The last three strikes against Shabaab have taken place in an area where foreign al Qaeda fighters have historically sheltered. AFRICOM has targeted Shabaab 40 times throughout Somalia in 2018.
The US military hit al Qaeda’s branches in Somalia and Libya twice over the past several days, killing 20 fighters in strikes that appear to have targeted the groups’ military capacity.
Mullah Manan was responsible for Taliban successes in Helmand that has left every district to be controlled or contested by the group. However the Taliban has been adept at replacing key leaders who have been killed or died of natural causes.
Al Qaeda’s As Sahab has released an essay blasting Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the US. The essay’s author, identified as Sheikh Awab Bin Hasan al Hasni, portrays America as a declining power and touts the resurrection of the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. AQAP also finally released the 58th issue of Al Masra newsletter, which focuses on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
The US military has launched six airstrikes in the central Somali province of Mudug since Nov. 19, killing at least 55 Shabaab fighters.
President Ghani wants the Taliban to accept democracy, participate in the government, and break ties with terrorist groups. The Taliban has repeatedly refused to adhere to these demands. Additionally, Ghani called for negotiations that are first driven by Afghans, which is the opposite of what is actually occurring today.
The US says that Sgt. Jasso was “was likely accidentally shot” by partner Afghan forces during a “close-quarter battle” with “multiple barricaded al Qaeda shooters” in Nimroz province on Nov. 24. Nimroz is a remote area of Afghanistan and al Qaeda’s presence there confirms, once again, that the group is operating throughout the country.
The US military’s official estimate of the number of fighters in the Taliban’s ranks needs to be at least doubled given the level and intensity of fighting in Afghanistan, as well as the number of Taliban casualties claimed by the Afghan security forces.