“Their tactical level leadership is in Afghanistan, in the field. The senior leadership, called the Quita Shura or the Peshawar Shura is in cities in Pakistan. So, I would say the senior leadership still resides in Pakistan,” Nicholson said.
Mr. Nicholson who was speaking through a video conference to reporters in the U.S. on Tuesday, November 28, said that Pakistan has not picked practical steps yet in terms of removing the Taliban safe heavens within its territory and the terrorists still pass its border into Afghanistan.
The top U.S military official in Afghanistan further detailed about the Taliban’s relationship with Al-Qaeda terrorist network and said that its current leader, Mullah Haibatullah, has not yet declared Bay’ah (loyalty) to Al-Qaeda leader but the two groups have established friendly relations.
“A degree of collaborations is going on between Al-Qaida and the Taliban. So, even now the Taliban will not publicly acknowledge its relationship, we see it at the tactical level still as a close relationship,” said Mr. Nicholson and further continued that “this is primarily in the form of Al-Qaeda in the Indian Sub-continent but they are intended to provide some expertise, the training on specialized weapons, IEDs, or bomb making”.