New Delhi, Aug 20: The first clear sign that high-profile international terror groups are sending overtures to the Taliban to expand the footprint of Global Jihad has emerged with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), praising the Afghan extremist group as role model for others.
“This victory and empowerment reveal to us that jihad and fighting represent the Sharia-based, legal, and realistic way to restore rights (and) expel the invaders and occupiers,” AQAP said in a statement.
The AQAP described democracy as a “deceptive mirage”, which has no future. The AQAP is one of the most potent wings of the Al Qaeda “international”.
“As for the game of democracy and working with simple pacifism, it is a deceptive mirage, a fleeting shadow, and a vicious circle that starts with a zero and ends with it,” said the statement carried by SITE Intelligence group-an open-source organisation that monitors terror networks worldwide.
The Al Qaeda-Taliban connection runs deep. After they captured power in in 1996, the Taliban ruled Afghanistan became a giant base for training international terrorists who would then fan out to the various parts of the globe to carry out spectacular terror attacks, including the 9/11 strike on the twin-towers in New York. The Taliban had sheltered Osama bin Laden the Al Qaeda “Amir” of the group and Ayman al Zawahiri, his right-hand man.
The US views AQAP as the most dangerous branch of Al-Qaeda’s global pantheon. Consequently, it had carried several drones strikes against AQAP leaders in Yemen, including its US educated leader, Anwar Nasser al-Awlaki.
AFP reported that on Sunday, AQAP fighters in Yemen’s central governorate of Bayda and southern province of Shabwa celebrated the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan with fireworks and by firing gunshots in the air.
The radical group has apparently taken advantage of the Yemen war, which began in 2014 to consolidate its hold in southern Yemen.