ISIS Claims Suicide Bombing in Afghanistan That Killed 35

Afghan security forces members inspect the site of a suicide attack near a new Kabul Bank in Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, April, 18, 2015.

Afghan security forces members inspect the site of a suicide attack near a new Kabul Bank in Jalalabad, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, April, 18, 2015.

This is the first major ISIS attack in Afghanistan

Time Magazine, by , April 18, 2015:

At least 35 people died in a suicide bomb attack in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday morning, with the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) claiming responsibility for what, if confirmed, would be the terrorist group’s first major attack in the country.

More than 100 people were wounded in the bombing outside a bank branch in Jalalabad in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province.

“Who claimed responsibility for horrific attack in Nangarhar today? The Taliban did not claim responsibility for the attack, Daesh [as ISIS is also known] claimed responsibility for the attack,” Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani said during a visit to northeastern province of Badakhshan. He did not identify the source for the claim.

Separately, a militant group linked to ISIS reportedly released a picture of the alleged suicide bomber who struck the bank branch in Jalalabad as people queued up outside to collected their paychecks. The New York Times identified the branch as same one that was attacked in 2011. Responsibility for that bombing, which killed 38 people, was claimed by the Taliban.

A Taliban spokesman denied responsibly for the suicide attack on Saturday, telling Reuters: “It was an evil act. We strongly condemn it.”

If confirmed as an ISIS attack, Saturday’s suicide bombing would mark a significant expansion of the terrorist group’s activities from its base in the Middle East. The attack comes against the backdrop of a significantly reduced presence of foreign troops in the conflict-ridden nation as international forces exit Afghanistan. In March, President Obama announced a slowdown in the pace of withdrawal of U.S. troops in the country, saying America would maintain a nearly 10,000-strong force in Afghanistan through 2015.

The announcement was made during a visit to the U.S. by President Ghani, who, in a speech before a joint session of the U.S. Congress, warned of the “terrible threat” posed by ISIS to the “states of western and central Asia.”

“Terrorist movements whose goal is to destabilize every state in the region are looking for new bases of operation,” he said. “We’re the front line. But terrorists neither recognize boundaries [nor] require passports to spread their message of hate and discord. From the west, the Daesh is already sending advanced guards to southwestern Afghanistan.”

The suicide bombing was one of three explosions that shook Jalalabad on Saturday morning, including what was reported to be a controlled detonation after authorities discovered motorcycle rigged with explosives.

BOMBSHELL: Afghan Colonel Was Paid $250,000 to Kill US Air Force Personnel, Pentagon Cover-Up Ensued

Thomas Creal, lead accountant for Task Force 2010, in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2012. Creal, in the blue shirt, was part of a team tracking what he calls “black money” used by terrorists to conduct operations against the West. (Photo courtesy Thomas Creal)

Thomas Creal, lead accountant for Task Force 2010, in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2012. Creal, in the blue shirt, was part of a team tracking what he calls “black money” used by terrorists to conduct operations against the West. (Photo courtesy Thomas Creal)

PJ Media, By Patrick Poole On April 15, 2015:

A bombshell revelation has emerged in the incident responsible for the greatest US Air Force loss of life during the War on Terror and deadliest “green-on-blue” attack during the US involvement in Afghanistan. On April 27, 2011, Afghan Air Force Colonel Ahmad Gul gunned down eight US Air Force personnel and a civilian contractor inside the Afghan Air Force headquarters, including investigators who had just arrived in country to examine rampant corruption in the Afghan military.

Multiple Air Force and CENTCOM investigations claimed to find no motive for the attack, leaving the families of those killed with no answers. Now a senior US official has gone on the record claiming that a United Nations team tracked substantial payments to the killer and his family made days just prior to the incident.

These revelations appear in the season finale of For The Record that airs tonight at 8pm ET on The Blaze TV.

For the past year I have worked as a consultant with the For The Record documentary investigative team looking into the Kabul airport massacre and the Pentagon’s handling of the matter. Last November, I appeared in an episode of the program noting that the Pentagon’s multiple explanations for the attack didn’t match their own forensics. Here’s a trailer for that For the Record episode, “Insider Attack”:

A follow-up report on the Pentagon’s handling of the spike in “green-on-blue” incidents appeared in January after the killing of US Army Major General Harold Greene in August last year, the highest-ranking US official killed during the War on Terror, noting that US personnel who warned of a potential escalation of insider attacks were punished by their superiors:

Tonight’s For the Record episode includes an interview with one of the top US officials charged with combating illicit financing in Afghanistan who reveals the pay-offs made to Col. Ahmad Gul:

Sara Carter, senior investigative reporter for The Blaze, reported today on the stunning revelation that this official’s team tracked $250,000 in payments to the killer:

A final investigation by U.S. Central Command did find circumstantial evidence that Gul may have been involved in a criminal network, but that evidence was not pursued and a large portion of the investigation still remains classified, according to CENTCOM.

