In a statement released on May 9, Taliban emir Hibatullah (Haibatullah) Akhunzada boasts that security under his Islamic Emirate is exceptional. He again offers amnesty to the enemies of his group. He demands that the U.S. free the remaining Taliban prisoners and remove the group’s leaders from sanctions and rewards lists.
Al-Qaeda’s general command has released a three-page statement celebrating the U.S.-Taliban withdrawal agreement as a “victory” for the Taliban. Al-Qaeda calls on Afghans and the mujahideen to bolster the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
A Taliban video eulogy for Jalaluddin Haqqani includes praise from three jihadists based in the UK and Syria: Hani al-Sibai, Dr. Abdullah al-Muhaysini and Sheikh Muslih al-Ulyani. Sibai is a well-known, pro-al Qaeda ideologue living in the UK. Muhaysini is a US-designated terrorist. Both Muhaysini and Ulyani operate in Syria.
The Trump administration is desperately trying to negotiate with the Taliban’s senior leadership. The Obama administration did as well, with the effort ending in a diplomatic fiasco.
Since late April, Shabaab has released a series of videos emphasizing its place in al Qaeda’s global network. Two of the videos were recorded by the group’s emir, Abu Ubaydah Ahmad Umar, a normally reclusive figure. Abu Ubaydah refers to the Taliban’s emir as the “Commander of the Faithful” and Ayman al Zawahiri as the “father-emir” while addressing the mujahideen in Syria and Yemen.
The Taliban released a statement attributed to its emir, Hibatullah Akhundzada, who says that “peace” is only possible if the “occupation” is ended. The statement is entirely self-serving and contains absurd claims. For example, Akhundzada writes that the Taliban wants a “free, independent and progressive Afghanistan,” which is completely inconsistent with the group’s ideology and history.