Al Qaeda touts operations in Ghazni

Al-Qaeda-Ops-Ghazni.jpg

Screen shots from al Qaeda’s latest release of “Diaries of a Mujahid.” Image from the SITE Intelligence Group.

As Sahab, al Qaeda’s propaganda wing, released a video that highlights “mujahideen” operations in Ghazni province in southeastern Afghanistan. The video, the sixth edition of “Diaries of a Mujahid,” was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, and was posted on jihadist forums on March 19. As SITE notes, “The video juxtaposes the fighters with NATO-led ISAF forces, arguing that the former is fearless and believe violent jihad to be commanded by God, while the latter views returning home safe as sufficient for victory.”

Al Qaeda claims that “emigrants” – or fighters from outside of Afghanistan – are among the ranks of the “young mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate,” which is better known as the Taliban. From the SITE translation of the As Sahab videotape:

And to deter this [US] aggression, many of fighting groups in the area were formed, and they included emigrants in their ranks. They awaited their role to participate in fighting operations.

At The Long War Journal, we’ve noted multiple times that Ghazni is a key hub for al Qaeda operations in southeastern Afghanistan. See LWJ report, Special operations forces capture 5 al Qaeda operatives in Afghan southeast, for more information on al Qaeda’s operations in Ghazni.

Senior US officials want you to believe that al Qaeda has been defeated in Afghanistan, and that only a small number operatives are present in the country, primarily in the northeastern provinces of Kunar and Nuristan (which, ironically enough, are essentially being abandoned in the new strategy for Afghanistan).

But lest we fall for this line and dismiss these foreign fighters as mere cannon fodder who pose no real threat to the West, note that a slew of recent attacks and plots in Europe have been carried out by jihadists who have flocked to the Afghan-Pakistan theater to wage jihad.

For a recent example, look no further than Mohamed Merah, the French citizen who gunned down three French soldiers, three children, and a rabbi over the past two weeks before he was killed by police earlier this morning. Merah is known to have fought in Afghanistan and trained at camps in Pakistan’s Waziristan tribal agencies before returning to France. Merah used a motorcycle in his attacks. This is a tactic that is taught at terrorist training camps in Waziristan. [See LWJ report, Haqqani Network releases video of training camps, for more details.]

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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1 Comment

  • mike merlo says:

    TLWJ has consistently maintained suggested degradation of al-Qaeda by the Obama Administration ‘does not square’ with ‘the facts on the ground.’ A more than cursory look by my own accounting ‘reveals’ TLWJ to be ‘spot on.’
    With the so-called Arab Spring more than a year on accompanied by multiple front’s of varying degree’s of violence the issue of ’emigrants’/foreign fighters once again appears to poised to take near or center stage.
    The Defense Establishment & Intelligence Community continues to misdiagnose what does or doesn’t constitute a ‘defeated’ al-Qaeda. As long as the Pakistani side of the Durand Line remains in flux al-Qaeda is in play in that part of the world.
    Iraq has once again emerged as a platform & contested turf. With Mediterranean North Africa, the Sahara, Yemen & Syria having surfaced as contestable fronts the issue of a deflated al-Qaeda is without a doubt premature.

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