In December, the State Department released its annual Country Reports on Terrorism. Even though it wasn’t published until the end of 2021, the report covers only the previous calendar year. Therefore, some of the material is clearly dated, including a passage touting the supposedly “aggressive action” taken by Afghan security forces against “terrorist elements” throughout 2020. Of course, those security forces no longer exist, as the Taliban overran the entirety of Afghanistan in 2021.
The Malian government has denied that it plans to negotiate with leaders of al-Qaeda’s local affiliate, walking back an earlier statement from its religion ministry saying that it would do so.
“The Government informs the national and international public that to date, no national or international organisation has been officially mandated to carry out such an activity,” the government said in a statement published on social media on Thursday night.
The US military has killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar in a drone strike in Syria, a US Central Command spokesman said.
“The removal of this al-Qaeda senior leader will disrupt the terrorist organisation’s ability to further plot and carry out global attacks threatening US citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians,” US Army Major John Rigsbee said in a written statement late on Friday.
According to Russia’s top diplomat, the situation in Afghanistan following the establishment of a new balance of power cannot be described as stable
Last weekend marked two important dates in the history of jihadism: the 20-year anniversary of the 9/11 attack by al-Qaeda (AQ) and the start of the trial in Paris of the 13 November 2015 attacks carried out by Islamic State (IS). This article aims to take stock of the progression of AQ’s propaganda following the emergence of IS: to what extent do the two groups’ digital strategies embody their ideological differences and reflect their organisational evolution? How do they diverge? Despite the weakening of both group’s media capabilities, how has AQ’s media managed not to be overshadowed by IS’s stronger brand and more frequent propaganda machine?
On the eve of the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a new episode of Hold Your Fire! looks at the shadow cast by the “global war on terror” across South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh discuss how Islamist militants – groups like al-Qaeda and later ISIS – have fared in twenty years marked by the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, the 2011 Arab revolutions, the war in Syria and U.S. counter-terrorism operations in many other corners of the world. They talk about al-Qaeda’s recovery after losing its safe havens in Afghanistan, its vicious local branch in Iraq and its expansion through affiliates elsewhere. They also discuss how al-Qaeda’s Iraq branch exploited the Syrian war and evolved into ISIS, and the later struggle between ISIS and al-Qaeda. They take stock of where Islamist militancy stands today, with groups fighting in an increasing number of warzones across Africa and in light of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. They examine what efforts against militants look like today and some of the flaws of existing counter-terrorism policy.
The Taliban proved that they value loyalty when they rejected US and Saudi pressure to hand over Osama bin Laden no matter the cost. The Taliban have since come to appreciate al-Qaeda’s fighting skills and contributions to the Afghan jihadists’ cause, and their return to power seems good news for the Islamist terrorist group.
On May 2, 2011, a Twitter user by the name Sohaib Athar, an IT professional, awake late at night in Abbottabad, Pakistan, unknowingly tweeted at 01:28 AM local time: “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1 AM (is a rare event)”. What Sohaib at that time had not realised that he was unknowingly going to be live tweeting a raid by US SEAL Team 6 on a compound in his town, which eventually would lead to the killing of the then world’s most wanted man, Al Qaeda (AQ) chief Osama Bin Laden. Later, on the same day, then US President Barack Obama would officially announce to the world that the chief of AQ was no more.
Moussa Bourekba, investigador, CIDOB
Al Qaeda ha sobrevivido a la llamada guerra contra el terror. Una década después del asesinato de Osama Bin Laden y dos décadas después del 11-S, la organización sigue activa y operando como una red global descentralizada.