But a six-month investigation by For the Record suggests that Gul murdered the airmen at the behest of someone or a criminal network, according to numerous sources and military documents.

For the Record learned that a joint investigation conducted by then-U.S. Task Force 2010, charged at the time with tracing terror financing in Afghanistan and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, found that Gul had received a large deposit in a family bank account and that all of his debts were wiped clean just one week before the killings.

Thomas Creal, who served as the lead expert for Task Force 2010, investigated the killer’s finances and found evidence he says overwhelmingly points to Gul’s connection to criminal networks.

This report has never been made public.

“There was extensive corruption inside the Afghan military and investigations were cut short, hampered by ranking personnel at the State Department and military,” Creal said. “The insider killings don’t need to continue. We can take steps to mitigate these suicidal hits but we can’t do it if evidence is ignored.”

The Pentagon cover-up began almost immediately after the massacre, most likely to avoid embarrassing revelations of rampant corruption by our Afghan “allies”. The initial report had to be followed up by a second and third report after the lies in the first began to be challenged, including the first report’s claim that Gul had committed suicide after the attack, but was later have found to die from gunshot wounds to the chest from two different weapons.

And despite overwhelming evidence to the effect found in their own reports, the Pentagon claimed to find no conclusive evidence of Taliban involvement even though the terror group immediately claimed credit for the attack.

This resulted in bizarre reporting on the Pentagon’s findings, such as an Air Force Times article entitled, “Motive in Kabul shooting deaths remains elusive,” that reports:

Witnesses told investigators that Gul became increasingly radical in his religious views in the years leading up to the shooting and was deeply angry at the U.S. invasion of his home country — even saying on more than one occasion that he “wanted to kill Americans”

The Afghan shooter who smeared “God is one” in blood on the walls of the Afghan Air Force headquarters during the rampage a was a distinctly different man from several decades earlier.

According to testimony from those who knew Gul, in the late ‘80s, the Afghan native drank, liked to party and wasn’t terribly religious. But just a few years later, in about 1995, that changed when Gul started to follow the teachings of the Taliban.

He attended mosque for every prayer time and grew a beard. He also “developed an authoritarian approach when seeing other individuals that did not practice Islam to his liking,” according to one person who knew Gul at the time…

In 2006, Gul decided to move to Pakistan and started attending a local mosque, where he met an “unknown prominent figure” who is believed to have radicalized him. There were also rumors that Gul wanted to be a suicide bomber.

When Gul decided to move back to Afghanistan in 2008, people asked him why he would go back.

“[Gul] responded he ‘wanted to kill Americans,’” investigators said.

But the Pentagon concluded that his possible motive remained elusive.

More explosive details from this investigation will be revealed during tonight’s For the Record’s season finale episode, “Insider Attack: The Kabul Massacre,” at 8 p.m. ET onTheBlazeTV.

Also see:

ISIS Eyes Iran in AF/PAK Expansion Effort, Targets Mullah Omar in IO Campaign

February 22, 2015 / /

Reporting over the last couple of weeks suggests that the Islamic State’s (IS) Khorasan Regional Command or “Khorasan Shura” has stepped up their efforts to further inflame internal divisions within the Taliban (TB) in the hopes it would lead to more defections. The IO campaign they’ve been waging in the AF/PAK region has called into question Mullah Omar’s fitness to be a leader in the global jihadist movement and whether he’s even alive. In early-JAN 15 TB Shura Chief Akhtar Muhammad Mansur and other Shura members are reported to have met with two IS representatives who threatened to increase their operations in two months if the TB couldn’t prove that Mullah Omar was still alive. Our sources have also informed us that Pakistani Taliban (TTP) Emir Maulawi Fazlullah remains loyal to Omar, but may defect to IS if his death is confirmed. Apparently the question of whether or not Omar is alive has been a big subject of debate, with other TTP commanders wondering if Fazlullah has even been in contact with him. As it stands right now, Omar’s current status remains a mystery. Having said that, IS directly challenging Omar’s legitimacy and suggesting that he’s dead appears to be having an effect in at least planting the seeds of further internal unrest among the ranks.

