Abd al-Jalil al-Muslimi waged jihad in Afghanistan and Yemen, and had “extensive and long-standing ties to numerous al Qaeda external operations planners and terrorists” before he was killed, according tot he US military. Mohammad Habib Boussadoun al-Tunisi was an external operations leader who plotted against the West.
In what looks to be an act of desperation to distance itself from the attack, the jihadist group has now issued three separate statements of denial of involvement.
Mawlana Salimullah Khan was also the president of Pakistan’s largest confederation of Deobani seminaries and schools. His son and grandson were deported from the United States for immigration violations after the FBI linked them to an al Qaeda plot in California.
The Taliban has good reason to deny involvement in this attack, as it has used the UAE to fundraise and gather support for jihadists based in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
General Abdul Raziq, the chief of police for Kandahar who has battled the Taliban for years and has been the target of numerous assassination attempts, is pushing the idea of a “safe zone” for the Taliban in Afghanistan.
In its statement claiming credit for today’s attack, the Taliban said that “both of the attackers were from the Martyr Battalion of Islamic Emirate.” The Taliban has deliberately targeted first responders in the past.
Russia is openly advocating on behalf of the Taliban, arguing that the jihadist group should be considered a bulwark against the Islamic State’s branch in Afghanistan. But the Taliban is a bigger threat to Afghan security than Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s men, the organization remains closely allied with al Qaeda and its own extremism should not be downplayed.
The designations of Al-Muhammadia Students and LeT leaders Muhammad Sarwar and Shahid Mahmood highlight LeT’s role in international terrorism and its adeptness in using front organizations to skirt international sanctions.