The former US special representative for the reconciliation in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, said that Iran “would be the centre of Al-Qaeda,” impacting Iran’s ties with the rest of the world.
In an interview with Tolonews, Khalilzad said Iran would serve as the group’s centre more than anywhere else.
“Once Afghanistan was a centre for Al-Qaeda, but Al-Qaeda has changed, and its small groups have become a network in various world areas. However, if any centre exists, it should be Iran,” he said.
Earlier, he also wrote on his tweeter that Iran had increased its reliance on terror groups against its opponents at home and abroad.
Meanwhile, the US State Department said in February that Said al-Adel, an Iran-based Egyptian, has become the head of Al-Qaeda following the July 2022 death of Ayman al-Zawahiri.
“Our assessment aligns with that of the UN – that Al-Qaeda’s new de facto leader Saif al-Adel is based in Iran,” a state department spokesperson said.
Despite this, the group has not formally declared him “emir” because it is sensitive to the concerns of the Taliban authority in Afghanistan, according to a UN assessment.
Khalilzad added, “The growing Iranian threat warrants the US and its allies to isolate further and weaken the Iranian regime’s international legitimacy.”
Meanwhile, he said that the shift in terrorism’s trajectory was one of the reasons for the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.