ISIS Reportedly Begins Targeting Taliban Commanders Loyal to al-Qaida
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4593

ISIS Formally Establishes an Affiliate for the AF/PAK Region
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4578

The terrifying rise of ISIS: Map that shows how terror group’s tentacles now reach from Algeria to Afghanistan
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2960463/The-terrifying-rise-ISIS-Map-shows-terror-group-s-tentacles-reach-Algeria-Afghanistan.html

How ISIS Has Expanded Beyond Its Syrian Stronghold
http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2015/02/18/387149112/how-isis-has-expanded-beyond-its-syrian-stronghold

ISIS vs. the Taliban: The Battle for Hearts and Minds
http://www.vocativ.com/world/afghanistan-world/isis-vs-taliban/

The Coming Fight for Khorasan: IS Gearing up Against the Taliban
https://news.siteintelgroup.com/blog/index.php/entry/362-the-coming-fight-for-khorasan-is-gearing-up-against-the-taliban

US Afghan commander: Reports of ISIS recruiting
http://thehill.com/policy/defense/229783-us-afghan-commander-reports-of-isis-recruiting

ISIS trying to expand its influence in Pakistan, distributes pamphlets
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/ISIS-trying-to-expand-its-influence-in-Pakistan-distributes-pamphlets/articleshow/41618755.cms

Taliban Supreme leader Mullah Omar has possibly died
http://www.khaama.com/taliban-supreme-leader-mullah-omar-has-possibly-died-8778

Mullah Omar’s whereabouts – and very existence – shrouded in mystery
http://centralasiaonline.com/en_GB/pakistan-articles/caii/features/pakistan/main/2014/09/30/feature-01

mullah Fazlullah

Mullah Fazlullah
Source: SITE Intelligence Group

mullah omar

Mullah Omar: Dead or Alive?
Source: tribune.com.pk

One of the figures who played a key role in establishing the IS foothold in the region is a former TB commander Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadim, who served as the Shadow Governor of Uruzgan Province from 2007 – 2009 and did a stint in Guantanamo Bay (GITMO). After his release from GITMO, he had a falling out with TB leadership that led to his marginalization within the terror organization and subsequent defection to IS. He was a key player in the IS expansion efforts currently underway in Helmand Province and led the charge in the red-on-red fight against the TB’s Helmand Shadow Governor Mullah Ahmed Shah. The US government claims to have killed Khadim in a drone strike earlier this month, but we have not yet seen confirmation either way. However, whether he’s dead or not is irrelevant as he wasn’t a member of the Khorasan Shura – which remains largely intact.

ISIS recruiter, once freed from Gitmo by U.S., killed in drone strike in Afghanistan
http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/09/world/afghanistan-violence/

Capture the Flag in Afghanistan
http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/01/22/capture-the-flag-in-afghanistan/

Islamic State Appoints Leaders of “Khorasan Province,” Issues Veiled Threat to Afghan Taliban
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/01/islamic_state_appoin.php

khorasan shura

Breakdown of the Khorasan Shura
Source: The Long War Journal

In our Inside Iran’s Middle East Series piece titled, “Inside Iran’s Middle East: The Southeast Insurgency,” we stated that either al-Qaida (AQ) or IS may attempt to use the Afghanistan and Pakistan as support nodes for a new front opened up in Southeast Iran to force the regime into diverting resources from the Syrian war effort back to home. IS’ expansion efforts in Afghanistan’s Southern provinces adds weight to this assessment as those locations all fall within known routes used to smuggle opium and weapons between Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Keep in mind that AQ’s Khorasan Group (KG) has a great deal of experience in fighting the IRGC inside Iran that resulted in forging relationships with Baloch groups such as Jundallah. More importantly, some of KG’s personnel that deployed to Syria are reported to have defected to IS.

We assess some of those personnel are part of the training support package that was sent to Afghanistan in the DEC 14/JAN 15 time frame or possibly earlier. The training cadre sent to the country are likely still in the assess-mode taking note of each loyal faction’s strength’s and weaknesses to draw up the training plan that will probably take effect by the end of this month. During this year’s fighting season Afghanistan’s Hazara Shia population may begin to experience the same level of targeting that they received prior to 9-11 as a means of getting Iran’s attention and building notoriety. Red on red violence will also pick up. By AUG the IS affiliates will be fully trained with recruits gaining much-needed experience. We could very well well see former KG members who defected to IS leading the engagement efforts reaching out to Jundallah (and other Baloch groups in Iran) by the end of the year. Jundallah – like everybody else in that part of the world – will likely flip to IS’ side after being offered money, weapons and manpower to accelerate their regenerative process. The leadership of the various Baloch groups may not approve of IS’ ideology or even the legitimacy of Baghdadi’s “Caliphate” – to them it would be a marriage of convenience. However, this will be a project that will take at least another year to fully manifest itself. If you think this will be easier for US troops stationed in Afghanistan, think again, because both IS and TB factions loyal to AQ will be competing for the title of who can launch the more high-profile attacks. Needless to say, this year’s fighting season looks to be one of the worst. Keep an eye on this one…

Inside Iran’s Middle East: The Southeast Insurgency
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2689

ISIS (Daesh) start operations in Helmand, residents claim
http://www.khaama.com/isis-daesh-start-operations-in-helmand-residents-claim

ISIS expansion map

The graphic above depicts IS’ expansion from the Maghreb to Afghanistan and Pakistan
Source: UK Daily Mail

Links to Other Related Articles:

Afghanistan Update – Yes, Things Are Getting Worse Contrary To US Government Claims

Afghanistan: A Case Against a Residual US Military Presence

The History and Capabilities of the Khorasan Group

The Khorasan Group: Threat to US Homeland?

