Maintaining official ties with Al Qaeda provides the Taliban with important credibility among international jihadist groups, as well as access to military training and Arab funding.
The close personal relationship between Mr. bin Laden and the Taliban’s leader Mullah Mohammed Omar was seen as one of the central reasons for the group’s continuing support of Al Qaeda. Now that bin Laden is dead, some commentators speculate that the Taliban may be willing to renounce Al Qaeda, a key condition for peace talks.
But even without bin Laden, that remains highly unlikely. Maintaining official ties with Al Qaeda provides the Taliban with important credibility among jihadist groups in addition to access to training and Arab funding.
“If the Taliban stays with Al Qaeda there are a lot of incentives,” says Sami Yousafzai, an independent analyst in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad. “If they say 'OK, we’re not going to support Al Qaeda,' that might have an impact on their financial sources from the Middle East.”
During the past few years, many Arabs opposed to the West have come to see Afghans, especially Pashtuns as like-minded allies.