The U.S. Treasury Department has announced a new round of counterterrorism designations targeting the Islamic State’s support networks in Turkey, Afghanistan and the Gulf.
The Islamic State’s latest spokesman, a jihadist known as Abu Hamza al-Qurayshi, released a statement yesterday confirming Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death in an American raid and naming a new emir for the group. Baghdadi’s successor is a figure known as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi.
The White House announced earlier today that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State, has been killed during a raid in Syria’s Idlib province. Under his leadership, the Islamic State grew into an international terrorist menace.
Eleven Taliban leaders have been reportedly exchanged for three kidnapped Indian engineers. One of the newly-freed Taliban commanders is Abdul Rashid Baluch. The US designated Baluch as a terrorist in 2015, reporting that he “served as a Taliban liaison officer to al Qaeda (AQ) and was responsible for planning meetings between Taliban senior leadership” and al Qaeda “members in Karachi, Pakistan.”
Afghan officials have identified several AQIS members who were killed during a controversial raid in Musa Qala, Helmand earlier this week. They have also posted images purportedly documenting the weaponry, explosives and cash seized at the jihadists’ compound.
On Sept. 19, Thomas Joscelyn testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs at a hearing titled, “The Trump Administration’s Afghanistan Policy.” His testimony focused on the close working relationship between the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
U.S. and Afghan officials say they targeted al Qaeda members in Musa Qala, a Taliban-controlled district in the southern Helmand province. Reports indicate that dozens of civilians perished during the clash that ensued.
In a newly-released audio message, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi boasts that his Islamic State has conducted “unified raids” across the globe this year. Many of these operations were conducted by the Islamic State’s wilayat, or provinces,