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.
In a newly released audio message, Hamza bin Laden praises his father for spreading jihadism and attacking the US. Hamza calls on Muslims to rise up against “tyrant” rulers and wage jihad until sharia is imposed. The message was posted online just days after the CIA released a video from Hamza’s wedding. The video was recovered in Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound.
Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) has released a 20-page code of conduct outlining its approach to waging jihad throughout the region. The group says its men are currently fighting “shoulder-to-shoulder” with the Taliban and calls on Muslims in the surrounding countries to pledge allegiance to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (another name for the Taliban).
A new video from the Taliban features several images and clips of al Qaeda leaders, further demonstrating that the two remain firmly allied more than 15 years after the 9/11 hijackings.
Ayman al Zawahiri has sworn allegiance to the Taliban’s new leader, Mullah Haibatullah. Zawahiri’s oath of bay’ah continues a tradition of al Qaeda’s leaders swearing their fealty to the Taliban’s top man.
Newly released documents from Osama bin Laden’s compound reveal that al Qaeda was skeptical about statements issued in Mullah Omar’s name. As of early 2010, bin Laden apparently was not communicating regularly with Omar. Letters from later that same year show, however, that bin Laden likely did begin corresponding with Omar. Bin Laden argued in one letter that the West had been weakened by the war in Afghanistan and the mujahideen simply needed to be patient.
In an interview published on the Taliban’s official English-language website, Zabihullah Mujahid admits that Mullah Omar’s family and other senior Taliban officials hid Omar’s death. The text of the interview implies that Omar died in 2013.