.
The group’s Khorasan Province chapter also known as ISKP covers Pakistan, Afghanistan and regions around the two countries. It was created December 20, 2014. According to reports, three leaders of ISKP, including Mullah Abdur Raouf Khadim, Hafiz Sayed Orakzai and Abdul Haseeb Logarai have so far killed in Afghanistan.
A source, who wished anonymity, said reports about the death of new ISKP leader Abu Sayed were baseless.
Karim Popal said around 3,400 Daesh members were active in Afghanistan. “Former rebel groups on Pakistan border including Lashkar-i-Islam, Jamaatul Ahrar in Kurram, Khyber, Orakzai agencies, Hangu and Peshawar have also joined Daesh,” he said.
However, Muzhda said: “The number of Daesh fighters in Afghanistan is always exaggerated, the number of people who have joined Daesh in Afghanistan and Pakistan does not exceed 1,000”
A majority of Daesh members are from Al Qaida, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Taliban groups, he said, adding in addition to some eastern provinces, the group was active in some northern provinces as well.
According to NATO’s media office in Kabul, Al-Qaeda group was added to the US blacklist on August 10, 1999. Based on reports, this organization was formed by Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan’s Peshawar city in 1988
during the Afghan-Soviet war.
Bin Laden was living in Afghanistan and was forced to leave Afghanistan following the US-led invasion in 2001. The US finally found Laden’s hideout in Pakistan and killed him in 2011. After Laden’s death, Ayman Al Zawahiri was appointed as the Al-Qaeda leader.
Wahid Muzhda said only a limited number of Al-Qaeda group were active in Afghanistan after the collapse of the Taliban regime. A number of the group’s members joined Daesh and others Taliban after Daesh emerged, he said.
5- Al-Qaeda in the South Asia:
According to NATO’s media office in Kabul, the Al-Qaeda South Asia group was added to the US blacklist on June 30, 2016.
Based on information available, the group was created under leadership of Asim Omar in 2014. The group’s operations cover countries of South Asia. According to some reports, Pakistano and Afghan Taliban support this group.
Of 21 groups, 11 belong to Pakistan.
According to sources, Hezb-i-Mujahidin, Taliban group of Mullah Nazir, Harakat Jihad Islami, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, Harakatul Mujahidin, Jaish-i-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Tahreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, Tariq Gidar Group, Jamaat al Ahrar and Islamic Jihad Union are Pakistani groups blacklisted by the US.
But National Directorate of Security (NDS) of Afghanistan says besides Taliban and Haqqani Network, 15 Pakistani groups, two international groups and four terrorist groups of Central Asia were operating in Afghanistan.
This group was blacklisted by the US in August 17, 2017 according to NATO’s media office in Kabul.
Hizbul Mujahidin is a separatist group in Kashmir created in 1979 by Mohammad Hassan Dar. The group has been active in Jammu and Kashmir state since 1979. It is identified as a terrorist group by India and the EU.
Wahid Muzhda said Hizbul Mujahidin had Pakistan’s ISI support and was active only on Pakistan border with India.
According to reports the group led by Sayed Salahuddin Yousuf Shah, organizes operations from inside Pakistan. Salahuddin, 71, who was born in India-controlled Kashmir and entered Pakistan-controlled Kashmir after failing to win parliamentary elections in 1987.
He has been active in Kashmir under India for the past several years. He joined Hezbul Mujahidin in 1979 and soon became the leader of the group.
7- Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)
This group was added to the US blacklist on September 1, 2010 according to NATO’s media office in Kabul.
TTP is an umbrella organization of various militant groups based in the northwestern Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghan border in Pakistan.
Karim Popal said, the group founded by Baitullah Mehsud was fighting against the governments of Pakistan and the US. It also supports Al-Qaeda, Tehreek-i-Islami Uzbekistan, Tehreek-i-Taliban, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi and Harakat al Jihad Islami groups.
Wahid Muzhda said after the death of Mehsud, the group elected Mullah Fazulullah as its supreme leader. Fazlullah’s death reports had several times published in the media. The group is mainly active in Pakistan.
The TTP in 2015 announced joining forces with the Afghan Taliban, saying they would coordinate attacks. A number of TTP members have been killed inside Afghanistan, according to some reports.
According to foreign forces media office in Kabul, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar was blacklisted by the US in 2016.
This group separated from the TTP in 2014, but rejoined it in 2015. Some sources say Jamaat-ul-Ahrar is affiliated with Daesh, but others say the group has announced joining Daesh, but has practically not.
Wahid Muzhda said Jamaat-ul-Ahrar was a Pakistani group led by Abdul Wali aka Omar Khalid Khurasani, who was recently killed in a US drone strike. It is mainly active in Pakistan’s tribal regions.
