Kabul, Jul 26 (IANS): The Al Qaeda terror group is still active in 12 Afghan provinces and its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is still based in the country, a UN report said.
The report submitted to the UN Security Council on Saturday said that according to member states of the world body, "Al Qaeda is covertly active in 12 Afghan provinces and Ayman al-Zawahiri remains based in the country", reports TOLO News.
The report said that the UN Monitoring Team has estimated that the total number of Al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan were "between 400 and 600 and that the leadership maintains close contact with the Haqqani Network".
In February, "al-Zawahiri met with Yahya Haqqani, the primary Haqqani Network contact with Al Qaeda since mid-2009, to discuss ongoing cooperation", it added.
The report also claimed that 6,000 to 6,500 terrorists of Pakistani origin are still operating in Afghanistan and most of them are affilated with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
It said the TTP fighters in Afghanistan are led by Amir Noor Wali Mehsud, supported by his deputy Qari Amjad and TTP spokesperson Mohammad Khorasani.
Another outlawed group, the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), is reported to be active in the provinces of Badakhshan, Kunduz and Takhar, according to the report.
Regarding the Islamic State (IS) terror group, the report said that it has suffered further severe reverses in its former Afghan strongholds of Nangarhar and Kunar provinces, but it was too soon to discount it as a threat, reports TOLO News.
Although in territorial retreat, IS remains capable of carrying out high-profile attacks in various parts of the country, including Kabul, it added.
Meanwhile, Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) operates under the Taliban umbrella from Nimruz, Helmand and Kandahar provinces, the report said, adding that the group reportedly has between 150 and 200 members from Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Pakistan.