The State Department has amended the terrorist designation for Al Nusrah Front to include the “alias” Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS). State’s announcement indicates that the US government still considers HTS to be part of al Qaeda’s network, despite the jihadists’ vitriolic disputes over its formation. State didn’t explain its reasoning behind the move.
The US military initially assessed that an attack on Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior in Kabul yesterday wasn’t the work of the Islamic State, but instead the Taliban’s Haqqani Network. However, the Islamic State’s so-called Khorasan province quickly claimed responsibility for the operation. And today, the group released a photo purportedly showing the 10-man (or adolescent) team responsible.
According to a State Department report published this week, the Taliban continues “to assassinate and threaten religious leaders with death for preaching messages contrary to” its “interpretation of Islam or its political agenda.” As part of its widespread assassination campaign, Taliban gunmen have been killing “imams and other religious officials throughout the country.”
The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency has issued a short statement claiming that the assailant who conducted the attack in Liège, Belgium yesterday was one of the group’s soldiers. Amaq did not provide any descriptive information about the attacker, whom authorities have identified as a criminal on temporary leave from prison.
A team of jihadists assaulted Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior in Kabul earlier today. It is the latest in a string of attacks inside the Afghan capital this year. Both the Taliban and the Islamic State’s Khorasan “province” are able to hit targets inside the city.
The security situation in the south continues to deteriorate. An Afghan official admitted security forces abandoned the governor’s compound and police headquarters in Chora district. The Taliban claims it overran all 17 security outposts and controls the district center.
The Taliban claimed it killed more than 100 Afghan soldiers, policemen, and tribal fighters, while one Afghan official admitted 17 soldiers were killed and 21 more were wounded.
On May 23, Al-Badr Media Foundation announced its presence online, saying it will work to serve the interests of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and its supporters in several ways. AQAP remains under pressure and its media output has been degraded by a US-led campaign. Al-Badr is AQAP’s latest attempt to improve the group’s security measures and boost fighter morale.