Taliban responded to the story of the image released by the Afghan branch of Uzbek Jihadist group Katibat Imam al-Bukhari (KIB), and said it was propaganda and untrue.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid, tweeted on Wednesday evening that the image had been “stolen from our archives and falsified by anti-peace circles for propaganda.”
The disputed image undermines Taliban’s claims about foreign fighters in Afghanistan.
A story by FDD’s Long War Journal had reported that the KIB’s Afghan branch, which is known to operate in the northern provinces, was working with the Taliban and had captured several pro-government militiamen.
The photos had been shared on KIB’s Telegram by their Syrian emir Abu Yusuf al-Muhajir who claimed the image was from a raid with the “Ansar Mujahideen,” a term used for local Taliban fighters.
The Taliban spokesperson does not dispute the image is from Afghanistan, however, neither does he make clear whether it was from a joint operation.
The KIB on its part, refers to itself as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan-Katibat Imam al-Bukhari and has also pledged allegiance to Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada.
UN Security Council monitoring report from January 2020 also talk about KIB’s presence in Afghanistan. The group has released photos of their Afghan operations since 2016.