Al Qaeda Calls on Fighters To Return to Afghanistan To Create a Terrorist Safe Haven Once Again

The jihadists may be planning an attack on Western soil, a national security expert tells the Sun.

AP/Ebrahim Noroozi
Taliban fighters celebrate one year since the fall of Kabul, in front of the American Embassy, August 15, 2022. AP/Ebrahim Noroozi

The de facto leader of Al Qaeda, Sayf Al-Adl, is calling on jihadists across the globe to travel to Afghanistan, marking an effort to re-establish the country as a safe haven for the terrorist group.

“The loyal people of the Ummah,” the global Islamic community, “interested in change must go to Afghanistan, learn from its conditions, and benefit from” the Taliban’s experience, Adl said in a pamphlet titled, “This is Gaza: A War of Existence, Not of Borders.”

This is a call for fighters to train in Afghanistan before launching attacks on “Zionists” and the West, according to the Long War Journal.

“This is incredibly important. Many will heed the call” and make the pilgrimage, the director of the Allison Center for National Security at the Heritage Foundation, Robert Greenway, tells the Sun. 

“Sayf al-Adl’s call is for members of this group to coalesce, to prepare themselves for attacks around the globe,” the head of foreign relations for an Afghan insurgent group, the National Resistance Front, Ali Maisam Nazary, tells the Sun. 

The war in Gaza provides but a pretext for Adl’s remarks. “The continuation of the genocide” in Gaza “calls for the Islamic peoples to strike all Zionist interests in all Islamic lands,” Adl said.

The proper “reaction to the enemies’ crimes is with action, not with words,” Adl said. “This strike must be a painful one.” 

“I wouldn’t discount that as a possibility,” Mr. Greenway, when asked whether this means Al Qaeda is planning an attack on Western soil, says. “They now have territory again … a base of operations.”

Al Qaeda directly translates to English as “the base.”

Adl says that Muslims should view the Taliban as a role model for creating more Islamic states. Muslims living in the West, he adds, must flee to Afghanistan to escape “being in the crossfire” and are encouraged to financially support the Taliban.

Despite the Taliban’s vow not to give space to Al Qaeda after America’s withdrawal in August 2021, it appears Afghanistan is once again a safe haven for the terrorist group responsible for the terrorism of 9/11.

Al Qaeda is “preparing and planning large attacks against many regional and global powers in the years to come,” Mr. Nazary tells the Sun. 

Al Qaeda now operates training camps in 10 of the 34 Afghanistan provinces. New weapons stockpiles and bases from which to launch operations have proliferated since America removed its military presence and left behind its military equipment. 

Al Qaeda has also developed its technological capacity with the use of drones, according to a United Nations Security Council report released in January. That report stated that Al Qaeda presents a threat to the region, and perhaps further, “but cannot project sophisticated attacks at long range.”

Although the Taliban tries to cover it up, its relationship with Al Qaeda is flourishing. The Taliban, though, is not the only government supporting Al Qaeda. 

Safe houses facilitate movement between Afghanistan and Iran, and senior Al Qaeda leaders have been operating from Iran for years, including Adl. The relationship between the Islamic Republic and Al Qaeda dates back to the 1990s, when the terrorist organization received training from Iranian intelligence operatives.

Although they differ with their Sunni and Shia bona fides, both Al Qaeda and the Islamic Republic share a common goal in undermining American and Saudi Arabian interests.

Does the latest development spell the demise of resistance operations to the Taliban and Al Qaeda?

“Quite the opposite,” Mr. Greenway replies, adding that resistance groups will find greater support given the heightened security threat. 

“The National Resistance Front has been fighting all 21 terrorist groups,” Mr. Nazary said. “This resistance against international and regional terrorism is going to continue as long as they exist in Afghanistan and threaten us.”

This may backfire, as Afghanistan sees an “increasing devolution in the security environment. The worse things get, the better for Al Qaeda,” Mr. Greenway said.

Americans “ought to be indignant about this,” Mr. Greenway tells the Sun. “This is the inevitable consequence” of America’s 2021 withdrawal and years of “bad policies.”

“Someone is going to have to go back there and address this problem,” Mr. Greenway said. “Risk is increasing,” and so is the “likelihood of a group conducting an attack.”

“We believe this is a battle that should not only be fought by us,” Mr. Nazary told the Sun. “Anyone who perceives terrorism as a threat should support and assist the National Resistance Front in its struggle against international terrorism.”

“These criminals must be confronted on the battlefield, not entertained in luxurious palaces and hotels,” he posted on X.

The New York Sun

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