In a message released earlier this month, Abu Ubaydah Yusuf al-Anabi, a US-designated terrorist, called for sharia governance in Algeria. Al-Anabi is a senior Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb religious figure and has led the group’s “Council of Notables.”
Earlier today, the Islamic State’s Khorasan “province” attacked a memorial held in honor of Abdul Ali Mazari, an ethnic Hazara leader who was killed by the Taliban in 1995. The Islamic State’s loyalists frequently target Shiites in the Afghan capital.
According to the UN’s Jan. 2019 assessment, al Qaeda’s relationship with the Taliban is “long-standing” and “strong.” And al Qaeda “continues to see Afghanistan as a safe haven for its leadership.” The UN estimates that the Islamic State has several thousand fighters in Afghanistan as well.
The State Department announced today that it is offering a $1 million reward for information on Hamza bin Laden’s whereabouts. Hamza is the genetic and ideological heir of al Qaeda’s founder and he has been groomed for a leadership position within the organization.
According to UNAMA’s annual report for 2018, more civilians were killed in Afghanistan than in any year since 2009. The Taliban remains the main culprit when it comes to civilian casualties, killing or wounding more than any other party. But the number casualties attributed to the Islamic State’s branch more than doubled in 2018, as compared to 2017.
Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham and Hurras al-Din have quarreled for more than a year. Recently, they reached a new accord. Abu ‘Abd al-Karim al-Masri, a member of al Qaeda’s shura council, has played a key role in attempting to mediate their disputes in the past.
Jaish al-Adl, a Sunni militant group based along Iran’s southeastern border with Pakistan, has claimed responsibility for a bombing that targeted an IRGC bus. The group has repeatedly targeted Iranian security forces.
In a message released on Feb. 5, al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri harshly criticizes the jihadists in Syria. He says they are engaged in a misguided “competition” for “imagined authority” over territory that is under the oversight “of secular Turkish checkpoints.”