In a video message, Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahiri said that "Qaedat al-Jihad" will help the terrorist organization expand into India, Burma, and Bangladesh. Al Zawahiri said that the new offshoot will be led by Pakistani militant Asim Umar.
This entity was not established today but is the fruit of a blessed effort of more than two years to gather the mujahedeen in the Indian sub-continent into a single entity" Al Zawahiri said in a video obtained by the terrorist monitoring group, the SITE.
In the 55-minute video released by the organization's propaganda arm, Al Zawahiri pledged the terrorist group's continued allegiance to Taliban leader Mullah Omar. According to Reuters support for Omar was "an apparent snub to the Islamic State," which was disavowed by Al-Qaeda for its brutal fighting against Sunnis in Syria. The Islamic State originally sprung out of what used to be called "Al-Qaeda in Iraq."
Counter-terrorism experts told Reuters that the latest move by Al-Qaeda could be a direct effort to compete with the Islamic State by attracting new, younger recruits. ISIL's rapid expansion has relied heavily on their ability to lure impressionable, young, muslims through social media techniques and violent propaganda videos. The recent beheadings of two American journalists were released on Twitter.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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