The Islamic State’s “Khorasan Province” promoted a training camp that is operated in the eastern Afghan province of Logar. The facility is named after a Taliban commander who was killed in an internecine dispute in 2012.
Three photographs of the “Ustad Yasir” camp were obtained by journalist Saleem Mehsud and published on his Twitter account on April 18. The images were emailed to the Pakistani reporter, Mehsud told The Long War Journal.
Fourteen Islamic State fighters are shown in formation in two of the photos. The other image shows a pickup truck with a heavy machine gun mounted on the back moving through a creek.
The Ustad Yasir camp is run by the Sa’ad bin Abi Waqas Front and it is located in Logar province in eastern Afghanistan. The group was named after Sa’ad bin Abi Waqas, an al Qaeda emir in Kunar province who was killed by the US military in an airstrike on April 14, 2011. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda’s commander for Kunar, several operatives killed in airstrike.]
The Sa’ad bin Abi Waqas Front is led by Sa’ad Emarati, a former commander in the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan who defected to the Islamic State’s Khorasan Province last year along with other disaffected Taliban commanders from Afghanistan and Iraq. [See LWJ reports, Pakistani Taliban splinter group again pledges allegiance to Islamic State, Islamic State appoints leaders of ‘Khorasan province,’ issues veiled threat to Afghan Taliban, and Mapping the emergence of the Islamic State in Afghanistan.]
The name of the camp provides further evidence that the Islamic State’s Khorasan Province, which is situated in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is comprised of Taliban and other jihadist groups who have been marginalized by or are unhappy with the existing leaders of the Taliban on both sides of the border.
Ustad Yasir was one of 26 senior and mid-level Taliban leaders who were killed in a Taliban purge in 2012. Prior to being gunned down, he had served as the head of the Taliban’s Recruitment Council and was a key ideologue for the jihadist group. [See LWJ report, Afghan intel confirms death of senior Afghan Taliban leader, possibly 25 others.]
Other photos from the Ustad Yasir Camp:
Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.