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Al Qaida leader circulates video; dispels rumor of his death

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ISLAMABAD (AP) — A uncommon video has appeared of al Qaida’s chief praising an Indian Muslim girl who in February defied a ban on hijab carrying, revealing the primary proof in years that he’s nonetheless alive.

Rumors of the demise of Ayman al-Zawahri have circulated for greater than two years, however in a video launched on Tuesday and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, the reclusive al Qaida chief praises Muskan Khan who defied a ban on the wearing of the hijab in schools in India’s southwestern state of Karnataka.

She shouted “God Is Nice” as Hindu radical college students jeered at her over the Islamic headband. In March the court in India’s Karnataka state upheld the ban, outraging civil activists and Muslim teams in India and elsewhere.

Earlier movies of Zawahri couldn’t clearly determine the time through which they have been recorded, fueling hypothesis about his deteriorating well being and even his demise.

There is no such thing as a clear indication of the situation of Zawahri from the video. He’s proven in a standard white head scarf beside a poster praising “the noble girl of India.”

Nonetheless, it raises the specter of al Qaida having a presence in Afghanistan, and highlights issues over the dedication of the ruling Taliban to combat terrorist teams and deny them house in Afghanistan.

Zawahri took over management of al Qaida after the 2011 demise of Osama bin Laden, killed by U.S. Navy SEALS throughout a daring nighttime raid deep inside Pakistan the place he was hiding. Bin Laden, who masterminded the 9/11 assaults in the USA, was discovered within the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad, barely 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the capital Islamabad.

Zawahri has been rumored to be Afghanistan’s northwestern Kunar and Badakhshan provinces on the border with Pakistan. The border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan is lined with inhospitable mountain ranges which have served as redoubts for quite a few terrorist teams within the area.

Amir Rana, govt director of the Pakistan Institute for Peace Research assume tank stated that Zawahri was additionally rumored to be in Pakistan’s southern port metropolis of Karachi, the place most of the Taliban leaders lengthy maintained properties throughout Afghanistan’s 20-year conflict.

“He was even rumored to have died in Karachi,” stated Rana, including that no matter his location, Zawahri’s video is definite to trigger complications for the ruling Taliban with the worldwide neighborhood.

Afghanistan’s Taliban have been ousted by a U.S.-led coalition in 2001 for harboring bin Laden. They returned in August final yr after a chaotic finish to the U.S. and NATO 20-year conflict in Afghanistan.

They are saying they’re adhering to an settlement they signed with the USA in 2020 — earlier than taking energy — through which they promised to combat terrorists. Since returning to energy they’ve repeatedly stated that Afghanistan wouldn’t be used as a launching pad for assaults in opposition to different nations.

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Comply with Kathy Gannon on Twitter at www:twitter.com/Kathygannon