The UK and Afghanistan Contents

Chapter 5: The Taliban and other security issues

Taliban control of territory

239.We heard different views on the extent of the Taliban’s control of territory (see Figure 3). Mr Hakimi said the Taliban claimed to control 70% of the country but this was “incorrect”: Afghanistan’s geography was “very ragged”, and there was “a nuance between [control of] population centres” and elsewhere.384 Areas under the Taliban’s control were mainly remote and rural;385 they were generally among the poorest areas of the country.386

240.Our witnesses’ assessments ranged from half to 66% of Afghanistan’s territory.387 According to the BBC World Service’s 2017 study, the Taliban had full control of 14 districts and a physical presence in 263. The Taliban had subsequently taken control of several north-western and north-eastern provinces, and the Afghan government claimed to have regained control over 13 districts. These changes did not alter its overall assessment.388

Figure 3: Map of Taliban controlled areas

Map of Taliban areas Afganistan

Source: Frud Bezhan, ‘The Taliban, the government, and Islamic State: Who controls what in Afghanistan?’ Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty (31 May 2020): [accessed 5 January 2021] 389

241.Falanx Assynt said that the release of almost 5,000 Taliban prisoners by the government in Kabul at the end of February 2020, as a result of the US–Taliban deal (see Chapter 6), had probably strengthened the group.390 The number of violent incidents was the highest in five years,391 and the number of successful attacks and casualties was the highest since collection of such data began in 2010.392

242.It is difficult accurately to assess the scale of the territory controlled by the Taliban. Experts differ in their assessments, and ongoing clashes between the Afghan National Security Forces and the Taliban suggest that the situation remains fluid.

Composition of the Taliban

243.Sir Richard Stagg said the Taliban was a diverse group of “different factions and tendencies”, making it “difficult to be sure that it has a coherent view”.393 There were “different currents of thought” and differences between members.394 Its political commission had shifted “towards recognising the different environment” since 2001, but this “did not necessarily” reflect “grass-roots attitudes”.395

Generational differences

244.Mr Andrew Watkins, Senior Analyst—Afghanistan, International Crisis Group, said that there were differences between the younger and older generation of Taliban members.396 These stemmed from the fact that the young grew up “in a country and in a context that is markedly different to the one which the old school Taliban came to power in”.397

245.The younger members were not more “progressive and more liberal” in the Western sense but were “fundamentally a different group of people”.398 Veteran Taliban fighters had “been exiled … travelled … developed links” and “been educated in various ways”. Their “outlooks have changed”, and they had become “elder statesmen” with “a longer-term vision for the Taliban, a more worldly vision of what they want their political movement to be”.399

246.There are differences in outlook between the younger members of the Taliban, who do not remember its rule in the late 1990s, and veteran Taliban fighters.

Ethnicity and ideology

247.Sir Richard Stagg said that the West had made a mistake in seeing the Taliban as a “small collection of fanatics rather than a group that represents one strand of genuine opinion in Afghanistan”.400 The Taliban represented a “particularly radical conservative Islamic ideology”, but the majority of Afghan society had “highly conservative … cultural norms”.401 The way the Taliban ruled “seems quite reasonable for some parts of rural Afghanistan”.402

248.Lord Sedwill said that the Taliban was primarily a “Pashtun tribal phenomenon”.403 It represented “one strand of Pashtun opinion”.404 As discussed in Chapter 3, Lord Sedwill said there are two tribal federations within the Pashtun ethnic group, the Durranis and the Ghilzais. The Taliban had “managed to restart the civil war in Afghanistan in the mid-2000s because of resentment among the Ghilzai-affiliated tribes that they did not have access to political power, patronage, resources” and “the Western intervention was providing resources to their tribal rivals”.405

249.Since 2001 the Taliban’s “networks, ethnicity, tribal alignments and geographic strongholds have … changed”.406 Although it remained a largely Pashtun movement, it had “broadened its outreach and its appeal in many ways”,407 and Tajik and Uzbek groups had joined the network.408 Fighting against foreign troops’ presence in Afghanistan had become a motivation for the Taliban409 (discussed below).

250.The Taliban reflects the views of a section of largely rural Afghan society on issues including women’s rights and human rights. Although still predominantly Pashtun, it has become more geographically diverse.


