Long War Journal & Threat Matrix

Taliban falsely claims al Qaeda doesn’t exist in Afghanistan

During an online conference last week, CENTCOM commander Gen. McKenzie questioned the Taliban's commitment to its supposed counterterrorism assurances. He pointed to al Qaeda's presence in eastern Afghanistan and claimed Ayman al Zawahiri is there. In response, the Taliban falsely claimed that al Qaeda hasn't been present in Afghanistan since the days of the Islamic Emirate. Read more →

Taliban denounces ‘deviant beliefs,’ including ‘satanic western and disbelieving ideologies’

the Taliban continues to make it clear that it won't accept anything less than a return of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. In a recent video, it extols the virtues of jihad while it denounces "deviants ... who who are trained in the poisonous deviant beliefs of atheism, communism, secularism, democracy, and other satanic western and disbelieving ideologies." Read more →

Russian air defense systems outmatched by Turkish drones in Syria and Libya

After many years of conflict in Syria and Libya, the involvement of Turkey, Russia and other powers is leading to increasingly sophisticated clashes between the latest UAV and air defense technology. The use of new technology has ramifications for future conflicts in the Middle East and provides an emerging model for how regional powers are fighting proxy wars to redraw the balance of power in the region. Read more →

Wanted Islamic State leader reported killed in Syria

The U.S. continues to target high level Islamic State leaders in Syria despite President Trump's claim that the group has been "defeated." Iraq's Counter-Terrorism Service said that the U.S. military killed Hajji Taysir, who oversees the “Research Department for ISIS’s chemical and biological weapons efforts in Syria.” His death has not been confirmed. Read more →

Taliban ‘reluctant to publicly break with al Qaeda,’ Inspector General reports

According to a new report by the Lead Inspector General for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, U.S. officials have assessed that the Taliban is "reluctant to publicly break with al Qaeda," while Pakistan continues to harbor senior Taliban leaders, including the Haqqanis. The report confirms that the Taliban went on the offensive following the Feb. 29 withdrawal agreement with the U.S. Read more →