Al-Qaeda Surging Again Nearly A Year After Biden’s Afghanistan Withdrawal
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 20: U.S. President Joe Biden departs the Oval Office and walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House July 20, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda is surging again, thanks in part to the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, Voice of America reported that al-Qaeda is now better positioned than the Islamic State to spread propaganda and recruit members since President Joe Biden withdrew American troops from the country in 2021, according to a United Nations report. The report, released on July 15, claims that high-ranking Al-Qaeda officials are bolstered by the Taliban’s dominance in the Middle Eastern nation.

“Al-Qaida senior leadership enjoyed a more settled period in early 2022,” the U.N. said in the report. “Aiman Muhammed Rabi al-Zawahiri issued regular video messages that provided almost current proof of life. Member States note that al-Zawahiri’s apparent increased comfort and ability to communicate has coincided with the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan and the consolidation of power of key Al-Qaida allies within their de facto administration.”

However, the U.N. also speculates that — for now — al-Qaeda does not present a global threat.

“Al-Qaida is not viewed as posing an immediate international threat from its safe haven in Afghanistan because it lacks an external operational capability and does not currently wish to cause the Taliban international difficulty or embarrassment,” the report added.

Still, though, the group is able to expand its recruiting and communications capability.

“The international context is favorable to al-Qaida, which intends to be recognized again as the leader of global jihad,” the U.N. added.

“Al-Qaida propaganda is now better developed to compete with ISIL as the key actor in inspiring the international threat environment, and it may ultimately become a greater source of directed threat,” the report added.

It also noted that the Islamic State “has suffered a rapid succession of leadership losses since October 2019, with an as yet unknown impact on its operational health.”

In August 2021, President Biden withdrew U.S. troops from Afghanistan after more than 20 years of fighting. Within three days, the Taliban took over the nation after the Afghan government fell. Biden claimed that intelligence officials did not know that the Taliban would take over as quickly as it did.

One expert at the American Enterprise Insitute (AEI) told VOA News that al-Qaeda’s leadership is just as experienced as Osama bin Laden and previous terrorists who directed the 9/11 attacks.

“Even after 20 years, some of al-Qaida’s most senior operatives remain at large and are ready to carry on the mantle of jihad,” AEI’s Katherine Zimmerman told the media outlet.

“Al-Qaida’s bench remains deep even after serious attrition,” she added. “The next generation has now been fighting for 20 years … they are just as experienced (and perhaps with lessons-learned) as OBL [Osama bin Laden], Zawahiri, and Saif al Adel were on 9/11.”

Now, sources from the National Security Council (NSC) recently told NBC News that the Biden administration’s goal is to avoid doing anything “stupid” before, during, and after the August anniversary.

As the one-year mark approaches, officials across the administration have searched and filtered through calendars of all top officials to weed out any events or engagements that could be misconstrued as “tone deaf” about the botched foreign policy strategy, according to NBC News.

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