251.Dr Jackson said that the ideology of the Taliban was “not … more or less conservative than in the past, but simply different”.410 In the 1990s it aimed to purify Afghanistan after the civil war. It has changed to be a body fighting against foreign occupation, and for the restoration of Islam and rejecting Western immorality.411

252.Falanx Assynt said the Taliban wanted to promote senior religious figures as “key political leaders in society”, replacing tribal elders.412 Older clerics and former fighters were in the Taliban negotiating team in Doha.413

253.It had “co-opted” the use of Western innovations, such as social media.414 Mr Haqqani, however, said that the Taliban’s ideology had not changed, even if its tactics had.415

254.The Taliban has adapted since 2001, but it has not necessarily become less conservative. The extent to which the Taliban has moved away from its previously ideologically hidebound agenda is unclear.

External influences, including relations with Pakistan

255.Mr Watkins said that the Taliban had “very rarely, if ever, bent or caved into international pressure”.416 No external actor—Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar or Iran—had “sufficient influence over the group” to make it change its approach.417 In the 1990s Pakistan had learned that it was “difficult to dominate the Taliban”, which “would listen but then not listen to Pakistan”.418

256.Mr Watkins said that in the past Pakistan had been a sanctuary for the Taliban.419 While “circles of some several dozen of the Taliban’s most senior commanders” still live in Pakistan, “when we talk about those who command and lead the fighting of this movement we mean that they reside and operate in Afghanistan and conduct their business there”.420 This meant that Pakistan’s “influence on a practical level” had “evolved and has certainly trended in the direction of the Taliban’s self-reliance”.421

257.Nonetheless, Pakistan retains close links to the Taliban. All the Taliban representatives who attended the talks in Doha had “either flown on Pakistani aircraft or travelled on Pakistani passports”.422 A Taliban negotiator in Doha, Mullah Baradar, was freed from jail in Pakistan following the intervention of Ambassador Khalilzad, the US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation.423 Dr Nemat argued that the Taliban was “not a grass-roots, rural movement”: the resources it used, “the new 4x4s, the weaponry or the explosive material” were not Afghan products and came “through outside support”.424

258.Pakistan’s objectives in engaging with the Taliban are discussed in the next chapter.

259.The Taliban maintains close links with international partners, particularly Pakistan. However, it has shown itself to be unwilling to bend to external pressure, even from its allies.

Taliban structure, shadow government and income


260.Mr Watkins said the Taliban had “leadership by shura or a council system”. This “consultative system” “increased buy-in from … different wings”, which reflected the ethnic and geographical diversity of the Taliban.425

261.The council system had “top leadership circles” reminiscent of the Soviet politburo.426 The Taliban had moved from “personality-centric networks” to institution-building, although this was “a continual process and one that is mediated by military demands on the ground”.427 Mr Watkins said that in most cases Taliban governance remained highly militarised; it had little interest in “shifting itself out of the martial law that one justifies during a state of war and into a state of normal governance”.428

262.The Shura council oversaw “nine commissions similar to the ministries that were in place during the Taliban’s prior rule”.429 These focused on areas including economics, health and education. It operated “a shadow government through three administrative organs”, and its “military commission appoints shadow governors and commanders for each province”.430

263.Dr Jackson said that the Taliban was “centralised enough” to initiate offensive military actions across the country and “co-ordinated enough” to be able to execute country-wide ceasefires.431 At the same time, it had an internal monitoring system to identify internal divisions and possible disintegration.432

264.The Taliban is increasingly institutionalised, with a consultative system that reflects the diversity of the group. It can co-ordinate military actions and ceasefires.

Shadow government

265.Witnesses discussed the Taliban’s ‘shadow government’ in areas it controls. First, Dr Jackson said it had “co-opted the schools and health clinics funded by the international community and run by the government”, “through parasitic and coercive means”. This had “been quite successful”, and “allowed it to experiment and build its own capacities”.433

266.The FCDO said the Taliban oversaw “some basic service delivery”, but there was “limited provision for women and minorities”.434 Human Rights Watch said that “access to education for girls varies, but seldom includes secondary or higher education”.435

267.Second, the ODI said that the Taliban offered its own justice system as an answer to the immediate needs of communities and as a response to government corruption.436 It used this court system, “operating at the doorstep of Kabul”,437 “to delegitimise the state and erode state justice provision, and to disempower and replace customary dispute resolution”.438

268.Third, it levied taxes439 (discussed below).

