Al-Qaeda leader urges supporters to migrate to Afghanistan for training

By Emran

A militant stands before an image of Osama bin Laden, the late leader of al-Qaeda, in Rada, Yemen, January 21, 2012. [AFP Photo/STR]

A militant stands before an image of Osama bin Laden, the late leader of al-Qaeda, in Rada, Yemen, January 21, 2012. [AFP Photo/STR]

KABUL -- Saif al-Adel, al-Qaeda's purported current leader, urged supporters around the world to migrate to Afghanistan for training, the Long War Journal reported June 8.

Al-Adel, using the pseudonym Salim al-Sharif, urged his followers to go to Afghanistan and learn from conditions there, according to the Long War Journal, which cited the latest pamphlet released by al-Qaeda.

"The loyal people of the Ummah interested in change must go to Afghanistan, learn from its conditions, and benefit from their [the current Afghan rulers'] experience," al-Adel wrote.

This invitation is the clearest call since 2021 for foreigners to join al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Al-Adel, who assumed leadership of al-Qaeda after the death of Ayman al-Zawahiri, is said to be in Iran.

Al-Zawahiri was killed in a US drone strike in Kabul in 2022.

A warning to all

Zarif Hamta, a civil society activist in Badghis province, expressed concern, warning that thousands of terrorists could enter the country soon.

"The al-Qaeda network is turning our country into its safe haven again. Without a doubt ... a large number of foreign terrorists will come to Afghanistan," Hamta said.

"Al-Qaeda-affiliated fighters pose a serious threat to Afghanistan and the world. We do not want our country to become a place for training or activities of terrorist groups," he added.

Farhad Azizi, a resident of Herat city, expressed shock.

"I am deeply worried ... and don't know what bad events may occur in our country."

"It appears that the number of terrorist groups in Afghanistan is increasing day by day. We are already very concerned about the activities of Daesh [the 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria'], but now it seems that al-Qaeda is becoming a growing threat too," he said.

Abdul Qadeer Khadem, a military analyst in Farah province, described the al-Qaeda leader's invitation as an alarm bell for global security.

"The 9/11 attacks ... were planned in Afghanistan," he said.

"If al-Qaeda returns ... the network may organize and execute even bloodier and more-dangerous attacks."

While al-Qaeda has already established training camps in some provinces over the past three years, al-Adel's request confirms its significant presence in Afghanistan, said Sayed Ashraf Sadaat, a civil society activist based in Sweden.

"The presence and activities of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan have become a real threat to the world. If these threats are ignored, al-Qaeda will ... target Western countries and US allies in the region," Sadaat said.

These concerns were echoed by Ahmad Zia Saraj, former director of Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security, when he warned in an interview with the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point that al-Qaeda is striving to turn Afghanistan into a hub for organizing attacks on other countries.

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This is just a propaganda. Afghanistan never tries to interfere in the affairs of other countries and that people from other countries cannot spend time among Afghans because they can be known easily. This propaganda is an attempt to sabotage the Doha conference.