Afghan forces withdrew from Sangin’s district center, then bombs government buildings, military bases, and the police headquarters. Seven of Helmand’s 14 districts are now under Taliban control.
Commander Yusuf Wazir, the slain Taliban leader, also lost a father and a brother in previous US drone strikes, according to the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. Three Taliban commanders are reported to have been killed in US drone strikes along the Afghan-Pakistani border since the beginning of March.
The Pakistani Taliban confirmed today that Qari Muhammad Yasin, a senior al Qaeda military commander, was killed along with three of his “companions” in a US drone strike on Mar. 19. The airstrike was carried out in Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika province. Yasin was a member of the Punjabi Taliban, which includes jihadists from various other Pakistani terrorist organizations who are aligned with al Qaeda.
The suicide bombing, which killed at least 10 people, occurred just 150 meters from Villa Somalia, Somalia’s presidential palace in Mogadishu.
The U.S. State Department on Friday announced the designation of two Bahraini nationals affiliated with Iran-backed militant group the Ashtar Brigades. The designation of the two individuals comes amidst repeated attempts by Tehran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to foment an insurgency against the rulers of the tiny island, who have launched a widespread crackdown on all Shiite opposition. Friday’s announcement signals a new tone in US policy towards Iran’s malign activities in the region.
The death of Qari Muhammad Yasin, an experienced Pakistani jihadist, has not been confirmed by the US or jihadists operating in the region. He was targeted in an area of Afghanistan known to serve as an al Qaeda safe haven.
Israel forcefully redraws its blurred red lines on Hezbollah weapons transfers via Syria.
Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS), Ahrar al Sham, and the Free Syrian Army-affiliated Faylaq al Rahman launched a surprise offensive against Bashar al Assad’s regime in Damascus yesterday. HTS, an al Qaeda front group, has been stepping up its attacks in the Syrian capital in recent weeks.