269.Dr Jackson said the Taliban had “positioned itself as a government in waiting.”440 By providing services and maintaining “a parallel administration” it aimed to “portray itself as legitimate alternative government”.441

270.The Taliban had in some cases adapted in response to pressure from local communities.442 Its approach to governance was a mixture of continuity, with “social norms and codes … strictly enforced”, and “responsiveness”.443 When “local communal demands have been made for increased access to education or a demand for better quality healthcare, or … the use of social media and modern technologies”, the Taliban had in some cases “changed and accommodated the wishes of the local communities that it requires sanctuary and support from”. The growth and expansion of the Taliban was, in large part, a consequence of this flexible approach.444

271.Ms Clark said that “things have changed … in the areas under Taliban control”. Education for boys was “now seen as quite a normal thing and is expected by parents”, and “primary education for girls is expected by many people”.445

272.This flexibility was, however, limited. Human Rights Watch said “‘morality’ officials—known as ‘vice and virtue’ police when the Taliban were in power in the 1990s—continue to operate”. They “patrol communities to monitor residents’ adherence to Taliban-prescribed social codes regarding dress and public deportment, beard length, men’s attendance at Friday prayers, and use of smartphones or other technological devices.”446 There was “very little free speech”. The Taliban remained “an authoritarian movement that does not brook protest”, and there were “really key differences, not just for Afghan women but for Afghan society in general.”447

273.The Taliban has developed parallel government structures in the areas it controls, providing basic services to local communities and further undermining the institutions of the government in Kabul.

274.The Taliban has demonstrated a degree of flexibility to local needs and demands in the areas it controls, but it remains highly authoritarian and parasitic.

Sources of income

275.Ms Gaston said that much of what drove the Taliban was “interior to the political economy in Afghanistan”.448 According to UN Security Council estimates, the Taliban earns “between hundreds of millions of dollars to $1.5billion a year through illicit means—mining, taxation, extortion”449 (the illicit economy is discussed in Chapter 4).

276.Dr Felbab-Brown said the Taliban’s income was diversified. Activities taxed by the Taliban included government grants to local areas, and “legal and illegal mining and logging, legal agriculture, cell phone tower operators”.450 It also generated income “from protection rackets and capture of local governance resources”.451

277.Opium trafficking is the Taliban’s biggest source of income, contributing approximately 65% of its income.452 The Drugs and (dis)order Research Group said that the estimated value of drug trade was “approximately US$250–400 million per year”.453

278.The Taliban also continued to raise funds in Pakistan and countries in the Middle East,454 but “Gulf powers have much less time and resources to devote to Afghanistan than they did several decades ago”.455 External powers’ engagement with the Taliban is considered in the next chapter.

279.Opium remains the main source of income for the Taliban, accounting for up to 65%. The Taliban also profits from the taxation of economic activities, and other illicit trades, including illegal mining and logging.

The Taliban’s links to terrorist groups and other non-state actors

280.The Taliban retains connections to terrorist groups and other non-state actors.456 Witnesses said this included the Pakistani Taliban, Uzbek movements, al-Qaeda457 and Chechen fighters.458 Dr Jackson said it seemed to think maintaining these relationships was necessary “lest disaffected Talibs join splinter movements”.459

281.Members of the Taliban had shown “sympathy, if not … affiliation” to other groups operating in south and central Asia, including “groups from Uzbek or Tajik areas” and “Chinese Uighurs.”460

282.Mr Watkins said that the Taliban valued its cohesion and unity. While there had been “indications from US negotiators and policymakers that there may be a willingness in the Taliban to work very quietly to assuage counterterrorism concerns”, either “open and public denunciation of these groups or the pursuit and targeting of some of these groups” was unlikely.461

283.The principal groups, and their links to the Taliban, are discussed in turn below.

284.The Taliban has maintained relationships with a range of terrorist and militant groups. It is likely to prioritise its internal unity over US demands to denounce or target such groups.

