Al-Qaeda South Asia branch praises Taliban 'victory'
Abdul Sayed, an independent researcher and Afghanistan analyst, tweeted a screenshot of the statement that was later reported by The Washington Post.
It congratulated the group on its military victory against the US, describing it as a "highly sacred moment" for Muslims around the world.
It comes after a statement by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) vowed that the victory would be the "first of back-to-back victories", raising fears that the Taliban's grip on Afghanistan will embolden transnational extremist groups to carry out attacks across the world.
"This is a message for the Muslims across the world to rise up, stand up and come out for jihad against the invaders, which is the only way to defend ourselves," the statement reads, according to a translation by the Post.
"We can't win through the Western-backed democratic process, but should stand up in the field against these invaders."
The AQ South Asian franchise AQIS issued a statement congratulating the 🇦🇫Taliban on its great military victory against the US with prayers that it also remains successful in the next step of Shariah implementation & becoming a center for supporting the global Muslim community. pic.twitter.com/sP0T6toijt— Ab. Sayed ترمذی سادات (@abdsayedd) August 23, 2021
At least two other Al-Qaeda affiliates published their own statements of congratulations on Monday - the Al-Qaeda linked news agency Global Media Islamic Front (GMIF) and Al-Qaeda’s branch in the Sahel region of Africa (JNIM).
GMIF’s statement specifically hailed the "jihad" of the "Islamic Emirate", another name for the Taliban, while JNIM did not mention the group by name.
The outpouring of support from Al-Qaeda - whose presence in Afghanistan prompted the US to invade the country after 9/11 - began with a statement by AQAP on Friday.
"Two decades of holy struggle, steadfastness and resolute fighting against the Christian West and global infidel forces is [a victory] crowned by complete control over Afghanistan and the defeat of America," the widely-shared statement by AQAP read.
In a recent interview with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hadath TV, Taliban spokesman Mohammed Naeem denied Al-Qaeda had a presence in Afghanistan and rejected any official relations with the Taliban, while acknowledging the existence of "family ties".