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The U.S. holds Al-Qaeda responsible for the deadliest terror act on U.S. soil and the killing of nearly 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001. The terror group’s influence declined significantly after 2014 with the rise of Daesh (ISIS), as fighters pledging allegiance to the competing jihadist entities battle it out in Syria.
Two operatives said to belong to the terrorist organisation have told CNN that Al-Qaeda will continue its war against the United States after Washington’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Speaking to the network via an intermediary ahead of the ten-year anniversary of the 2011 SEAL team operation to kill Osama bin Laden, and following Joe Biden’s announcement that he would pull troops out of Afghanistan after nearly two decades of war, the terrorist group said that their “war against the U.S. will be continuing on all other fronts unless they are expelled from the rest of the Islamic world.”
One of the spokesmen praised the Taliban for fighting the U.S. over the past 19 years, suggesting that “thanks to Afghans for the protection of comrades-in-arms, many such jihadi fronts have been successfully operating in different parts of the Islamic world for a long time.”
Media outlets have been unable to independently verify CNN’s claims that it spoke with the terror group, which almost never gives interviews to mainstream Western media and instead typically issues pronouncements via its own guerrilla networks or taped audio or video releases.
CNN understoof the operatives’ comments to mean that ties between al-Qaeda and the Taliban still exist, despite the latter’s commitment under the 2020 US-Taliban peace deal to prevent al-Qaeda and other terrorists from using Afghan soil “to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.”
The network’s interlocutors said in their comments that it “did not need Afghanistan and there is no such intention in the future,” while declaring the American pullout as an indication of Washington’s “defeat” in a multi-trillion-dollar war which “played a key role in hitting the US economy.”
U.S. propagandists can be so crude. As the U.S. is pretending to leave Afghanistan all of a sudden al Qaeda decides to announce that it will target the U.S. CNN says al Qaeda usually avoids public statement and "It's unclear why the group has chosen to do so now."
The operatives further said that most of al-Qaeda main fighters had been sent to Syria in recent years, where “some of them have been martyred,” though not specifying which forces were responsible for the deaths of their fighters. Most of the group’s forces are known to have battled against Syrian, Russian, Hezbollah, and Iranian forces in the country’s north and west.
The United States invaded Afghanistan in late 2001 after the Taliban refused to hand bin Ladan over to Washington, claiming the U.S. had failed to present it with evidence of bin Laden’s involvement in 9/11, and the terror leader himself initially denying responsibility. The leader claimed full responsibility for the attacks in a 2004 video.
After the invasion, the U.S. and allies began t search for bin Laden, eventually finding him in a mansion in Abbottabad, Pakistan, nearly 200 km from the Afghan border. Bin Laden was killed on 2 May 2011 during a Navy SEAL team raid, and while neither photographs nor footage of his body were publicly shown, he was reportedly dumped into the ocean after being killed.
The war in Afghanistan has cost the lives of over 100,000 Afghan civilians and security forces, nearly 72,000 Taliban fighters, 3,500 U.S. and coalition troops, and 4,000 Western mercenaries.
Syria and its allies have repeatedly accused the US-led coalition of using al-Qaeda’s Syrian fighters and other aligned terrorist groups to wage a war against the legitimate government in Damascus.