Terrorist groups

285.Dr Jackson said that the information available on terrorist organisations in Afghanistan, including their size, was “flawed and questionable”.462 There was a paucity of information “even among national intelligence gathering services and the work of the UN and other international institutions” about links between the groups.463

286.In 2018 the Afghan government identified 21 militant groups operating in the country.464 Of these, the Haqqani Network, al-Qaeda, Tehrik-i-Taliban in Pakistan, the Turkistan Islamic Party, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Jihad Union and Hezb-e-Islami are considered terrorist organisations by the UK Government.465 Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) is not on the UK Government’s list of proscribed terrorist organisations,466 in contrast to similar US,467 Canadian,468 Australian469 and New Zealand470 lists.471 We raised this issue with Lord Ahmad, who said that terrorist listings were kept under review.472

287.Beyond the Taliban, “the two highest profile non-state actors” were al-Qaeda and Islamic State Khorasan Province.473 The FCDO said they were “responsible for most violence against Afghan civilians and pose the most significant security threats to the UK and our allies”.474 These groups and the Haqqani Network are considered below.

288.Public information on the different terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan, their size, and the links between them, is very limited.

289.We are surprised that the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) is not included in the Home Office’s list of proscribed terrorist organisations. The UK is the only country among the ‘Five Eyes’ group not to proscribe ISKP. We recommend that this matter be reviewed urgently.

The Haqqani Network

290.Box 6 gives background on the Haqqani Network.

Box 6: The Haqqani Network

The Haqqani Network is a Sunni Islamist militant organisation.

It was founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, an Afghan warlord and insurgent commander during the anti-Soviet war. Jalaluddin allied with the Afghan Taliban in the 1990s and was a known associate of Osama Bin Laden.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, Jalaluddin’s son, currently leads the day-to-day activities of the group, along with several of his closest relatives. Sirajuddin was named as a deputy to Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammed Mansur in August 2015.

The Haqqani Network is primarily based in North Waziristan, Pakistan. It conducts cross-border operations into eastern Afghanistan and Kabul.

Source: US National Counterterrorism Center, ‘Haqqani Network’: [accessed 5 January 2021]

291.Dr Jackson said: “at the top of the Taliban is an emir and beneath him two deputies. One of those seats is filled by the leader of the Haqqani network, so it is very involved in Taliban decision-making”.475 Ms Gaston and Falanx Assynt, however, said the Haqqani Network had a level of autonomy from the Taliban.476

292.Falanx Assynt said that the group was not interested in a pragmatic relationship with the US, which made it “less averse to provocative attacks” than the Taliban. It had been responsible for “some of the bloodiest attacks in Afghanistan”, including an attack on Kabul’s diplomatic quarter in 2017 in which 90 people were killed.477

293.The Haqqani Network and al-Qaeda (discussed below) maintain strong links. Haqqani Network members “consulted directly and personally with Ayman al-Zawahiri [the head of al-Qaeda] in February 2020, to ask his views on the Doha Agreement” between the US and the Taliban. The UN Security Council had “named Yahya Haqqani as having been the ‘primary Haqqani Network focal point for liaison with Al-Qaida since mid-2009’”. The groups have reportedly discussed the formation of a new joint unit of 2,000 fighters.478

294.The Haqqani Network maintains links with Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP).479 The Afghan government “refers to ISKP as the ‘new face’ of the Haqqani network and believes that it is … providing the necessary assistance to enable ISKP to carry out attacks”.480

295.The Haqqani Network has “strong transnational ties”,481 including with the Pakistani security services;482 members of the network have “personal investments in property and business” in Pakistan.483

296.The Taliban remains closely associated with the Haqqani Network, which is designated by the UK Government as a proscribed terrorist organisation.


297.Box 7 gives background on al-Qaeda.

Box 7: al-Qaeda

Al-Qaeda is an international Islamist terrorist organisation.

It was established in 1988 by Osama Bin Laden and Arab fighters who fought against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

It aims at the establishment of a pan-Islamic caliphate, unification of all Muslims in a fight against the West (and the US in particular) and overthrow of all pro-Western regimes in the Muslim world.

It was responsible for the terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001 and the United Kingdom on 7 July 2005.

