What is the “geography of al-Qaeda” after the assassination of the organization’s leader in Afghanistan?

What is the “geography of al-Qaeda” after the assassination of the organization’s leader in Afghanistan?

Experts: Activity Declines and Relies on “Lone Wolves”


Wednesday – 6 Muharram 1444 AH – 03 August 2022 AD


Ayman al-Zawahiri (Reuters)

Cairo: Walid Abdel Rahman

The killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has raised several questions about the organization’s future after the man’s departure, particularly regarding its geographic spread and how it manages its operations and expansion. According to specialists in fundamentalist affairs, “Al-Zawahiri’s assassination will not affect the organization’s plans or activities in the future.” They added that “Al-Qaeda depends on a decentralized working style, and the weapons have their own strategy.”
Al-Zawahiri was killed in a US raid in Afghanistan last Saturday, in the biggest blow to the terrorist organization since the killing of its founder Osama bin Laden in 2011.
Ahmed Sultan, a specialist in the affairs of fundamentalist movements in Egypt, said: “Al-Zawahiri’s death is a defeat or a moral setback for al-Qaeda, but it will not affect the organization’s plans or activities in the future because al-Zawahiri was not in contact with al-Qaeda leaders or their day-to-day activities, and the evidence on that was the private correspondence of (al-Qaeda) to its foreign branches.”
He added to Asharq Al-Awsat that “there is a message from Abd al-Rahim Atwan, the general legislator of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, in which he expressly stated that for more than a year al-Zawahiri is withheld from communicating under the pretext of security reasons, and (al-Qaeda) leaders in Iran, especially Saif al-Adl, communicate with branches of (al-Qaeda) externally, and it is very clear when a structural split in the branch (Yemeni) took place Al-Qaeda), where Abu Omar Al-Nahdi and his group defected and sent a message to Ayman Al-Zawahiri to resolve the dispute between them and Khaled Batarfi Amir (Al-Qaeda in Yemen) But al-Zawahiri, despite the passage of more than two years since the letter, did not respond to them.”
Sultan also estimates that “what happened to al-Zawahiri was controlled by the leaders of (al-Qaeda) in Iran, and it was noted in the visual releases of al-Zawahiri. He was new and did not give any directions, and he seemed to be in semi-isolation during his stay in Kabul or outside Kabul, and he was engaged in theorizing, and the theories were weak in acknowledging the failure of (Al-Qaeda).
Al-Zawahiri appeared in an audio recording broadcast by the Al-Sahab Foundation, the media arm of Al-Qaeda, in mid-July last year. He pointed out that “(Al-Qaeda) does not recognize (ISIS)”, as he said: “We have nothing but direction on the external weapons.”
Sultan believes that “these weapons have their own strategy, which contradicts the central organization. The central organization focuses on the distant enemy, America and the West; while the weapons focus on the near enemy, which is the governments.” Al-Qaeda-affiliated (Somali Al-Shabab) movement focuses its attacks on the Somali government and on some African sites, while the Yemen branch has stumbled, while the Indian Peninsula branch has since been almost in a state of (clinical) were dead. 2019 and are unable to carry out simple attacks. In Syria, the Guardians of Religion Organization is now affiliated with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which was a branch of al-Qaeda. The most active branch of Al-Qaeda or its former elements currently in Mali or the Sahara is (Jama’a Support Islam and Muslims), and it is linked to the so-called Islamic Maghreb base, and rejects the approach of Al-Qaeda, and offers political dialogue with the government, which reveals the failure of thought (Al-Qaeda).
Sultan pointed out that “there is an important sign, namely that the leadership of the Central Organization in Khurasan has asked al-Qaeda operatives and cadres in Syria to move to Afghanistan, and this information has been confirmed in the latest Security Council- report on al-Qaeda’s activities last month.” He explained that “(Al-Qaeda) is a coordinating framework for the jihadist weapons, and there is a committee of (Al-Qaeda) called (the Hittin Committee), which is a branch of the (Al-Qaeda (Al-Zawahiri’s son-in-law), Ahmed Diri Abu Ubaidah (Emir of the Somali Youth Movement), and Abu Hammam Al-Shami (Emir of the Guardians of Religion Organization). This committee does not continuously communicate between they do not, and it gives general directions, but each branch continues according to its vision … Al-Qaeda has become a name A year for the organization that depends on decentralization, especially the Mali branch and the (Al- Shabab) movement, whose last attack was a few days ago on the headquarters of the Ethiopian forces.
At the end of last July, Al-Qaeda’s branch in Mali claimed responsibility for an attack on a major military base in the country. And last May, the “National Support of Islam and Muslims” group claimed responsibility for the attack that killed eight Togolese soldiers in northern Togo. And last April, al-Qaeda in Yemen announced the execution of the smuggling of 10 prisoners of its members from the central prison in the city of Sayun. In the same month, al-Qaeda’s branch in Mali announced its claim that 6 soldiers were killed and 20 wounded in 3 attacks. Last March, al-Qaeda in Yemen claimed responsibility for targeting the commander of the security belt in Abyan province, Abdul Latif al-Sayed, with a car bomb.
Sultan, for his part, confirmed that “Al-Qaeda’s media is betting on (lone wolves) or local jihadists, offering a financial reward to anyone who carries out any attack, even with any available weapon. Despite this, this offer received no response, and it reveals the extent of the crisis in the organization, as (al-Qaeda) tries to rebuild its networks so that it can launch attacks in the future. But the latest Security Council report indicated that “the organization is incapable of launching attacks.”
And about the presence of pockets of «Al-Qaeda» in Afghanistan. Sultan said, “Al-Qaeda has a historical presence in the Afghan-Pakistani border areas, specifically in the areas from Zabul to Kunar province in the south, and eventually (al-Qaeda) started trying to move elements to western Afghanistan. transfer the border with Iran, specifically the provinces of Hirat and Farah, and there is talk of the presence of some (Al-Qaeda) cadres, such as Abu Ikhlas Al-Masri, who was the leader of the organization in Konar, and Abdul Hakim Al-Masri, who is in Konar, adds: “We are facing a real presence of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, in cooperation with the Haqqani network.” However, not all the Taliban welcome this relationship . The Taliban still refuse to allow Saif al-Adl to move to Afghanistan after al-Zawahiri’s murder, for fear of harming their interests and provoking the international community.”


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