Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is released a message publicly pledging allegiance to the newly appointed Taliban leader Mullah Akhundzada, a religious scholar who succeeded Mullah Mansour in late May as the leader of the Afghan insurgency.
Zawahiri vowed to dedicate his fighters to “liberate every inch of the lands of the Muslims,” not just in Afghanistan, but across the world in the video. The comments were seen by some as an attempt to forestall growing ISIS influence in Afghanistan by publicly aligning with their chief rival.
ISIS has been recruiting across Afghanistan for over a year now, and has a presence around Jalalabad. Their recruitment aims to take away Islamists that usually would join the Taliban, and they have fought against the Taliban over territory on several occasions.
Reports also claim ISIS is increasingly cozying up to Akhundzada’s primary rival, Mullah Rasool. This is noteworthy not just as a sign that ISIS is trying to take advantage of the Taliban’s contested leadership, but because the CIA-backed Afghan government spy agency is also backing Rasool, meaning ISIS sees an opportunity to piggyback of this effort for its own gain.
Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz
- Syrian Rebels Began Evacuating Golan for North - July 20th, 2018
- Syrian, Russian Warplanes Kill 26 Civilians in Strikes on Southern ISIS Towns - July 20th, 2018
- US Urges Strict UN Sanctions on North Korea Until Denuclearization Finished - July 20th, 2018
- Merkel: Europe Can't Rely on US to Impose World Order - July 20th, 2018
- Israel, Hamas Reach Another Ceasefire After Five Killed in Friday Clashes - July 20th, 2018