UNITED NATIONS – Taliban and Al Qaeda supporters could possess nerve gas and missiles capable of carrying warheads, a U.N. report said Monday.
The Monitoring Group on Afghanistan said it was concerned "that Al Qaeda, the Taliban or their sympathizers could well use these missiles to deliver weapons of mass destruction."
While the Taliban has been routed, the group said it still has support in many places and still possesses "the means to stage an uprising."
"Due to the strength of this support, the Taliban and Al Qaeda are likely to remain a threat for some time to come," it said in a report sent to the Security Council.
The Monitoring Group, comprising five independent experts, said that according to information from "competent sources" the Taliban could possibly possess missiles with range between 45 and 190 miles.
"These missiles may be fitted with conventional, chemical or nuclear warheads," the monitoring group's report said. "At the moment it is not known whether these missiles are operational, or, where they are located."
Before the start of the U.S.-led offensive against the Taliban in early October, it said there were about 100 Scud missiles and at least four Scud mobile launchers in Afghanistan.
The group said it has also received reports that the Taliban could possess Sarin and VX nerve gas projectiles, which could be fired by artillery. However, the group said "it has not been able to verify the locations or quantities of these weapons."
Usama bin Laden has said his Al Qaeda network has chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons. U.S. officials have said Al Qaeda probably has crude chemical or biological weapons but not a nuclear bomb.
The Security Council established the monitoring group last year to check sanctions on the Taliban, including an arms embargo and the freezing of its assets.
Instead of targeting the new internationally backed Afghan government installed in December, new sanctions target the terrorists who had used the war-ravaged central Asian nation as a safe haven until the Taliban was ousted.
The Monitoring Group recommended that its experts verify all known terrorist training facilities as soon as the situation on the ground permits.
"The group has obtained information from a variety of sources concerning the location of at least 100 terrorist training facilities, as known prior to the coalition action in Afghanistan," the report said.
On the issue of illicit drugs, it called for international verification of former production facilities and storage sites, saying information it received "indicates a return to poppy cultivation" by farmers looking for quick cash.
Afghan Prime Minister Hamid Karzai issued a decree last Wednesday prohibiting poppy production and trafficking in narcotics, including opium and heroin.