Acting Afghan Taliban Defense Minister Visits Doha-Based U.S.-Qatari Joint Military Center, Discusses Security Bilateral Cooperation With Top Qatari Officials; Pro-ISIS Outlets Comment: Visit Proves Qatar, U.S., Taliban Are Collaborating Against ISIS

July 8, 2022

The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here. 

On July 8, 2022, Afghan media outlets reported on an official visit of the Taliban interim government's acting Defense Minister, Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid, to Qatar, where he met with several top Qatari officials to discuss defense and security bilateral cooperation.

In its coverage of the visit, outlet Pajhwok Afghan News cited a statement issued by the Afghan Taliban's Ministry of Defense as saying that soon after arriving in Doha, Mujahid met with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who was accompanied by Qatari Minister of Defense Dr. Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah.[1] Acting Afghan Taliban Defense Minister Mullah Yaqoob is the eldest son of Taliban founder Mullah Omar, leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan until his death in 2013, reportedly from natural causes.

According to the statement, Mujahid also met with Sheikh Mohammed bin Ahmed Al-Musnad, National Security Adviser to the Emir of Qatar, Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, and Qatari Chief of Army Staff Al-Fariq Al-Rakn (Lieutenant General) Salem Hamad Al-Nabat.

Afghan Taliban Delegation Visits Qatar-Based Joint Military Operation Center

The statement further highlighted that the delegation lead by Mujahid "visited the Joint Military Operations Center in Qatar and met with the Commander of the Joint Military Operations Center." The two sides discussed bilateral cooperation in the development of defense and security ties, said the statement.

Qatari Foreign Minister:  The Afghan People Have The Right To Secure A Dignified Life

On its part, the Qatari Ministry Of Foreign Affairs issued a statement in English on its website, saying that during his meeting with Mujahid, Qatar's Foreign Minister, Al-Thani, "underscored the significance of working to achieve national reconciliation in Afghanistan, in addition to making sure that the Afghan people obtain their entire rights and secure a dignified life that includes the prosperity for all its segments, emphasizing the State of Qatar's continued support for the Afghan people."[2]

The Qatari statement further noted that the two parties "reviewed the latest developments in Afghanistan, in addition to a range of topics of joint interest."

Pro-ISIS Outlets React

Commenting on the meeting with Al-Thani, a pro-Islamic State (ISIS) Telegram channel published post with photos from Mujahid's visit to the Joint Operation Center.[4] The channel often seeks to discredit the Taliban's legitimacy as a jihadi group because they agreed to talks with the U.S., leading to the 2020 Doha Agreement. The channel wrote:

"The Defense Minister in The Emirate of Al-Dajjal [the Antichrist] Mullah Yaqoob [Mujahid], presents a gift to leaders of the apostate Qatar Air Force with a wide smile." It further underlined that the Qatari Air Force base is being used by "Crusaders", i.e., U.S.-led Coalition forces, to target ISIS operatives in Iraq and Syria, and allegedly to "kill civilians in their homes, on the roads, and even in mosques and hospitals."

The pro-ISIS channel added that "the collusion of the 'Antichrist Emirate' in the war against Islam in Khorasan has now become apparent."

Another pro-ISIS media outlet on Telegram, Al-Qadisiyah Agency, reported that "after meeting his Uzbek counterpart, the Minister of Defense of the National Taliban government visits Doha and meets with his Qatari counterpart to request Qatari-American support to fight the state of Karrar.[3]"

The same channel published another post about the visit, with photos it described as showing the visit of the "Taliban Minister of Defense to the U.S.-Qatar Joint Military Operation to ask for their support for the Taliban government in its effort to counter terrorism."[5]

The following are photos and videos documenting the visit, published by Afghan and Qatari media:

[1], July 8, 2022.

[2], July 7, 2022.

[3] Al-Karar is a nickname of Imam Ali, frequently invoked by the channel as part of its massaging targeting an Iraqi audience, as he is buried in Iraq. 

 [4] Telegram, B3RIQa, July 8, 2022. 

[5] Telegram Al-Qadisiyah Agency, July 8, 2022. 

The Cyber & Jihad Lab

The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

Read More
2022 End-Of-Year Campaign