The below map shows Al Qaeda leaders killed and captured in Afghanistan since 2010. The Taliban’s claim that Al Qaeda has no presence in Afghanistan is false and dangerous.
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Since 2001, the Taliban has consistently claimed that Al Qaeda has no presence in Afghanistan. Even after the July 2022 U.S. drone strike in Kabul that killed Al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri, the Taliban continues this lie.
Zawahiri is just one of dozens of senior Al Qaeda leaders, military commanders, and operatives that have been killed or captured in counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan since 2010. FDD’s Long War Journal has compiled a detailed list and timeline of the most prominent leaders killed or captured across nine provinces in Afghanistan. Hundreds of lower level Al Qaeda commanders, fighters and operatives have been killed during operations in this time period.
As FDD’s Long War Journal has detailed over the last decade, and as files recovered from Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in 2011 confirmed, Al Qaeda has long maintained a presence in Afghanistan.
With Taliban leaders having openly called for foreign fighters to join their ranks, publicly mourned the death of Al Qaeda leaders, and flaunted an alliance with Al Qaeda, Washington must remain clear-eyed about the past and continued threat posed by the safe haven of a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.