After much questioning whether al-Qaeda (AQ) would pledge to the Afghan Taliban's new leader, Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, AQ leader Ayman al-Zawahiri swore allegiance to the new chief on August 13, promising to him, "We are your soldiers and your supporters and a brigade of your brigades." This pledge, produced by AQ's as-Sahab Media Foundation and titled, "A Biography of Faithfulness," will serve as test of AQ's leadership strength and the ties to its affiliates.
Jihadists and jihadist supporters not aligned with the Islamic State (IS) condemned a recent speech by IS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-'Adnani, released on January 26, as further dividing the global jihadist movement. Along with a renewed call for lone-wolf attacks, the speech, entitled, "Say, 'Die in Your Rage!'," touted the recent pledges of various group leaders from Khorasan, the Afghanistan/Pakistan region:
As I noted in a post last week, al-Qaeda’s failure to respond to the declaration of the Caliphate by the Islamic State (IS)—formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS)—has been rather puzzling. Given the seriousness of the dispute between the two organizations and the challenge that the new state poses to al-Qaeda’s dominance of the global jihad, it would seem incumbent upon the more established group to answer the declaration in some convincing way. This week, at long last, al-Qaeda has issued a short newsletter that contains at least the beginning of a response to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s announcement.It also allows us to see that al-Qaeda might have been setting up this response over the past few weeks.