ISKP Video Criticizes Doha Agreement, Mocks Death of Zawahiri, Urges Al-Qaeda and Taliban Members to Join Islamic State
On September 22, the Islamic State Khurasan Province’s (ISKP) al-Azaim Foundation for Media Production released a video titled “Yes! So Was the Agreement!”. The video discusses the Doha Agreement and the death of al-Qaeda (AQ) leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. ISKP also urges Taliban and AQ members to join the Islamic State. The video was previously promoted in the 14th issue of the Voice of Khurasan magazine. On the last page of that issue, an image of the video was featured, with the words “Coming soon”.
The video opens with different images of high-ranking Taliban members criticizing the Islamic State. The Islamic State aims to portray the Taliban as an ally to the US, China, and Pakistan, among other countries. As evidence, they show photos of the Taliban members meeting with diplomats of these countries. They show photos from the meeting on the Doha Agreement, splicing in shots of former US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, from February 29th, 2020. In a black-and-white video clip, Pompeo pleads with the Taliban to “keep their promises” which includes cutting ties with al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations and continuing to fight against the Islamic State (IS). It then goes to show a top cleric of the Taliban warning terrorist organizations not to use Afghanistan as a launch pad for attacks against other countries, “especially America”. A Taliban cleric warns that IS will not be allowed to carry out operations from the new Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The same cleric, in an older video taken before the US withdrawal, includes comments on the Taliban wanting the Americans to withdraw, but also wanting to “be friends with the US in the future, so shall they return to Afghanistan and work with them, they will have a part in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.” Throughout the video, images of the new Taliban armed forces are shown, as well as more Taliban high ranking members such as clerics and political leaders. The video proceeds to show a drone, a man pressing a button, al-Zawahiri's image, and the aftermath of the house where he was killed.
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The video’s title then appears in bold lettering: “Yes! So Was the Agreement”. More images of the new rulers marching through Afghanistan are shown, and the narrator says that pretending to rule under Islam is no longer enough to fool the Islamic State. They say that the best examples of this are the “Taliban Murtadin”, or apostates, who no longer fool them. While showing images of the Taliban leaders greeting diplomats of different countries, like China, they accuse them of feeling proud of “befriending infidels” and changing their religion. According to ISKP, the Taliban work “day and night” to protect infidel interests.
The video then turns to the US drone strike in Sherpur, Kabul, that killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. ISKP says that, at first, the Taliban claimed the strike was a missile fired from the ground. They accuse the Taliban of initially denying it was a drone strike, and trying to hide it, although adding that they failed. According to al-Azaim, this failure to conceal the truth was due to the US putting obstacles in the way of different groups of the Taliban to know the truth, in order to divide and control them. Some Taliban branches said one thing, and others said another regarding the attack.
ISKP accuses Dr. Naeem, the Taliban spokesman based in Qatar—a country they describe as the “US largest intelligence base”—of defending the drone strike that killed al-Zawahiri. This latest video shows footage of the cleric in an interview explaining a clause in the Doha Agreement that indicates the right of any side to defend themselves against any danger, only in self-defense. When asked if “Biden gave the US forces green light to launch attacks inside Afghanistan against ISIS,” Dr. Naeem answers that any country can defend itself against any confirmed threats “at the instant and at any time”.
Showing images of the Biden cabinet during the drone strike and Biden announcing al-Zawahiri's death, the narrator mockingly asserts that “the American masters of Dr. Naeem” announced the drone strike in a press conference while the cleric was taking selfies with women.
As ISKP sees it, the drone strike that killed al-Zawahiri succeeded only with the assistance of the Taliban and was ordered by the Pakistani ISI. The group described the deceased al-Qaeda leader as loyal to the Taliban. They further claim that al-Zawahiri was executing the orders of the Pakistani intelligence services but may not have followed some other instructions recently. Because of this, he was transferred to Kabul, effectively ensuring his death.
ISKP states that the drone strike is a warning to those who are loyal to the Taliban and that this will be their fate shall they fail to follow the instructions of the Pakistani ISI. Quoting Dr. Naeem himself, the Islamic State mentions that the Taliban has made an agreement with America that anyone standing against the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will be killed.
ISKP then turns to recruitment propaganda, inviting all those organizations and individuals that have pledged allegiance to the Taliban to instead join the Caliphate, describing this as a “golden opportunity,” warning that the Taliban will sell them out as victims of the Doha Agreement. They state that their fate will not be different from the one of Zawahiri, while the Taliban continue to “fill the pages of history with chapters of shame and betrayal.”
The video closes with the narrator asking if the Taliban have any shame at all, saying the Taliban have betrayed “the religion of Allah,” and warning them to “watch out,” since more humiliation will continue to fall on them.