However, a security official in eastern Nangarhar province, who wished to go unnamed, said Jamaat-ul-Ahrar was also active in Achin, Lalpura, Momand Dara and Ghanikhel districts of Nangarhar. The official said around 600 members of the group were operating in the four districts.
9- Taliban group of Mullah Nazir:
The US added this group to blacklist in 2013 according to foreign forces office in Kabul.
Wahid Muzhda said the group was previously led by Mullah Nazir whose death divided the group and its members joined other groups.
Mullah Nazir was killed in a US drone strike in South Waziristan tribal region in January, 2013. According to reports, Mullah Nazir preferred attacks on NATO forces.
10- Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami:
This group was blacklisted by the US on August 6, 2010 according to NATO’s media office in Kabul.
The Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami group emerged when its leader, Mualana Arshad Ahmad, accompanied by Qari Saifullah and Mualana Abdul Sammad arrived in Afghanistan for the war against the Soviet Union in the 1980s.
Muzhda said Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami was a Pakistani group. “Some of these groups are anti-Shia and they used their Afghan link-minded for performing their activities, no one claims responsibility when they carry out attacks,” he said.
“Most of these groups have links with intelligence organizations, they carry attacks for disruption,” he said.
Karim Popal said Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami was founded by Fazal Rahman Khalil and Qari Safiullah Akhtar in 1984. “This group fights against US, Israel, Bangladesh and New Zealand. It has a group of 15 members in Afghanistan fighting against US. Its main center is in Palestine,” he said.
This group was added to the US blacklist on October 8, 1997. Harkat-ul-Mujahideen separated from Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami as a splinter group in 1985. An analyst, who wished to go unnamed, said that centers of Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, Mujahideen and Jaish-I-Mohammad were in Pakistan with focus on Kashmir.
Karim Popal said, “Harkat-ul-Mujahideen freely moves in Pakistan, its leader Fazal Rahman Khalil, is living in Islamabad, it struggles to win Kashmir for Pakistan, the group is labeled as a threat to Afghanistan and US interests.”
This group was added to the US blacklist on December 26, 2001 according to foreign forces’ media office in Kabul.
According to reports, Jaish-e-Mohammed is one of Pakistani militant groups and it was created to separate Kashmir from India. The group was founded by Mualana Massoud Azhar in 2001.
According to a report, members of the group hijacked a passenger aircraft from India to Kandahar province in 1999 in order to press the Indian government to release Maulana Massoud Azhar who was imprisoned in that country.
The Indian then exchanged Maulana Massoud Azhar with 155 passengers kidnapped to Afghanistan during the Taliban regime.
Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group was added to the US blacklist on December 26, 2001 according to NATO’s media office in Kabul.
According to reports Lashkar-e-Taiba is active in South Asia and mainly in Pakistan. The group was founded by Hafiz Mohammad Saeed in 1990 and its center is currently in Pakistan’s Lahore city. It leads many exercising camps in Kashmir.
Lashkar-e-Taiba is accused by India for carrying out attacks on its citizens and security forces, particularly attacks on Indian parliament in 2001 and in Mumbai in 2008.
Wahid Muzhda said that the group was created with the support of Pakistan’s ISI. According to some reports the group is also active against the Afghan government in Afghanistan.
14- Tariq Gidar Group:
According to NATO’s media office in Kabul, this group was added to the US blacklist on May 25, 2016.
Tariq Gidar militant group belongs to Pakistan, according to reports. Some reports say Tariq Gidar was involved in killing 150 school students and teachers in an attack in Peshawar in 2014.
Some sources say that Omar Narai, the organizer of the attack, was killed by Afghan forces in Nangarhar province following the order of President Ashraf Ghani in 2016.
This group was added to the US blacklist on May 20, 2003 according to foreign forces’ media office in Kabul.
Lashka-u-Jhangvi is a splinter group of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan that was founded by Ishaq Malik and a number of other figures in 1996. It is an extremist group based in Pakistan.
According to Wahid Muzhda, Lashka-e-Jhangvi follows its goals in cooperation with Al-Qaeda and Taliban.
Karim Popal said the center of the group, led by Mohammad Yasin, was based in Waziristan tribal region. Around 200 members of the group are operating against followers of the Shia branch of Islam, he said. Popal said that Lashka-e-Jhangvi was part of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan.
Some reports indicate that Lashka-j-Jhangvi was involved in kidnapping of 30 people from Kabul-Kandahar highway in 2014. The group also has activity in southern Zabul province and was involved in an attack on Ashura ceremony in Kabul.