Al-Qaeda operates in Afghanistan, with affiliates in South Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Source: US National Counterterrorism Center, ‘al-Qaeda’: [accessed 5 January 2021]

298.Falanx Assynt said that assessing the size of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan was difficult. The US thought it had 50–100 fighters in 2010 but “this was shown to be significantly conservative after a joint US–Afghan military raid on a base in Kandahar in 2015, during which US officials estimated more than 160 members of the group were killed”.484

299.The US military suspects that the emir of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, may be based in eastern Afghanistan.485

300.Mr Watkins said al-Qaeda “predates the Taliban in Afghanistan”. It was created from foreign fighters before the Taliban unified into a more coherent organisation. Its “standing and … reputation … among certain members of the Taliban is decades old, longer than international intervention in Afghanistan”. These relationships were “ill-defined” and “poorly” understood.486

301.There were “strong religious and ideological ties” between the Taliban and al-Qaeda, which included “an established relationship” between their leaders.487 The Human Security Centre said when Mullah Haibatullah Akhunzada had become the leader of the Taliban, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had “reaffirmed his support for the Taliban and formally swore Bay’ah, a formal Islamic oath of allegiance, to Akhunzada, which he accepted”.488

302.The UN Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team in 2020 reported that the groups maintained regular contact throughout the US–Taliban negotiations.489

303.Falanx Assynt said al-Qaeda and the Taliban had common interests: the withdrawal of US troops and the return to “political dominance” in Afghanistan by the Taliban. The Human Security Centre said that the US–Taliban agreement was “welcomed by al-Qaeda as a “great victory for the Taliban over America and its allies”.490 It hoped the Taliban would allow it “to use the country as a safe haven from which to support the activities of its global affiliates and branches, including the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula”.491

304.Falanx Assynt said that the Taliban was, however, “no longer fully supportive of al-Qaeda’s global jihadist agenda” and “unlikely to support its use of Afghan territory to co-ordinate attacks in the West”. The Taliban might therefore be “willing to conduct limited operations against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan … to further its agenda of forcing a US withdrawal and securing its own future as a political group.”492

305.The Human Security Centre, however, thought that the relationship between al-Qaeda and the Taliban was “strengthening”: it was “likely that the situation in Afghanistan will return to the status quo ante prior to 2001, wherein the Taliban will offer shelter to and co-operation with al Qaeda”.493 The Taliban was believed to be sheltering al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent in Afghanistan.494

306.The FCDO said al-Qaeda was less active in Afghanistan than before 2001, but it had never “ceased to exist and remains a threat”.495 The planned US withdrawal increased the risk that al-Qaeda would rebuild itself in Afghanistan.496 Lord Sedwill was “less worried about al-Qaeda reviving” because this group could be “contained by the local tribal leaders, if they are willing to do so”.497

307.Al-Qaeda has retained a presence in Afghanistan, although it appears to be weaker than before 2001. It maintains close ties to the Taliban.

Islamic State Khorasan Province

Box 8: Islamic State Khorasan Province

Islamic State Khorasan Province is a Sunni Islamist militant organisation.

It aims for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of Central Asia, countering Western influences and Shia Muslims.

It has strongholds in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces (near the Afghan–Pakistan border), with pockets of support throughout Afghanistan.

Source: Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University, ‘The Islamic State in the Khorasan Province’: [accessed 5 January 2021]

308.Ms Gaston said ISKP rose to prominence in eastern Afghanistan and “at its peak had captured some 8 to 10 different districts in Nangarhar province”.498 The Afghan government considered it “a serious threat” because of its ties to ISIS.499

309.The FCDO said that ISKP “poses a persistent threat in Afghanistan”; there was “potential” that in the long term it may threaten the UK.500 Dr John Manza, Assistant Secretary General for Operations, NATO, said it was “a concern”, especially as increasing numbers of young and educated Afghans were being radicalised and joining ISKP.501

310.The ODI said that ISKP was a particular concern in Nangarhar, Jalalabad and in Kabul.502 Mr Watkins said it had “attracted both membership and the capability to carry out incredibly violent, brutal attacks in Kabul”.503 Falanx Assynt said that it “maintains offensive capabilities” in Kabul and is capable of “periodically launching” attacks against military and civilian targets.504

