Monthly Archives: April 2016

Arab coalition enters AQAP stronghold in port city of Mukalla, Yemen

A Saudi-led Arab coalition has entered the Yemeni port city of Mukalla, which had been a stronghold for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) since April 2015. AQAP reportedly withdrew most of its forces from the city prior to the alliance’s advance. Mukalla is a key part of AQAP’s plan to build an Islamic emirate in Yemen.

Taliban touts Bergdahl swap as key ‘achievement’

In a video released earlier this month, the Taliban trumpeted the exchange of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five top Taliban commanders who were held at Guantanamo. The Taliban says this “achievement” was the result of its extensive operations in Afghanistan’s Paktika province.

Taliban kills dozens in suicide assault in Kabul

The Taliban targeted a unit that is responsible for providing security for Afghan officials in a coordinated suicide assault in the Afghan capital. NATO’s commander claimed the Taliban won’t face security forces on the battlefield, ignoring the fact that the Taliban is openly engaging Afghan forces on multiple fronts.

AQAP says it wanted to debate the Islamic State

The Hidayah Establishment for Media Production released an anti-Islamic State video on Apr. 8 in which a witness claims that the Islamic State has refused to publicly debate. The video includes an image of a letter purportedly written by Nasir al Wuhayshi, who was AQAP’s emir until his demise in June 2015. A follow up statement on Apr. 10 contained similar allegations against Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s organization.

US transfers 9 Yemeni detainees from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia

The Defense Department announced the transfer of nine Yemeni detainees from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia on April 16. The transferred detainees include a man who was allegedly one of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards, the brother of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) current emir, and a jihadist the Obama administration determined was “too dangerous to transfer but not feasible for prosecution.”

Jihadists strike across northern Mali

Jihadists in Mali continue to prove their potency in the north by launching a spate of attacks in recent days. One such assault left a French special forces soldier dead and three others wounded.

Senior Islamic State Khorasan leaders defect to Taliban

Several members of the Islamic State Khorasan Provinces’ “central council” as well as other senior and mid-level leaders based in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar have broken their oath to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and have rejoined the Taliban.

US strikes al Qaeda’s ‘Khorasan Group’ in Syria

The US killed Rifai Ahmed Taha Musa in an airstrike this week. Musa first began working with Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri in the 1980s and 1990s. US intelligence officials identified him as a key figure in al Qaeda’s so-called “Khorasan Group.” According to one of his former comrades, he was in Syria to promote unity between Al Nusrah Front and Ahrar al Sham.

Al Nusrah Front confirms al Qaeda veteran killed in US airstrike

The Al Nusrah Front confirmed today that Abu Firas al Suri, a veteran jihadist who served al Qaeda since the 1980s, was killed in a US airstrike on Apr. 3. A Pentagon spokesman recently explained that Al Nusrah has “ties” to al Qaeda, but this is not an adequate description of the relationship. Al Nusrah is one of al Qaeda’s regional branches and is openly loyal to Ayman al Zawahiri.

Syrian fighter jet downed in Aleppo province

The Syrian government says that a fighter jet was downed by a surface to air missile in the Aleppo province earlier today. There are conflicting reports concerning how the plane was hit. Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, has the pilot in custody and another al Qaeda-linked group, Ahrar al Sham, has claimed responsibility for downing the jet.

US transfers 2 Guantanamo detainees to the Republic of Senegal

The US government announced the transfer of two Libyans from Guantanamo to the Republic of Senegal. Both of the men were allegedly members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and worked for al Qaeda prior to their detention. JTF-GTMO found both to be “high” risks. President Obama’s Guantanamo Review Task Force previously deemed one of them “too dangerous” to transfer.