16- Islamic Jihad Union:
This group was added to the US black list on June 12, 2005 according to foreign forces’ media office in Kabul.
Some reports say that the group was created under the influence of Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in 2002 and it is based in North Waziristan.
Some sources said say the group was more active in recent years against Pakistani forces in Pakistan’s tribal region and Afghan and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
However, Wahid Muzhda said the group was not so popular and it was currently not involved in any activities. “If we count on such small groups, they are in hundreds,” he said.
This group was added to the US blacklist on November 3, 2010 according to NATO forces’ media office in Kabul.
Jundullah militant group was formed in Iran in 2003 and its goal is to protect religious and tribal rights, particularly of Baloch tribe and followers of Sunni Islam in Iran.
According to reports, Abdul Malik Regi was leading the group in the previous years but the leadership of the group was later handed over to Mohammad Zahir Baloch after Regi was detained by the Iranian government.
Wahid Muzhda said Jandullah group was operating against followers of Shia Islam in Afghanistan and the Iranian government.
The group is also operating against the Afghan government in Takhar, Faryab and some other provinces, reports say. Qari Ghulam Hazrat aka Abu Hazifa, a member of the group was killed in Kunduz province in 2015.
18- Quds Force
This group was added to the US blacklist on October 25, 2007 according to NATO media office in Kabul.
According to information available, Quds Force group was created as border forces of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards during the Iran-Iraq war. The goal of the group was to support Kurds in fighting against Saddam Hussain, former president of Iraq.
Wahid Muzhda said that Quds Force had two branches including Fatimion and Zainabion. Zainabion is comprised of Pakistani Shiites who fight in support of Basharul Asad government in Syria, he said.
Fatimion, a militant group, is formed of Afghanistan Shiites in 2011 and is currently led by Sayed Mahdi.
A source writes thousands of Fatimion fighters are protecting the interest of Basharul Asad with comprehensive support from Tehran.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) on October 1 this year said the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had recruited Afghan children living in Iran as refugees for fighting in Syria.
It said Afghan children aging 14 years old had been fighting in Syria in Fatimion ranks ---constituted exclusively from Afghans.
Based on international rights, exploiting a child having age of less than 15-year-old for active participation in fighting is one of war crimes.
19- Junbish-i Islami-i Uzbekistan
In accordance with information from Kabul-stationed foreign troops’ media wing, this group was officially added to the blacklist by the US on September 25, 2000.
Junbish-i Islami-i Uzbekistan was founded by Juma Bai Namangani and Tahir Yoldash in the year 1998 at the end of Tajikistan civil war. The group is now active in many countries of the Central Asia.
In the meantime, reports suggest that after the collapse of Taliban regime in Kabul and the entering of US and ISAF forces to Afghanistan, this group moved to highlands and border areas of Afghanistan and started its activity. Currently, the focal point of this group’s movements and activities is northern Waziristan.
Waheed Muzhda said the Junbish-i Islami-i Uzbekistan was earlier functioning under Al-Qaeda; but now most of the movement’s members have either joined Daesh or Taliban.
Abdul Sataar Darzabi, a lawmaker from Jawzjan in Wolesi Jirga, in March this year had said the Junbish-i Islami-i Uzbekistan was recruiting fighters in the north of Afghanistan and had established 80 military training centers in Jawzjan province.
20- East Turkestan Islamic Party (ETIP)
Based on information from Kabul-stationed foreign forces, this group was listed as a terrorist organization on September 3, 2002 by America.
It is a Muslim separatist group founded by militant Uighurs, members of the Turkic-speaking ethnic majority in northwest China’s Xinjiang province.
Based on reports, the group has established hideouts along the China-Pakistan border area and Pakistani Army based on China’s request had conducted operations over the past few years for eliminating members of the separatist group.
East Turkestan Islamic Party (ETIP) was created in 1993 and this party with collapse of former Soviet Union was able to establish links with fundamentalist groups and parties in Central Asia. This group later cooperated and supported Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
Based on reports, although the ETIP with the fall of Taliban regime stretched its cooperation to Waziristan area of Pakistan; however, the group has been able to maintain its authority and power among other convergent and fundamentalist movements through its support and coordination with them.
Muzhda about this group said: “Many of this movement’s members went to Syria and swelled Daesh ranks. Abu Mohammad Turkistani who led the group during Taliban era was killed in North Waziristan. The group is now spearheaded by Tahir Yoldash’s son and is active under the leadership of Junbish-i Islami-i Uzbekistan.”
