On Aug. 29, the Treasury Department announced that Salim Mustafa Muhammad al-Mansur had been added to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists. The move was made in conjunction with the Iraqi government. Al-Mansur served as the Islamic State’s “finance emir for Mosul,” Iraq as of earlier this year, but he has “moved to Turkey.”
The Iraqi government announced the liberation of Tal Afar in northern Iraq earlier today. The offensive to retake the city began on Aug. 20 and progressed quickly. Three Iraqi army divisions, the Counterterrorism Service, Federal Police, the Popular Mobilization Forces and Kurdish Regional Government Peshmerga all took part and were backed by the US-led coalition.
Resolute Support, NATO’s mission in Afghanistan, claimed the aircraft made “a precautionary landing for a maintenance issue.”
The Taliban released a statement attributed to its emir, Hibatullah Akhundzada, who says that “peace” is only possible if the “occupation” is ended. The statement is entirely self-serving and contains absurd claims. For example, Akhundzada writes that the Taliban wants a “free, independent and progressive Afghanistan,” which is completely inconsistent with the group’s ideology and history.
The US-led coalition carried out an air strike to block Islamic State fighters from reaching eastern Syria after they were evacuated from Lebanon. As part of the deal, the Islamic State was to hand over the body of an IRGC fighter who has become a household name in Iran.
While such tactics may be viewed as reactionary or defensive, if the Afghan government wants to arrest Taliban gains, the Taliban must be forced to pay a heavy price for massing and striking outposts, bases, and district centers.
The Taliban continues to demonstrate that it can conduct concurrent operations across the country, while Afghan forces largely remain on the defensive.
The Islamic State’s Khorasan province, like the main branch in Iraq and Syria, has had no qualms about targeting Afghan civilians, particularly Shiites, in mass-casualty suicide attacks in mosques and other locations.