“Al-Qaeda funding the return of the Taliban, top US commander says,” from the Turkish Press, :
KABUL – Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network is making fresh efforts to engineer a comeback by the Taliban and regain a foothold of its own in Afghanistan, the commander of US forces in the country said Tuesday.
Lieutenant General David Barno said the US believed both Bin Laden and fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Omar were probably still in the region, possibly on the rugged border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“Al-Qaeda clearly still wants to see the Taliban stage some kind of a comeback in Afghanistan,” Barno told.
“They’re still providing financing, with guidance, training, support and selected individuals that help lead and motivate the operations here in Afghanistan.”
Barno, who leads a force of around 18,000 US troops in Afghanistan, added that Al-Qaeda militants were “located in tribal areas, down there in border areas, probably on both sides of the border” with Pakistan.
“We operate under the assumption that they’re still in this region,” he said when asked where Bin Laden and Mullah Omar were believed to be.