US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

The Long War Journal



"Afghan forces cede Faryab district to the Taliban"

Bill Roggio berichtet, dass die afghanische Regierung offenbar eine weitere Provinz an die Taliban abgetreten habe. "Afghan security forces ceded control of the district of Ghormach in Faryab province after being besieged by the Taliban. The Afghan military’s weak grip on remote areas of the country forced the government to punt again on another district. Ghormach 'completely fell into the hands of Taliban insurgents on Monday after security forces exited the town,' Pajhwok Afghan News reported, based on comments by anonymous Afghan officials. The Taliban ambushed Afghan forces as they left the district and killed three soldiers, according to ATN News. Afghan military officials claimed that 50 Taliban fighters, including two commanders, were killed in retaliatory airstrikes."

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"In Afghan north, another district falls to the Taliban"

Der Vormarsch der Taliban im Norden Afghanistans geht offenbar weiter, berichtet Bill Roggio. "The Taliban overran the district of Bilchiragh in the northern province of Faryab after besieging it for more than a week. More than 100 Afghan security personnel are reportedly missing. This latest fall of another northern district is part of a disturbing pattern of Afghan forces being surrounded by the Taliban and then either overwhelmed or forced to surrender. (...) The Taliban has been able to mass its forces in Faryab and elsewhere and overwhelm what should be numerically superior Afghan forces. Afghan soldiers and police have repeatedly complained that they call higher command for reinforcements and a resupply of food and ammunition, but their calls go unanswered."

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"Taliban overruns another base in north as it withdraws from Ghazni City"

Bill Roggio berichtet über die harten Kämpfe zwischen afghanischen Regierungstruppen und den Taliban im Norden des Landes. Die Taliban haben sich demnach aus der kurzzeitig eroberten Provinzhauptstadt Ghazni zurückgezogen, zugleich aber einen weiteren Armeestützpunkt eingenommen. "The Taliban stormed the 'Allahuddin military base in Baghlan-e Markazi district' during a late night assault and killed '36 soldiers and nine Afghan Local Policemen,' ATN News confirmed. 'Taliban has also seized all equipment which were available,' and its fighters are said to still be occupying the base, the Afghan news agency reported. The assault in Baghlan occurred just one day after the Taliban overran a base in Faryab after besieging it for three days. At least 43 soldiers were killed and 17 more were captured, and the remaining 40 troops stationed there surrendered to the Taliban. Attacks on military bases such as the ones in Faryab and Baghlan have become all too common. Reporting from Afghanistan indicates that the Taliban has been overrunning bases and checkpoints on an almost daily basis over the past two months."

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"Islamic State targets rival jihadists and Islamists in northern Syria"

In der Idlib-Provinz, dem letzten großen Rückzugsort der Rebellen in Syrien, geht der "Islamische Staat" Thomas Joscelyn zufolge seit einigen Wochen gezielt gegen die radikalislamische Gruppe Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) und andere rivalisierende Fraktionen vor. "The group has claimed a series of plots targeting its jihadist and Islamist rivals in recent weeks. The attacks are centered in Idlib province, including its capital city, but have spilled over into the countryside and neighboring provinces as well. (...) While the Islamic State campaign inside Idlib seems to be focused and intense, it is not new. Baghdadi’s representatives have repeatedly targeted HTS, as well as others in northern Syria. And HTS has failed to root out its rivals’ presence despite persistent efforts."

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"Jihadists try to rally opposition in southern Syria"

Thomas Joscelyn berichtet, dass dschihadistische Rebellengruppen zum Widerstand gegen die Offensive der syrischen Regierungstruppen in der südlichen Prinz Daraa aufgerufen hätten. "Jihadist organizations, including Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS) and the 'Guardians of Religion,' are calling on all insurgents to join forces against the onslaught. The jihadists’ insurgency has stalled over the last year or more, with leadership rivalries, infighting and doctrinal differences fracturing their formerly potent coalition. They likely hope to jumpstart the anti-Assad coalition, which has struggled to win any meaningful battles of late."

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"A misbegotten 'ceasefire' in Afghanistan"

Thomas Joscelyn und Bill Roggio bezweifeln, dass dem überraschenden dreitägigen Waffenstillstand mit den Taliban tatsächlich echte Fortschritte im Friedensprozess folgen werden. Diese von der Regierung in Kabul und von US-Generälen vor Ort geäußerte Hoffnung basiere auf der realitätsfernen Vorstellung, dass die Taliban des Kämpfens müde seien. "According to our estimates, approximately 60 percent of Afghanistan’s districts are either contested or controlled by the Taliban. The jihadists outright control at least 10 percent of the districts. But fully half of Afghanistan is contested terrain, with the two sides vying to claim the ground as their own. The United States and its Afghan allies have thus not beaten back the jihadists in the months since the Trump administration announced its new strategy last August. They have, at best, prevented them from conquering even more ground. Why would the Taliban, which is not close to being defeated, give up now?"

