Cover Story Overview

The Facade of Allegiance: Bin Ladin’s Dubious Pledge to Mullah Omar

A historical account by an insider who worked for both al-Qa`ida and the Afghan Taliban in the 1990s challenges a key assumption—that Usama bin Ladin had personally sworn allegiance (bay`a) to Mullah Omar—revealing that al-Qa`ida’s early relations with the Taliban regime were much rockier than is commonly assumed. This account alleges that al-Qa`ida’s purported endorsement of the Taliban regime was an “outright deception,” a calculated political move that provided cover for activities that threatened the Taliban’s very existence.

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