A number of sources say the threat looms that the ETIP in coordination with Daesh will expand its authority with experience from its past cooperation with Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
21- Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami Bangladesh (HuJI)
As the Kabul-stationed foreign troops say, this group was inserted into the blacklist on March 5, 2008 by the US. The group was formed by Mualvi Abdul Rahman Faroqi along with Bangladeshi Mujahideen in 1989.
Based on reports, Faroqi was killed during Soviet-Afghan war while defusing a landmine in southeastern Khost province.
Some sources say individuals who returned to Bangaledesh from the Afghan war against the former Soviet Union had a role in establishing the HuJI.
Confirmation and denial of the 21 terrorist groups’ activity in Afghanistan
President Ashraf Ghani on October 20 at the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly said: “There are over 20 international terrorist groups with an imposed presence on Afghan soil.
He had said the future of Afghanistan mattered because the Afghans were on the frontlines of the global effort to eradicate the threat of terrorism.
“Our brave soldiers are fighting and dying for this cause, and the sovereignty of the Afghan nation, every day. Though we may be on the frontlines, the threat knows no boundaries.”
“For terrorist groups who are harbored in the region, an attack in Kabul and an attack in Brussels, Paris, Barcelona, London or anywhere else are equal victories. President Trumps’ new strategy includes the disruption and denial of sanctuary to terrorists whose motives know no boundaries.”
National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar, without going into details, had said after the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan in 2014, the number of militant groups tripled and among every four militants one was foreigner.
The two Afghan leaders did not clarify the these groups, but NDS told Pajhwok Afghan News that besides the Taliban and Haqqani Network, two global terrorist networks Alqaeda and Daesh, 15 Pakistani terrorist outfits Lashkar-i-Tayyiba, Tahreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, Jamat-ul-Ahrar, Tanzem-i-Salafies, Ansar-ul-Islam, Lashkar-i-Islam, Jaish Mohammad, Sepahai Sahaba, Lashkar-i-Jangavi, Mujahidin Albadar, Harakat-ul-Mujahdin, Harakat-ul-Ansar, Hizb-ul-Mujahidin, Harakat Al Jihad and Junod-i-Khorasan, four Central Asian States terrorist networks Harakat-i-Islami Uzbekistan, Junbesh-i-Islami EasternTurkistan, Ansarullah Tajikistan and Jundullah are active in Afghanistan.
Of these groups, nine militant outfits which are Al Aaeda, Daesh, Harakat-i-Islami Uzbekistan, Junbish Islami Eastern Tukistan, Andarullah Tajikistan, Jundullah, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, Jamat-ul-Ahrar and Lashkar-i-Tayyiba are practically involved in Afghanistan.
The Jamat-ul-Dawa Ela Quran, Alqaead wing for South Asia, the Taliban group led by Mullah Nazir, Harakat Aljihad Bangladesh, Tariq Gedar group, Itehad-i-Jihad Islami and Qods force are groups black listed by the US but not by the NDS.
Eight more groups about which the NDS mentioned their activities in Afghanistan have been not included in US black list.
Lashkar Islam is an associated group of the Afghan the Pakistani Taliban and active in the eastern Afghanistan.
Recently, eleven members of the groups have been killed. A senior member of this groups was also killed in Nangarhar recently.
Karim Popal said the group belonged to Khyber Agency and founded by Mufti Munib Shakir and headed by Mangal Bagh. Lashkar Islam allied itself with Daesh and is fighting against Pakistani and Afghan governments.
A security source, wishing anonymity, said 500 Lashkar Islam fighters were active in Nazyan and Achin districts.
Last year, NDS officials said the Taliban were trying to expand their political and military activities and for this purpose they had been seeking support from Lashkar-i-Tayyiba, Mujahidin Albadar and Jaish-i-Mohammad groups.
The Mujahidin Albadar is a Pakistani militant group which was active in Kashmir in the past but recently they started insurgent activities in Afghanistan as well.
According to information, Bakht Zamin, is the leader of this group and some of their fighters are present in Afghanistan.
Bakht Zamin, in an interview to Pakistani Magazine Neda-i-Millat said a US defeat in Afghanistan would result in the independence of Kashmir as well.
He added due to the armed struggle of their fighters, the Russians were defeated in Afghanistan and the US would also suffer the same fate.
According to reports, the group commemorated the killing of their fighters in the Lower Dir district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The group fighters were killed in Afghanistan’s Khost province.
Amin Salarzai, a resident of the locality, who is currently living in Saudi Arabia, said he was member of the Mujahidin Albadar but quieted the group and had no link.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News the Mujahidin Albadar currently was fighting against US forces in Afghanistan.
