Al Qaeda Still Fiddling

An excerpt from a testimony, on May 20, 2014, to the U.S. House Committee of Foreign Affairs


The Long War Journal

May 20, 2014


Al Qaeda is still operating in Afghanistan today. Al Qaeda’s leader in the Kunar and Nuristan provinces is Farouq al Qahtani. It is well-known that al Qahtani leads al Qaeda’s forces and works with the group’s allies in these remote areas. But al Qaeda operates outside of Kunar and Nuristan as well. Indeed, one of the documents captured in Osama bin Laden’s compound and released to the public shows that the al Qaeda master ordered some of his subordinates to relocate from northern Pakistan to Ghazni and Zabul, as well as Kunar and Nuristan.

One way al Qaeda operates in Afghanistan today is through the Lashkar al Zil, or Shadow Army, which is al Qaeda’s primary paramiliatry force in the region.  As the name implies, al Qaeda is trying to hide the extent of its influence over this group as well as over other allied groups. This makes it difficult to assess the full scope of al Qaeda’s operations inside Afghanistan today. Still, consistent reporting shows that al Qaeda’s commanders and fighters are pooling their resources with other organizations. Al Qaeda also operates an electronics workshop, headquartered in Pakistan (of course), that develops improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other weapons for use in Afghanistan…



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