The head of the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), Abdul Haq al-Turkistani, has called on jihadist “scholars” to do more to address the plight of Uighurs. Al-Turkistani addresses his message to Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhunzada, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and a number of al Qaeda ideologues.
Despite repeated claims to the contrary, al Qaeda has not been defeated in Afghanistan, and it still continues to operate alongside its ally, the Taliban.
If the current pace of strikes continues, the US will strike Shabaab 130 times in 2019. Is this a prelude to disengagement?
According to the UN’s Jan. 2019 assessment, al Qaeda’s relationship with the Taliban is “long-standing” and “strong.” And al Qaeda “continues to see Afghanistan as a safe haven for its leadership.” The UN estimates that the Islamic State has several thousand fighters in Afghanistan as well.
The State Department announced today that it is offering a $1 million reward for information on Hamza bin Laden’s whereabouts. Hamza is the genetic and ideological heir of al Qaeda’s founder and he has been groomed for a leadership position within the organization.
The two latest strikes took place in a town where Shabaab is dominant. The US air campaign against Shabaab continues to intensify and is on pace to quickly outstrip last year’s strike total.
In a message released on Feb. 5, al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri harshly criticizes the jihadists in Syria. He says they are engaged in a misguided “competition” for “imagined authority” over territory that is under the oversight “of secular Turkish checkpoints.”
The Taliban claims it does “not allow anyone to use the soil of Afghanistan against other countries including neighboring countries.” Some have uncritically accepted this claim. But it is obviously false.