Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With
After an unprecedented 11 months of silence, Ayman al-Zawahri, the emir of al-Qaida, this week issued a video message proclaiming his loyalty to the new head of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor. The almost 10-minute long message dramatically reaffirms the alliance between al-Qaida and the Taliban, a setback for efforts to bring the Taliban into a political process.
The video was released by al-Qaida's media arm As-Sahab, meaning "in the clouds" or an allusion to the jihadi symbolism that al-Qaida operates in the mountains of the Hindu Kush. According to the Pakistan newspaper Dawn, As-Sahab recently relocated its real ground game from Pakistan (where it has been operating since 2002) back to Afghanistan in Helmand province. The Afghan Taliban supported the move and provides safe haven for al-Qaida, which means 14 years after Operation Enduring Freedom began, al-Qaida is again running operations out of Afghanistan.