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"20 jihadists killed or captured in French raids in northern Mali"

Caleb Weiss berichtet, dass das französische Militär in Mali bei mehreren Einsätzen über 20 Dschihadisten getötet oder gefangen genommen habe. "French troops from Operation Barkhane, along with troops from Mauritania, Niger, Chad, and Burkina Faso (collectively known as the G5 Sahel force), have conducted numerous military operations across Mali since last year. Many of these have been focused near the borders of Burkina Faso, where violence emanating from another al Qaeda-linked organization, Ansaroul Islam, is common. French forces have been conducting raids and airstrikes in northern Mali since intervening in the country in 2013. However, despite the French operation, the G5 Sahel personnel, and a UN peacekeeping operation in Mali, al Qaeda’s forces have persisted in maintaining its insurgency which has expanded in recent years."

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"US Inspector General acknowledges Iran-backed militias obtained Abrams tanks"

Moderne Panzer, die von den USA an das irakische Militär geliefert wurden, haben einem Quartalsbericht des Pentagons zufolge ihren Weg zu schiitischen Milizen gefunden, die vom Iran unterstützt werden. "The report also noted that the US State Department has pressed the Iraqi government for the return of the tanks, but that has not happened. FDD’s Long War Journal has long tracked the appearances of US-made tanks in the hands of Iranian-backed militias. In Jan. 2015, the Hezbollah Brigades – a US-designated foreign terrorist organization – showed an Abrams flying the group’s flag. (...) The Badr Organization, another Iranian-backed Shiite militia, has also publicized photos showing its forces in possession of an Abrams tanks. (...) In Feb. 2016, Kata’ib Sayyid al Shuhada (KSS), which is closely linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) – Qods Force and led by US-designated terrorist Mustafa al Sheibani, was seen using an M1 Abrams likely in Iraq’s Salahadin Province."

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"CIA releases massive trove of Osama bin Laden’s files"

Die CIA hat hunderttausende Dokumente, Bilder und Computerdaten veröffentlicht, die während der US-Operation zur Tötung des Al-Qaida-Chefs Osama bin Laden am 2. Mai 2011 im pakistanischen Abbottabad erbeutet wurden. Thomas Joscelyn und Bill Roggio begrüßen die Veröffentlichung und fassen erste interessante Enthüllungen zusammen: "While the world has changed dramatically since the al Qaeda founder’s death more than six years ago, many of the files are still relevant today. Indeed, the CIA has withheld an unspecified number of documents for reasons related to protecting national security. We don’t doubt that some documents are still sensitive, but we hope that everything can be eventually released. The CIA provided FDD’s Long War Journal with an advance copy of many of the files. It will take years for experts and researchers to comb through this treasure trove of information. However, we offer some preliminary observations below."

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"Iraqi forces recapture contentious Kirkuk in overnight offensive"

Truppen der irakischen Regierung haben die Stadt Kirkuk im Norden des Landes offenbar weitgehend kampflos eingenommen. Bill Roggio und Alexandra Gutowski berichten, dass der Rückzug der Peschmerga die internen Konflikte unter den irakischen Kurden offengelegt habe. "The clashes in Kirkuk have exposed rifts between Iraqi Kurdistan’s rival political parties: the Patriot Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). The PUK reportedly permitted Baghdad to advance into Kirkuk, despite KDP dissent. The PUK and the Talabani family receive support from Iran, raising suspicion about a potential backroom deal to hand over the city to Iranian-aligned forces and undermine the KDP."

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"Jihadists hit Mogadishu with car bombs, suicide assault"

Bei einem Selbstmordanschlag in der somalischen Hauptstadt Mogadischu sind letzten Angaben zufolge mindestens 300 Menschen getötet worden. Bill Roggio und Caleb Weiss berichten, dass die Gewalttat der bisherige Höhepunkt einer langen Anschlagsserie in diesem Jahr sei. "Since the beginning of the year, there have been at least 36 car bombings in Mogadishu. These attacks have killed or wounded at least 771 people, according to data compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal. The operations include remotely detonated vehicles, suicide car bombings, and suicide assaults. At least 11 of these attacks have been assassination attempts against Somali military, intelligence, and government personnel, as well as Somali journalists. Eight of the 36 instances occurred on Maka al Mukarama street in Mogadishu. Shabaab has claimed the vast majority of these attacks."

