US military: Al-Qaida working more closely with the Taliban

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. military says al-Qaida is working more closely with the Taliban in Afghanistan, raising concern that the militant group could bolster the fight against Afghan government forces.

Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland is a spokesman for the U.S.-NATO mission. Cleveland told Pentagon reporters during a video conference Thursday from Kabul that by itself, al-Qaida is not seen as a significant threat to the Afghan government.

But he says that because al-Qaida is beginning to work more with the Taliban, the extremist group could act as an “accelerant” to the fight the Taliban are waging on Afghan security forces.

He estimated there are 100 to 300 members of al-Qaida in Afghanistan.