The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for an attack on a school for midwives in Jalalabad, Afghanistan yesterday, saying the target was a headquarters for USAID. Despite a focused, US-led counterterrorism campaign against Wilayah Khorasan in Nangarhar, the group retains an operational footprint in eastern Afghanistan.
The Islamic State announced today that Hudhayfah al-Badri, the son of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, has been killed during a raid on Syrian and Russian forces in Homs province. Al-Badri’s death was announced via a graphic that is part of the Islamic State’s “Caravan of the Martyrs” series, which has featured deceased jihadists from around the globe. The so-called caliphate has offered few details concerning al-Badri’s purported death.
The US military initially assessed that an attack on Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior in Kabul yesterday wasn’t the work of the Islamic State, but instead the Taliban’s Haqqani Network. However, the Islamic State’s so-called Khorasan province quickly claimed responsibility for the operation. And today, the group released a photo purportedly showing the 10-man (or adolescent) team responsible.
Since late April, the Islamic State has claimed a string of operations targeting elections in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. The group’s spokesman, Abu al-Hasan al-Muhajir, threatened Iraq’s upcoming election on May 12 and the jihadists are carrying out operations accordingly.
The Islamic State’s Wilayah Khorasan attacked the Iraqi embassy in Kabul earlier today. Nearly 16 years after the US invaded Afghanistan, civilian and official facilities in the country’s capital are regularly assaulted. Both the Taliban and Wilayah Khorasan have launched complex operations in Kabul on multiple occasions this year.
A team of several jihadists raided the offices of National Radio Television of Afghanistan (RTA) in Jalalabad earlier today. At least several people were killed and many others wounded. The Islamic State claims two of its men detonated “explosive motorcycles” at the beginning of the operation.
Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (“Assembly for the Liberation of the Levant”) and the Islamic State continue to battle for control of the Yarmouk camp in southern Damascus.
The policy debate concerning Syria must reflect on-the-ground realities. The war is a complex, multi-sided affair with no easy solutions.