Long War Journal & Threat Matrix

Why the Taliban should be required to renounce al Qaeda in any deal with US

Zalmay Khalilzad, the Trump administration's top envoy for talks with the Taliban, claims that he is already satisfied with the Taliban's counterterrorism assurances. But the Taliban's close relationship with al Qaeda stretches from the 1990s until today. The Taliban should be required to publicly renounce al Qaeda in any final deal with the US. Even then, the break would need to be verified. Read more →

Taliban routs Afghan forces in western Afghan district

The Taliban blocked off all roads leading into Bala Murghab district, overran 11 security outposts and put an Afghan National Army company stationed there to rout. They also killed 44 Afghan security personnel and captured another 190, and advanced to within one kilometer of the district center. Read more →

JNIM takes credit for dubious suicide bombing in Timbuktu

Over the weekend, al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) claimed a series of attacks across Mali, continuing its recent uptick in activity. Most notably, the group took credit for a dubious suicide bombing attempt on French troops near the northern city of Timbuktu “Continuing its earlier... Read more →

Analysis: The budding insurgency in southern Syria

Yesterday, a low-quality video depicting an IED attack on a regime checkpoint in southern Syria was uploaded to the internet. A relatively unknown group, the Popular Resistance, claimed credit within the video itself. While this small outfit has claimed a series of sporadic attacks since its inception last fall, it... Read more →

Iran’s “New” Land-Attack Cruise Missile In Context

An overemphasis by the West on seeking to check Tehran’s ballistic missile program has led to inattention to Iran’s cruise missile capabilities and intentions. Over the weekend, Iran unveiled and test-launched a "new" land-attack cruise missile, dubbed the Hoveizah, days in advance of the Islamic Republic's 40th anniversary. Read more →

IRGC-led Afghan, Pakistani militias criticize US terror designation, stop short of direct threats

US Treasury on January 24 designated the Afghan Fatemiyoun Division and the Pakistani Zeynabiyoun Brigade, which are led by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), pursuant to counter-terrorism and human-rights-abuses designations. Criticizing the US, the Shiite-Islamist militias emphasized that they are part of the IRGC-led transnational militant network, pledged to keep fighting, but stopped short of directly threatening the US. Read more →