Al-Qaida backs Taliban after Obama expands war

Al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri endorsed the Afghan Taliban guerrillas, a move that may boost the group’s insurgency in Afghanistan after President Obama approved the expansion of the U.S. military’s role in the war-plagued nation.

Al-Zawahiri announced that he would “extend my pledge of allegiance” in a 14-minute online audio recording, Reuters reported on Saturday. “We’re still waiting to receive confirmation from our leadership,” Zabihullah Mujahed, the Taliban’s main spokesman, said. “If confirmed, the endorsement will deliver brightness to our spirits and strengthen our jihad against U.S. invaders.” The endorsement follows Obama’s approval for U.S. forces to target the Taliban in Afghanistan, aiding the Afghan forces in training and advising, along with joining them on the ground and in the air. Ahmad Saeedi, a former Afghan diplomat to Pakistan, said: “Al-Qaida’s endorsement will prolong the Afghan war and bolster Taliban insurgency.”

Bloomberg News