The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a devastating suicide bombing at an election rally in Mastung, Baluchistan earlier today. More than 100 people were killed and dozens more wounded. The so-called caliphate has identified the bomber as Abu Bakr al-Pakistani and claims that a Pakistani intelligence official was among the victims.
The deadly bombing is the first major attack executed by the Taliban group since Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud assumed command of the group in late June.
The Pentagon and the US intelligence community have been consistently wrong about al Qaeda’s strength in Afghanistan, and evidence of strategic ties between the two groups does indeed exist.
The TTP appears to be returning to its roots by selecting Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, a prominent commander from the Mehsud tribe, to lead it. The TTP also confirmed the death of Mullah Fazlullah.
The Taliban has rejected a request by the Afghan government to extend its three-day ceasefire. The Taliban claims that the short-lived lull in the fighting proved that it has command-and-control over its forces throughout the country and that the mujahideen enjoy popular support.
The Afghan Ministry of Defense claims Mullah Fazlullah was killed in a US airstrike in Kunar on June 13. His death has not been confirmed by the US or the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. Fazlullah’s death, if confirmed, may not be as impactful as US, Pakistani, and Afghan officials would like to believe.
The government of Afghanistan announced yesterday that it has entered into a unilateral ceasefire with the Taliban. Gen. John Nicholson, who oversees the US-led war effort, claimed it was a “bold initiative for peace.” But the thinking behind the ceasefire is confused.
Hazrat Abbas served as a leader for both al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent and the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. AQIS was formed to unite disparate jihadist factions to fight under the banner of the Afghan Taliban.