New Delhi: Al-Qaeda on Tuesday called for the “liberation” of Kashmir and other so-called Islamic lands from the “clutches of the enemies of Islam” in a message congratulating the Taliban for its victory in Afghanistan.

A detailed statement issued by al-Qaeda hours after the Taliban declared that Afghanistan has gained “full independence” following the drawdown of US forces referred to the terror group’s long-standing calls for the so-called liberation of regions such as Palestine, the Levant, Somalia and Yemen.

“0’ Allah! Liberate the Levant, Somalia, Yemen, Kashmir and the rest of the Islamic lands from the clutches of the enemies of Islam. 0’ Allah! Grant freedom to Muslim prisoners across the world,” said the message titled “Congratulations to the Islamic Ummah on the victory granted by Allah in Afghanistan!”.

Following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan on August 15 after a lightning campaign across the country, one of the greatest concerns of regional analysts and security officials has been the victory energising terror groups active across South Asia.

One of the conditions of the peace deal signed by the Taliban and the US in February 2020 was that the Afghan militant group should sever its ties with all terror groups, particularly al-Qaeda. However, reports issued by the UN Security Council’s sanctions monitoring team in recent months have stated that there is no evidence the Taliban having cut or reduced its links with al-Qaeda.

“We praise the Almighty, the Omnipotent, who humiliated and defeated America, the head of disbelief. We praise Him for breaking America’s back, tarnishing its global reputation and expelling it, disgraced and humiliated, from the Islamic land of Afghanistan,” the al-Qaeda message said.

“Afghanistan is undoubtedly a graveyard of empires and an impregnable fortress of Islam. With the defeat of the Americans, this is the third time that the Afghan nation, within a span of less than two centuries, has successfully defeated and expelled an invading imperialist power,” it added.

The defeat of the “American Empire of Evil” is a “tremendous source of inspiration for the oppressed of the world”, the statement said, and offered al-Qaeda’s congratulations to the Taliban leadership, especially its chief Haibatullah Akhundzada.

“These events prove that the Way of Jihad is the only way that leads to victory and empowerment,” the message said, adding the time has come to “prepare for the next stage of the struggle, the way for which has been paved by the victory of the defiant Afghan nation”.

“With the help of Allah, this historic victory will open the way for the Muslim masses to achieve liberation from the despotic rule of tyrants who have been imposed by the West on the Islamic World. God Willing, the victory of the Muslim Ummah in Afghanistan shall prove to be a prelude to the liberation of Palestine from Zionist occupation,” it said.

America and NATO’s “Afghan debacle marks the beginning of the end of the dark era of Western hegemony and military occupation of Islamic lands”, the statement said.