Abdullah Ahmed al Meshedani manages foreign fighters as they enter Iraq and Syria, while Abdelilah Himich and Basil Hassan are planners for the Islamic State’s external operations network.
The claim cannot be independently verified, but Ghorak district has been hotly contested and Taliban has overrun it in the past. Security in Kandahar province also appears to be deteriorating.
The attack is the second of its kind in the Afghan capital by the Islamic State in the past six weeks.
More than six months after a ground offensive was launched to dislodge the Islamic State from Sirte, Libya, the so-called caliphate’s fighters remain holed up inside a few blocks of the city. According to AFRICOM, approximately 200 jihadists are entrenched in their positions.
The Taliban denied reports that Mullah Attaullah was killed by police forces. The Afghan government has a spotty track record when reporting on the deaths of Taliban commanders.
Jund al Aqsa, a US and UN designated terrorist organization, was subsumed by al Qaeda’s rebranded Syrian branch in early October. The group had deep ties to al Qaeda’s fundraising network in the Gulf prior to the merger.
During a congressional hearing earlier today, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified that “violent extremism” — that is, jihadism — demands more intelligence collection and analysis now “than at any other point in history.”
The Pentagon says that more than 60 vehicle bombs have been destroyed in airstrikes since the battle for Mosul began in October. The Islamic State claims to have carried out 120 “martyrdom operations,” many utilizing vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), during this same timeframe. However, some of these claimed suicide bombings were likely neutralized before they could hit their intended targets.