311.ISKP is also a threat to the Taliban. ISKP “was seriously eroding [the Taliban’s] control of a number of districts and territory and messing up a lot of its transit lines”.505 Falanx Assynt said that the strategies of the two organisations were at odds: both wanted to “establish direct control over territory”. ISKP sought to recruit more radical members of the Taliban, “and its success doing so has contributed significantly to its capabilities, particularly in Kabul”.506 Mr Watkins said that Taliban actions against ISKP were in part in response to the need to protect its own legitimacy.507

312.For this reason, “there was a sort of tacit co-operation going on where as long as the Taliban was fighting only ISK[P], Afghan forces were not going to attack them”.508 The Taliban tended to prioritise its fight with ISKP over clashes with foreign troops. It had “spent a countless … resources and its own fighters” in clashes with ISKP.509

313.Professor William Maley, Professor of Diplomacy, Australian National University, and Dr Niamatullah Ibrahimi, Lecturer in International Relations, La Trobe University, said that the idea that the Taliban could be a “useful partner” in addressing the threat of ISKP was “a dangerous assumption” which “overlooks the complexity of the relations between militant and radical groups, which can oscillate between competition and co-operation”.510 The ODI said there were “recent NGO reports of the two working more closely together in Badakhshan”, which might be a consequence of local ties.511

314.Mr Watkins said ISIS had never succeeded in becoming “an organic insurgent movement” in Afghanistan. It was “a foreign-seeded organisation” with “global aims”, which “attempts to solicit and reach out to any global networks possible”.512 Falanx Assynt said that ISKP maintained links with militant groups operating in western Pakistan and that US military withdrawal could lead to it increasing its capabilities.513

315.Falanx Assynt thought the US’s “enduring concerns” about ISIS in Afghanistan meant it was “likely to attempt to secure an arrangement” for a small military contingent to remain in Afghanistan.514

316.Islamic State Khorasan Province poses a significant threat to the Afghan government and civilians. Its ability to recruit educated, urban Afghans is a particular concern.

384 Q 2

385 Written evidence from the FCDO (AFG0011)

386 Written evidence from Human Rights Watch (AFG0022)

387 Written evidence from the BBC World Service (AFG0015); Written evidence from the ODI (AFG0028) and Q 55 (Dr Antonio De Lauri)

388 Written evidence from the BBC World Service (AFG0015)

389 This map is a snapshot as of 31 May 2020. Control of territory changes.

390 Written evidence from Falanx Assynt (AFG005)

391 Q 12 (Deborah Lyons)

392 Written evidence from Falanx Assynt (AFG005)

393 Q 18

394 Q 4 (Kate Clark)

395 Q 32 (Mark Bowden)

396 Q 65

397 Q 64 (Dr Ashley Jackson)

398 Ibid.

399 Ibid.

400 Q 19

401 Q 87 (Lord Sedwill)

402 Q 3 (Kate Clark)

403 Q 87

404 19 (Sir Richard Stagg)

405 Q 87 (Lord Sedwill)

406 Q 64 (Dr Ashley Jackson)

407 Ibid.

408 Ibid.

409 Ibid.

410 Q 64

411 Q 64 (Dr Ashley Jackson)

412 Written evidence from Falanx Assynt (AFG0005)

413 Q 64 (Dr Ashley Jackson)

414 Ibid.

415 Q 49

416 Q 64

417 Written evidence from Falanx Assynt (AFG0005)

418 Q 49 (Dr Ayeesha Siddiqa)

419 Q 67

420 Ibid.

421 Ibid.

422 Q 52 (Husain Haqqani)

423 Q 67 (Dr Ashley Jackson)

424 Q 32

425 Q 65

426 Q 65 (Andrew Watkins)

427 Q 65 (Dr Ashley Jackson)

428 Q 64

429 Written evidence from Falanx Assynt (AFG0005)

430 Ibid.

431 Q 65

432 Ibid.

433 Q 64

434 Written evidence from the FCDO (AFG0011)

435 Written evidence from Human Rights Watch (AFG0022)

436 Written evidence from the ODI (AFG0028)

437 Q 64 (Dr Ashley Jackson)

438 Written evidence from ODI (AFG0028)

439 Q 33 (Charles Davy)

440 Q 64

441 Written evidence from Falanx Assynt (AFG0005)

442 Q 64 (Andrew Watkins, Dr Ashley Jackson)

443 Q 64 (Andrew Watkins)

444 Ibid.

445 Q 3

446 Written evidence from Human Rights Watch (AFG0022)

447 Q 3 (Kate Clark)

448 Q 57

449 7 (Hameed Hakimi)

