Al-Qaeda leader dispels rumors of his death — RT EN

7 Apr 2022 5:38 pm

A rare video surfaced online on Tuesday. In it, the head of al-Qaeda, Aiman ​​al-Zawahiri, praises an Indian Muslim woman named Khan, who opposed the headscarf ban in February. Rumors had previously circulated that Al-Zawahiri was very likely dead. Because he had not mentioned the takeover of the Taliban in Afghanistan in his video for the anniversary of September 11th.

A rare video surfaced online on Tuesday. Al Qaeda chief Aiman ​​al-Zawahiri praised an Indian Muslim woman named Muskan Khan. In February, she opposed a ban on the traditional hijab headscarf. The footage is the first evidence in months that the Islamist, once known as number two after Osama bin Laden, is still alive.

The headscarf ban had recently heated up the mood in India. Muslim female students demonstrated against the hijab ban in classrooms in the southern state of Karnataka.

In an earlier video released by Al-Zawahiri to mark the anniversary of 9/11, he did not discuss the Taliban’s takeover of power in Afghanistan in mid-August 2021. However, he did mention the January 1, 2021 attack that targeted Russian troops on the outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Raqqa.

“He could still be dead, but if so, that would have been sometime in or after January 2021,” had the SITE director Rita Katz tweeted after Al-Zawahiri’s 9/11 video.

Tuesday’s footage gives no clear indication of Al-Zawahiri’s whereabouts. The Islamist presented himself in the video as a holy man – wrapped in a white robe and white cloth – while the slogan “the noble woman of India” was written at the bottom.

The FBI has already offered $25 million for leads leading to Al-Zawahiri’s capture. Security circles suspect that Al-Zawahiri is in the Afghan-Pakistani border area. It is possible that Pakistan’s ISI secret service, like Osama bin Laden, had housed him in a large city in Pakistan.

The video once again raises the specter of al-Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan, and underscores concerns about involvement by the Taliban who rule there. According to the Taliban, they are fighting terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and denying them space in Afghanistan. The militia had repeatedly promised not to allow al-Qaeda cells to gain a foothold in Afghanistan. Al-Zawahiri took over as al-Qaeda leader after bin Laden was reportedly killed by the US Army in Operation Neptune Spear in 2011.

More on the subject – Twenty years after 9/11: US foreign policy shift and new world order

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