Minute details could be found of Pakistan-based Salafi organisations, but Dawat Ba Quran Wa Sunnat (Invitation to Quran and Sunnah) that joined the Taliban in 2010. Based on reports, this outfit is also active n Afghanistan.
In 2011, the NDS informed about the arrest of an individual belonging to a Salafi outfit. There have been other reports that proved the presence of this organisation.
The Ansar-ul-Islam came into existence when Pir Saifur Rahman, a Sufi scholar, created his own group against Lashkar-i-Islam in 2004. Lashkar-i-Islam was set up by Mufti Munir Shakir, an extremist Sunni scholar and critic of Sufism.
According to some reports, Ansar-ul-Islam was also involved in anti-government activities in Afghanistan.
The group adheres to the ideas of the Deobandi school of thought. The organisation was founded in Pakistan in 1985. A splinter group of Jamiat-i-Ulema Islam Pakistan, headed by Maulana Azam Tariq, the Sipah-i-Sahaba is accused of anti-Shia activities.
They are political supporter so of Lashkar-i-Jhangavi, with around 100,000 workers in Pakistan. They often oppose Muharram processions and attack them.
6- Harkatul Ansar:
Based on reports, the Harkatul Ansar was founded in Pakistan in 1993. Some members of Harkatul Jihad Al-Islami and Harkatul Mujahidin joined the group.
Jonud-i-Khurasan was accused of abducting some people from the Goshta district of eastern Nangarhar province in 2013.
Wolesi Jirga member Faridoon Momand, hailing from Ghoshta, had claimed at that time the abductors were from an armed group named Jonud-i-Khurasan.
He had said in 2013 the group was comprised of Afghan and Pakistani Taliban and conducted activities for the past two months in Afghanistan.
8- Jamaat Ansarullah Tajikistan:
This group was set up in 1990. The killing of Amruddin Tebri in 2015 proved Jamaat Ansarullah Tajikistan was very active in Afghanistan.
An Al-Qaeda affiliate, the outfit is comprised of individuals from Tajikistan. The Supreme Court of Tajikistan banned the Jamaat Ansarullah in 2011 and declared its activities as terrorist acts.
But some sources, including former President Hamid Karzai, rejected the presence of around 21 terrorist outfits in Afghanistan. Karzai recently said he did not know how the number of terrorist organisations in the country had suddenly jumped to 21.
“I have no information about the presence of that many terrorist groups in Afghanistan. I cannot confirm it. If these groups actually exist, the people of Afghanistan should be made aware of it,” the former president said.
Abdul Hai Akhunzada, deputy head of the Wolesi Jirga Security and Defence Commission, said: “We often summon security officials to the house and they claim 21 terrorist orgnisations existed in Afghanistan. But they have not yet unmasked these groups and areas where they are active.”
Akhunzada said security officials have information only about three terrorist groups in Afghanistan. He said the Lashkar-i-Taiba was active in Kunar, Daesh in Sar-i-Pul and Nangarhar and the Taliban in most provinces of the country.
Mohammad Hashim Alkozai, head of the Wolesi Jirga Security and Defence Commission, said: “With the exception of Daesh and Taliban, no other rebel group was active in Afghanistan.
He, however, said some groups cooperated with the Taliban and Daesh but their bases never existed in Afghanistan.
Political analyst Waheed Muzdah said besides Daesh, Taliban and Tahrik Islami Uzbekistan, no other group had a presence in Afghanistan. Most of the terrorist groups are active on the other side of the Durand Line.
“The US wants to stay in Afghanistan and those who talk about terrorist groups and term them a threat to the region are supporting the US strategy and creating a reason for America’s military presence in Afghanistan.”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid also spurned the claim of 21 terrorist groups fighting in Afghanistan. He said the presence of 21 groups in Afghanistan was being highlighted to frighten the world and pave the ground for continued war in the country.
He said the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was the only group fighting against the occupation forces in the country.
He said: “Daesh has no chance of recognition in Afghanistan. The Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) is supportive of the government while Taliban are still fighting. There are no other groups and all claims about their presence are wrong.”
HIA central office is situated in Kabul. The party inked a historic peace agreement with the government after two years of long negotiations.
A member of the High Peace Council (HPC) Secretariat said on condition of anonymity they had sent 10 questions to provincial committees for sharing them with terrorist outfits.
The questions, when answered, would help identify the terrorist outfits’ objectives fighting -- ideological, tribal interest or any other reason.
The paper would help explain which group in which province has been fighting against the government. It will also identify who controls these groups and the key commanders of different outfits.
But Abdul Latif Burhani, HPC deputy head, said according to a new strategy approved by the cabinet, talks would be offered only to the Taliban because the movement was and Afghan insurgency and the remaining groups would be eliminated.