Osama bin Laden’s declarations of war against the United States prior to 9/11 are viewed quite differently in hindsight than they were in the 1990s, when they were delivered with little notice in the West.
Now, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, known as AQAP, has released a video boasting about the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan and vowing another attack on the scale of 9/11 but even “more painful.”
The video, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI, is titled “A Message to the American People: You Have Yet to Understand the Lesson.” It features Ibrahim Al-Qousi, a former prisoner at the U.S. facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Al-Qousi said, regarding the disastrous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, that “the greatest loss America suffered, besides its material and human losses, is its reputation and prestige as a superpower and the most powerful country in the world.”
The Taliban won a “magnificent victory, he said, for they “have understood the essence of this religion and the nature of the conflict … they are men whose hands — by the grace of Allah alone — buried a third empire in the soil of Afghanistan and restored the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to rule by the shari’a of Allah, even if America and its allies hate it.”
‘A weak horse’
Islam expert Robert Spencer, the director of Jihad Watch and a fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, commented that if “there is anything that the State and Defense Departments did not or would not understand, it was the role that religion played in the conflict.”
“Foreign policy experts for years dismissed statements akin to Al-Qousi’s declaration that victory was won in Afghanistan ‘by the grace of Allah alone’ as mere boilerplate, not realizing that for the Taliban, it was the essence of the entire war,” Spencer wrote in a column for PJ Media.
“That’s why they’re in power today in Kabul, thumping their chests over having defeated the United States.”
Spencer recalled bin Laden’s famous quip that when “people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse.”
Apparently, Spencer said, al-Qaida has noticed that America under Biden “is decidedly a weak horse.”
In the video, Al-Qousi ridiculed President Biden’s claim that the U.S. “succeeded and achieved the goals for which the war was launched,” the killing of bin Laden and the assurance that Afghanistan “will not be a base from which jihadi groups threaten the security of America and its allies.”
Al-Qousi asked: “Was it really worth America paying these heavy costs to achieve these two goals? Could America not have achieved these by any other way to avoid such significant losses?”
‘The first thing we are calling you to is Islam’
Spencer observed that “if the ideology of the enemy had been recognized from the beginning, the entire conflict might have been framed in a vastly different way.”
Al-Qousi said Biden apparently didn’t learn the lesson of America’s experience in Afghanistan, advising that Americans “refer to the repeated speeches and messages of Sheikh Osama bin Laden.”
The al-Qaida jihadi quotes bin Laden decrying U.S. support for Israel, but Spencer warned that those “who think America can end the jihad by abandoning its Middle East ally are naïve.”
Al-Qousi doesn’t mention, Spencer noted, that in his 2002 letter to America, bin Laden declared, “The first thing we are calling you to is Islam.”
As long as America does not submit to Islam, the jihad will continue, Spencer said.
‘Not a carbon copy of the 9/11 attacks’
Now, Al-Qousi is warning Americans: “Your security is still at risk as long as you do not comprehend the lesson and as long as you do not act to remove the reasons for which the September 11 events took place.”
“O Americans, let it be known to you that the mujahideen today are not limited to borders and that they can move from any part of the world to execute what they wish to deter your oppression. Every Muslim on the face of earth is in fact an enterprising mujahid,” Al-Qousi said.
He vowed that the upcoming jihad attack “will not be a carbon copy of the 9/11 attacks” but they could be even “more painful.”
“The days and nights will not pass until we take revenge like we did on 11th of September, Allah permitting,” he said.