Al-Qaida Leader Circulates Video; Dispels Rumor of His Death – The Diplomat

The Pulse | Security | South Asia

Rumors of the loss of life of Ayman al-Zawahri have persistently circulated, however a brand new video seems to dispel these rumors.

Al-Qaida Leader Circulates Video; Dispels Rumor of His Death

Osama bin Laden sits along with his adviser al-Zawahiri (proper) throughout an interview with Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir, in November 2001.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A uncommon video has appeared of al-Qaida’s chief praising an Indian Muslim lady who in February defied a ban on hijab carrying, revealing the primary proof in months that he’s nonetheless alive.

Rumors of the loss of life of Ayman al-Zawahri have persistently circulated, however in a video launched Tuesday and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, the reclusive al-Qaida chief praises Muskan Khan, who defied a ban on the carrying of the hijab in colleges in India’s southwestern state of Karnataka.

She shouted “God Is Great” as Hindu radical college students jeered at her over the Islamic scarf. In March the court docket in India’s Karnataka state upheld the ban, outraging civil activists and Muslim teams in India and elsewhere.

A earlier video of Zawahri, which circulated on the anniversary final yr of 9/11, didn’t reference the Taliban’s August takeover. It did point out the January 1, 2021 assault that focused Russian troops on the sting of the northern Syrian metropolis of Raqqa.

“He could still be dead, though if so, it would have been at some point in or after Jan 2021,” tweeted Rita Katz, SITE’s director, following Zawahri’s 9/11 anniversary video.

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From Tuesday’s video there is no such thing as a clear indication of Zawahri’s location. He is proven in a standard white head scarf beside a poster praising “the noble woman of India.”

However, it raises the specter of al-Qaida having a presence in Afghanistan, and highlights issues over the dedication of the ruling Taliban to battle terrorist teams and deny them house in Afghanistan.

Zawahri took over management of al-Qaida after the 2011 loss of life of Osama bin Laden, who was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs throughout a daring nighttime raid deep inside Pakistan the place he was hiding. Bin Laden, who masterminded the 9/11 assaults within the United States, was discovered within the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad, barely 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the capital Islamabad.

Zawahri has been rumored to be in Afghanistan’s northwestern Kunar and Badakhshan provinces on the border with Pakistan. The border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan is lined with inhospitable mountain ranges which have served as redoubts for a lot of terrorist teams within the area.

Amir Rana, government director of the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies assume tank, mentioned that Zawahri was additionally rumored to be in Pakistan’s southern port metropolis of Karachi, the place lots of the Taliban leaders lengthy maintained houses throughout Afghanistan’s 20-year warfare.

“He was even rumored to have died in Karachi,” mentioned Rana, including that no matter his location, Zawahri’s video is for certain to trigger complications for the ruling Taliban with the worldwide neighborhood.

Afghanistan’s Taliban had been ousted by a U.S.-led coalition in 2001 for harboring bin Laden. They returned to energy in August final yr after a chaotic finish to the U.S. and NATO 20-year warfare in Afghanistan.

They say they’re adhering to an settlement they signed with the United States in 2020 — earlier than taking energy — during which they promised to battle terrorists. Since returning to energy they’ve repeatedly mentioned that Afghanistan wouldn’t be used as a launching pad for assaults towards different nations.

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