450 Written evidence from Dr Vanda Felbab-Brown (AFG0027)

451 Q 57 (Erica Gaston)

452 Q 56 (Dr Antonio De Lauri)

453 Written evidence from the Drugs & (dis)order Research Project, through the British and Irish Agencies Afghanistan Group (AFG0013)

454 Written evidence from Dr Vanda Felbab-Brown (AFG0027)

455 Q 67 (Andrew Watkins)

456 Written evidence from the Human Security Centre (AFG0019), Q 66 (Dr Ashley Jackson) and written evidence from the ODI (AFG0028)

457 Q 66 (Dr Ashley Jackson)

458 Written evidence from the ODI (AFG0028)

459 Q 66

460 Q 66 (Andrew Watkins). The Uighurs are a Muslim minority group, mostly located in the Xinjiang province in north western China. China has imposed a brutal crackdown on its Uighur population. During the Taliban’s rule (1996 to 2001), some Uighur militants were given shelter in Afghanistan, and a number of Uighur militant groups continue to operate from the country. Vanda Felbab-Brown, A BRI(dge) too far: the unfulfilled promise and limitations of China’s involvement in Afghanistan, The Brookings Institution p 3: [accessed 5 January 2021]

461 Q 66

462 Q 66

463 Q 66 (Andrew Watkins)

464 Written evidence from Falanx Assynt (AFG005)

465 Home Office, ‘Proscribed Terrorist Organisations’: [accessed 5 January 2021]

466 Ibid.

467 US Department of State, Bureau of Counterterrorism, ‘Foreign Terrorist Organizations’: [accessed 5 January 2021]

468 Government of Canada, ‘Currently listed entities’: [accessed 5 January 2021]

469 Government of Australia, ‘Listed terrorist organisations’: [accessed 5 January 2021]

470 New Zealand Police, ‘Designated terrorist entities’: [accessed 5 January 2021]

471 The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is itself listed.

472 Q 126

473 Written evidence from Falanx Assynt (AFG005)

474 Written evidence from the FCDO (AFG0011)

475 Q 66

476 Q 55 and written evidence from Falanx Assynt (AFG005)

477 Ibid.

478 Written evidence from the Human Security Centre (AFG0019)

479 Ibid.

480 Ibid.

481 Q 58 (Dr Antonio De Lauri)

482 Written evidence from Falanx Assynt (AFG005) and written evidence from the Human Security Centre (AFG0019)

483 Q 52 (Dr Ayesha Siddiqa)

484 Written evidence from Falanx Assynt (AFG005)

485 Ibid.

486 Q 66 (Andrew Watkins)

487 Written evidence from Falanx Assynt (AFG005)

488 Written evidence from the Human Security Centre (AFG0019)

489 UN Security Council, Letter from the Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1988 (2011) addressed to the President of the Security Council (19 May 2020): [accessed 5 January 2021]

490 Written evidence from the Human Security Centre (AFG0019)

491 Written evidence from Falanx Assynt (AFG0005)

492 Ibid.

493 Written evidence from the Human Security Centre (AFG0019)

494 Written evidence from the Human Security Centre (AFG0019)

495 Written evidence from the FCDO (AFG0011)

496 Written evidence from Falanx Assynt (AFG0005)

497 Q 87

498 Q 58

499 Ibid.

500 Written evidence from the FCDO (AFG0011)

501 Q 82 also see Q 71 (Andrew Watkins)

502 Written evidence from the ODI (AFG0028)

503 Q 71 (Andrew Watkins)

504 Written evidence from Falanx Assynt (AFG0005)

505 Q 58 (Erica Gaston)

506 Written evidence from Falanx Assynt (AFG005)

507 Q 66

508 Q 58 (Erica Gaston)

509 Q 66 (Andrew Watkins)

510 Written evidence from Professor William Maley and Dr Niamatullah Ibrahimi (AFG0004)

511 Written evidence from the ODI (AFG0028)

512 Q 71

513 Written evidence from Falanx Assynt (AFG005)

514 Ibid.

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