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"Lessons learned from 15 years in Afghanistan: SIGAR"

Der vom US-Kongress eingesetzte Generalinspekteur für den Wiederaufbau in Afghanistan (SIGAR) hat einen detaillierten Bericht über die aktuellen Herausforderungen der mittlerweile 15 Jahre dauernden Militärkampagne der USA im Land veröffentlicht. Phil Hegseth hat den Bericht gelesen und fasst zusammen: "The report, which is the first of its kind, concludes that the ANDSF [Afghan National Defense and Security Forces] is plagued by debilitating attrition, corruption, equipment shortages, incomplete training, a lack of security infrastructure and widespread illiteracy. (...) If the US and its coalition partners want to someday hand off all aspects of security to an Afghan force that can hold itself against a proven and devoted insurgency, longer term strategies are needed that are not bound by arbitrary or politically-driven timetables. To support those strategies, funding must be committed that is meticulously tracked to ensure it reaches the most effective hands. And to back it all up, a commitment to appropriate training paired with a robust buildup of security-sector infrastructure is vital."

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"LWJ Map Assessment: Taliban controls or contests 45% of Afghan districts"

Ihre Analyse vorliegender Berichte lässt Bill Roggio und Alexandra Gutowski zu dem Ergebnis kommen, dass die Taliban in fast der Hälfte aller Bezirke Afghanistans eine starke Präsenz zeigen. "FDD’s Long War Journal assessment aligns closely with those of both the US military and the Taliban itself. The Taliban claims to control or contest 50 percent of the country’s 407 districts. The US military puts the estimate at 40 percent (...). Although the NATO mission in Afghanistan downplays the significance of these rural districts, the Taliban considers them pivotal. For example, the Taliban heralded its capture of Sangin district center as a 'strategic victory' Although these districts may be nothing more than 'rubble and dirt' to Resolute Support, they represent the lifeblood of the insurgency for the Taliban. The Taliban utilizes rural areas to launch attacks against population centers, as well as to fundraise, resupply, recruit, and train fighters."

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"US has launched 'more than 100 strikes against AQAP' so far this year"

Das US Central Command (CENTCOM) hat auf Anfrage mitgeteilt, dass das US-Militär in diesem Jahr bisher über hundert Luftangriffe gegen die Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Jemen durchgeführt hat. "In addition to the updated strike total for Yemen, the response is interesting as it notes that AQAP operatives are not the only target of the air campaign: the US military is also hitting the entirety of the network. This is important as AQAP is not merely a grouping of cells with a leadership that can easily be decapitated; it is a networked jihadist insurgency that seeks to overthrow the Yemeni state. This jihadist insurgency operates hand in hand with AQAP’s desire to attack the West."

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"Australia disrupts 'sophisticated' plot directed by the Islamic State"

Die australische Regierung hat Thomas Joscelyn zufolge neue Informationen über den "ausgeklügelten" Terrorplan von Anhängern des "Islamischen Staates" veröffentlicht, der im vergangenen Monat von Sicherheitsbehörden aufgedeckt wurde. "Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Australian Federal Police (AFP) deputy commissioner Mike Phelan explained that there were at least two planned attacks. First, the suspects built an IED that was intended to blow up an airliner. Second, they allegedly attempted to build a chemical dispersion weapon. The latter device was apparently only in the beginning stages of development. Importantly, Phelan emphasized that the accused men were receiving orders from the Islamic State (ISIL) and not acting solely on their own initiative."

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"Female suicide bomber attacks in West Africa on pace to quadruple in 2017"

In Nigeria und Kamerun haben dschihadistische Gruppen in diesem Jahr bereits 27 weibliche Selbstmordattentäter eingesetzt, berichtet Caleb Weiss. "UNICEF documented 27 young girls used in suicide attacks already in 2017, 30 in 2016, 56 in 2015, and just four in 2014. This largely confirms the trends compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal. According to Long War Journal data, there were at least 80 female suicide bombers used in 2015. In 2014, there only 15 females, most of which were adult women. (...) Many of the women and girls used in these bombings are likely forced into committing the assaults after being kidnapped by the jihadists. Other women may be widows of killed fighters, like Russia’s 'Black Widows.' The ages of the bombers have ranged from just seven-years-old to middle-aged."

