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Al-Qaeda Leader Asks Supporters to Go to Afghanistan and Learn from Taliban

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – According to the Long War Journal, Al-Qaeda leader Sayf al-Adl has called on the group’s supporters worldwide to migrate to Afghanistan to prepare for attacking the West.

The Long War Journal, a project of the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), says that in the latest Al-Qaeda pamphlet titled “This is Gaza: A War of Existence, Not a War of Borders”, the group leader has called on foreigners to join Al-Qaeda’s ranks in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

“The loyal people of the Ummah [worldwide Islamic community] interested in change must go to Afghanistan, learn from its conditions, and benefit from the Taliban’s experience,” the report cited the Al-Qaeda leader as saying.

“the continuation of the genocide [in Gaza] calls for the Islamic peoples to strike all Zionist interests (both Western and Jewish) in all Islamic lands. This strike must be a painful one as we are too late in doing what is required of us,” he added.

Sayf al-Adl, a 63-year-old Egyptian citizen, succeeded Ayman al-Zawahiri, the former Al-Qaeda leader killed in a U.S. drone strike on a Taliban safe house in Kabul in July 2022. Al-Adl is also on the FBI’s most wanted terrorists list, with a $10 million reward for information leading to his arrest, on par with Taliban interior minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani, who was received by the American ally the UAE president Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan last week.

Nearly three years after the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s return to power, there is a growing consensus that the country is once again becoming a hotbed of terrorist activity. The resurgence is already impacting the region, though it has not yet reached the West.

International terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and TTP, which share the Afghan Taliban’s ideology have established training camps and are actively recruiting fighters across the country.

Although the Taliban have repeatedly denied their ties with terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda, a report from the UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team last year revealed an increase in connections with terrorist organizations, with over 20 such groups operating in Afghanistan.

The report specifically noted that Al-Qaeda maintains a close relationship with the Taliban and has infiltrated the group’s government institutions with the support of high-ranking officials.

The report highlighted that Al-Qaeda uses Afghanistan as an ideological and logistical hub to recruit new fighters and “covertly rebuild its external operations capability.”

According to the UN, Al-Qaeda operates training camps in 10 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces and runs five madrassas, or religious schools, in the provinces of Laghman, Kunar, Nangarhar, Nuristan, and Parwan.

Al Qaeda “maintains safe houses” in western provinces of Herat, Farah and Helmand “to facilitate the movement [of members] between Afghanistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the report said.  

Not only has the UN confirmed the ties between the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, but earlier, General Scott Miller, the former commander of NATO and US forces in Afghanistan, also said that the terrorist group has maintained or reestablished ties with the Taliban.

“I think as long as Al-Qaeda is out there with an idea and some operatives, there is some threat to, if not the homeland, to US interests,” said the US general who served as the last commander of international forces in Afghanistan.