The Pakistani Taliban said it retaliated against the Pakistani military for a US drone strike that killed Abdullah, a “master in electronics.” The US has launched at least three drone strikes in Pakistan so far this year.
The Taliban continues its offensive in Kandahar. Afghan officials report that at least 18 soldiers were killed and four more were captured during another Taliban assault on a military base in Shah Wali Kot.
Taliban fighters overran a large military base earlier this week, and launched attacks on other installations throughout the province. The fighting in Kandahar takes place as the Taliban remains on the offensive on several fronts throughout the country as part of Operation Mansouri.
The Islamic State’s Wilayah Khorasan has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that targeted Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, the deputy chairman of Pakistan’s Senate. Haideri was injured. Dozens of others were also killed or wounded in the blast, which was launched in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province.
Jamaat ul Dawa al Quran is an excellent example of the complex and evolving network of jihadist groups that operate in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. The three designated leaders have been tied to al Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the Islamic State.
Shawal is one of several areas in North Waziristan that the Pakistani military claimed it cleared after it launched an operation in 2014. However the fact that the TTP can organize 120 fighters and assault a base there indicates the area is all but cleared.
The suicide bombings show the Turkistan Islamic Party’s close battlefield integration with al Qaeda’s forces in Syria, as well as further highlighting its position within the overall al Qaeda network.
An “important” al Qaeda figure, Abdul Raheem, was reportedly killed in a drone strike in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan late last month. Al Qaeda and allied groups have sheltered in Datta Khel in the past. The Pakistani military claimed the area was cleared in Sept. 2014, but jihadists continue to operate there.