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"US military to actively target Shabaab in Somalia"

US-Präsident Trump hat dem US-Militär Bill Roggio zufolge offiziell erlaubt, die radikalislamische Al-Shabaab-Miliz in Somalia zur Unterstützung der African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) aktiv zu bekämpfen. "The Pentagon’s desire to actively target Shabaab reflects the growing concern that al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa is gaining strength despite the presence of both AMISOM and US forces. (...) During the Obama administration, the US military was conducting raids against training camps and other operations in Shabaab-held territory which were clearly offensive in nature. US Africa Command [AFRICOM] described such operations as 'self-defense strikes' in an effort to skirt restrictions on operations against Shabaab in areas outside of active hostilities."

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"Analysis: Al Qaeda groups reorganize in West Africa"

Thomas Joscelyn berichtet, dass sich vier Al-Qaida-Gruppen in der Sahelzone Anfang März zusammengeschlossen hätten. Er erläutert die Details und analysiert die Hintergründe dieser Neuorganisation der radikalislamischen Extremisten im Westen Afrikas. "The 'Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims' (Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin) brings together four existing al Qaeda organizations under one banner. Ansar Dine, Al Murabitoon and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s (AQIM) Sahara branch are all part of the new entity. The Macina Liberation Front, an arm of Ansar Dine, is as well. Iyad Ag Ghaly, the longtime leader of Ansar Dine, heads the new joint venture. Ghaly, a Malian Tuareg jihadist, explained why the merger was necessary in a video that is more than seven minutes long. And he emphasized that his group is part of al Qaeda’s international network."

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"Al Qaeda and allies announce 'new entity' in Syria"

Thomas Joscelyn berichtet, dass sich fünf radikalislamische Rebellenfraktionen in Syrien, darunter die frühere Nusra-Front, zu einer neuen Allianz zusammengeschlossen hätten. "The establishment of Tahrir al Sham comes after weeks of reported clashes and fierce disagreements between different jihadi factions and other insurgents in northern Syria. It is difficult to discern how the situation unfolded, but JFS and Ahrar al Sham have reportedly disagreed over the direction of the insurgency, leading to some clashes. The two groups have long fought side-by-side against the Assad regime and others. Indeed, Ahrar al Sham has its own links to al Qaeda and openly models itself after the Taliban."

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"Al Qaeda linked to more than 250 West African attacks in 2016"

Nach einer Auswertung der vorliegenden Daten kommt Caleb Weiss zu dem Schluss, dass die Al-Qaida im vergangenen Jahr in Westafrika für mehr als 250 Angriffe verantwortlich gewesen sei. 2015 habe die Terrororganisation dagegen nur 106 Angriffe in Mali und anderen Ländern der Region ausgeführt. "Of the 257 attacks, 93 came as a result of improvised explosive devices. Another 27 were from mortar or rocket barrages aimed at French, Malian, or UN military bases in northern Mali. There were 11 kidnappings, with nine occurring in Mali and one each in Burkina Faso and Niger. Six were suicide bombings. The remaining 120 attacks were a variation of assaults, ambushes, or assassinations. (...) Surprisingly, only 14 percent of al Qaeda’s claimed attacks (37) were directed at civilians. Rather, Malian security forces (military, national guard, gendarmerie, and police) were the prime target for jihadists, with those security forces being the target in 84 instances. The UN’s forces were targeted 75 times, second-most frequently."

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"Analysis: Islamic State claims historically high number of suicide attacks in 2016"

Regelmäßig veröffentlichte Zahlen der Nachrichtenagentur des "Islamischen Staates" deuten Thomas Joscelyn zufolge darauf hin, dass die Terrormiliz im vergangenen Jahr so viele Selbstmordanschläge wie nie zuvor verübt haben könnte. "On Jan. 1, Amaq posted an infographic summarizing 107 'martyrdom operations' in Iraq and Syria for the month of Dec. 2016. As The Long War Journal repeatedly documented last year, Amaq produces a similar image each month. The total for all twelve months of 2016 is 1,141 suicide bombings, including 29 in Libya. If Amaq’s figures are accurate, then the Islamic State set a new record high for suicide attacks in 2016. Indeed, the scale of such operations is incredible, even by the standards of modern jihadist organizations. For example, the Taliban claims that its members were responsible for just 32 'martyrdom' attacks during the same time frame. (...) However, there are important caveats to keep in mind when assessing Amaq’s claims. First, it is not possible to validate the total figures provided by Amaq. (...) Furthermore, while open source reporting corroborates many such operations, it is unlikely that all of the suicide attacks are tracked in publicly-available sources."

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