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.
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.
During the last months of his life, Osama bin Laden worried about the fate of his son, Hamzah. In a newly-released audio message, Hamzah picks up his father’s banner.
The Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb commemorate Mullah Omar’s jihadist career in a joint statement. The al Qaeda branches highlight Omar’s decision to harbor Osama bin Laden, even as the international community demanded that the Taliban turn him over.
On August 1, Ahrar al Sham released a statement honoring Mullah Omar, the Taliban’s first leader. The statement is further evidence that Ahrar al Sham is an extremist organization.
The Taliban’s new emir is Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour. His top two deputies are Moulavi Haibatullah Akhunzada and Siraj Haqqani. Both Mansour and Haqqani are allied with al Qaeda.
The Taliban’s spokesman has confirmed that Mullah Omar, the so-called “Emir of the Faithful,” is dead.
The Taliban has released a new statement attributed to Mullah Omar saying that his men have been ordered to “forcefully prevent” anyone from sowing dissent in the jihadists’ ranks in Afghanistan. Although the statement doesn’t mention the Islamic State or its followers by name, the Taliban clearly has Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s organization in mind.
In late May, the Islamic State’s so-called “Khorasan province” released a video threatening the Taliban. Multiple press reports say the two sides have repeatedly fought one another since the beginning of the year. Still, the Islamic State’s presence in the region is likely much smaller than the network operated by the Taliban, al Qaeda, and their allies.
The Afghan Taliban has released a statement condemning the Pakistani Taliban’s attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar.
Both the Taliban and Junood al Fida, a jihadist group loyal to the Taliban and al Qaeda, have claimed that the Registan district in the southern Kandahar province has fallen to the jihadists. Afghan officials quickly denied the claim as “exaggerated.”
A Twitter user known as “Shaybat al Hukama” tweeted, and then quickly deleted, his explanation of al Qaeda’s relationship with the Taliban. Al Hukama appears to be well-connected to al Qaeda media operatives and leaders.
Mullah Omar discusses the Taliban’s governance efforts at length in a message commemorating the end of Ramadan.
Two court decisions provide insights into the career of Khairullah Khairkhwa, who is one of the five senior Taliban leaders recently transferred to Qatar in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
In addition to a statement from Mullah Omar, the Taliban has posted pictures of the Taliban commanders released from Guantanamo. The pictures show the jihadist leaders being greeted by their supporters and families in Qatar.
In a decision released on Thursday, a DC district court denied Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The court cited Khairkhwa’s clandestine meetings with Iranian officials, among other evidence.
Abdul Rauf Khadim, a former Gitmo detainee, sent a handwritten note threatening Afghan tribal elders who cooperate with Coalition forces and the Afghan government. Khadim is one of two former Gitmo detainees who are part of Mullah Omar’s inner circle.
Mullah Omar has ordered his Taliban forces to capture or kill Afghan civilians, including women, who cooperate with Coalition forces. Omar’s order directly contradicts the Taliban’s 2009 Code of Conduct, which called for limiting civilian casualties.