Long War Journal & Threat Matrix

UN: Iran-based leaders ‘have grown more prominent’ in al Qaeda’s global network

A report by the United Nations includes new details concerning the dispute between Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and al Qaeda's senior leaders, including the role played by two veteran operatives living in Iran. The UN's member states say that HTS is still in "contact" with al Qaeda's leadership despite their heated disagreements, and that al Qaeda has even reinforced HTS with "military and explosives experts" sent from Afghanistan. Read more →

Analysis: 2 wanted al Qaeda leaders operate in Iran

On Aug. 8, the State Department announced that it had increased its reward for information concerning the whereabouts of two veteran al Qaeda leaders: Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah and Saif al-Adel. Although State didn't explain the move, there is evidence that the two al Qaeda managers were operating inside Iran as of 2017. Read more →

Resolute Support obscures status of 7 Ghazni districts as 3 more fall to Taliban

In addition to Ajristan and Khwaja Umar, the districts of Nawur, Jaghatu, and Deh Yak have fallen to the Taliban. Meanwhile, Resolute Support has intentionally misled the the public about the status of seven of Ghazni's districts. Resolute Support claimed these districts were under government control; in reality the Taliban physically controlled the terrain while the Afghan government operated the government remotely from Ghazni City. Read more →

Foreign fighters involved in assault on Ghazni, Afghan defense minister says

Al Qaeda has long operated in Ghazni province, the site of a large-scale Taliban offensive in recent days. In 2010, Osama bin Laden ordered his men to relocate from northern Pakistan into Ghazni and other Afghan provinces. Bin Laden's lieutenant also wrote in mid-2010 that al Qaeda had "very strong military activity" in at least eight Afghan provinces, including Ghazni. More recently, American and Afghan forces have targeted al Qaeda operatives in the province. Read more →

Taliban seizes second district in Ghazni as provincial capital remains contested

The current fighting in and around Ghazni City indicates that the Taliban has a detailed plan to tie up Afghan forces while attempting to seize the provincial capital. Additionally, the Taliban was able to mass its forces undetected; the Afghan military was clearly caught off guard and is struggling to get into the fight four days after the Taliban launched its attack. Read more →

Ghazni City remains under assault, despite RS assurances

Resolute Support initially described the attack on Ghazni City as a "failed attempt" that would be used by the press to generate sensational headlines. Two days later, Afghan forces are still battling entrenched Taliban fighters inside the city, and the vital Kabul-Kandahar remains severed. Battles such as the one in Ghazni, reveal a disturbing pattern of misinformation and deception by Resolute Support when it comes to assessing and reporting on the Taliban's attacks on major cities as well as its assaults on district centers. Read more →

US Counterterrorism strikes: Tempo remains high in Somalia and Yemen, transparency improves

In 2017, LWJ reported unprecedented levels of airstrikes in Somalia and Yemen. Thus far in 2018, the United States has sustained its high strike tempo in Somalia and improved transparency on its air campaign in Yemen. Strikes in Pakistan have leveled off, however press restrictions make tracking operations there difficult. In Libya, the U.S. has targeted jihadists sparingly. Read more →

Authorities investigate Islamic State claim in Toronto shooting

Authorities are investigating whether there are any ties, digital or otherwise, between Faisal Hussain and the Islamic State. The so-called caliphate's Amaq News Agency issued a short statement today claiming that Hussain was the Islamic State's "soldier." The statement mirrors the language used in a series of other claims of responsibility for attacks in the West and elsewhere. Read more →