US Government: Syria-Based al-Qaida Cell Bigger Threat Than ISIS

US reportedly increases secret raids against Afghanistan insurgents

Feb. 12, 2015: Afghanistan National Army officers march during a graduation ceremony at a training center in Herat, west of Kabul. Around 1, 200 national army officers graduated after receiving a 3 month training program in Herat. (AP Photo/Hoshang Hashimi)

Feb. 12, 2015: Afghanistan National Army officers march during a graduation ceremony at a training center in Herat, west of Kabul. Around 1, 200 national army officers graduated after receiving a 3 month training program in Herat. (AP Photo/Hoshang Hashimi)

Fox News, Feb. 13, 2015:

U.S. Special Forces soldiers and their Afghan allies have undertaken an increasing number of night raids targeting Taliban and Al Qaeda militants, despite Washington formally declaring an end to combat operations late last year, according to a published report.

The New York Times reports that the increased raids are partially the result of intelligence seized in October of last year, when U.S. and Afghan commandos came upon a laptop computer with files detailing terror operations in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan. Military officials tell the paper that the information in the files could be as significant as what was found on a computer in Usama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound after the terror leader was killed by Navy SEALs in 2011.

The officials also said that another factor playing the role in the increased raids were loosened restrictions on nighttime operations put in place by the new Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani. Ghani has previously called for a slower withdrawal of U.S. troops from his country. Current plans call for the U.S. to go from about 10,800 troops there now to 5,500 by the end of this year.

The U.S. and its NATO allies formally announced the end of their combat mission in Afghanistan in December and trumpeted the withdrawal of most combat troops. However, under the terms of a security agreement with the Afghan government, just over 13,000 troops, most of them American, were to stay on in an advisory role.

However, American and Afghan officials tell The Times that U.S. troops are taking a lead role in the latest counterterror raids, and not merely going along as advisers. The raids are also unusual in that they are coming during the winter, which is traditionally the season where the fighting is lightest.

“It’s all in the shadows now,” said a former Afghan security official told the paper. “The official war for the Americans — the part of the war that you could go see — that’s over. It’s only the secret war that’s still going. But it’s going hard.”

News of the increased raids comes one day after the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he wants greater flexibility in in how quickly he pulls troops out of Afghanistan and where he can position them around the country in the coming months.

Gen. John Campbell said that by keeping more than 5,500 troops in Afghanistan through the end of the year, Campbell would be able to maintain forces in other locations around the country, both training the Afghan forces and providing support for more counterterrorism missions.

“I’m particularly concerned about the summer of 2015,” Campbell said. “The Afghans — this is the very first fighting season completely on their own.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Click for more from The New York Times. 

Taliban claim insider attack at Kabul Airport that killed 3 US contractors

afghan_insider_attacks_mediumLWJ, by Bill Roggio, Jan. 30, 2015:

The Taliban claimed last evening’s attack at Kabul International Airport that killed three American contractors. The insider or green-on-blue attack, where a member of the Afghan security forces kills Coalition personnel, is the first of its kind recorded this year.

The attacker, who was dressed in an Afghan military uniform, killed the three contractors and wounded one, Major General Haq Nawaz Haqyar, the commander of Afghan police at the airport, told Pajhwok Afghan News. An Afghan was also killed in the shooting, Haqyar said. It is unclear if the Afghan who was killed was the shooter.

The US Department of Defense confirmed that three Americans and an Afghan were killed in the shooting.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Muhajid claimed the attack in two statements on his Twitter account, and said it was executed by Ihsanullah, an “infiltrator … from Laghman province working inside Kabul airport.”

“The attack killed 3 American terrorists and wounded 4 others before the infiltrator was martyred by return fire,” Muhajid claimed. The tweet included the hashtag “Khaibar,” a reference to the Taliban’s offensive that was announced in May 2014. The Taliban said it will continue to launch insider attacks, as well as encourage Afghan soldiers to execute such operations.

The Taliban have devoted significant effort into attempts to kill NATO troops and foreigners by infiltrating the ranks of Afghan security forces. Mullah Omar affirmed this in a statement released on Aug. 16, 2012, when he claimed that the group had “cleverly infiltrated in the ranks of the enemy according to the plan given to them last year [2011],” and he urged government officials and security personnel to defect to the Taliban as a matter of religious duty. Omar also noted that the Taliban had created the “Call and Guidance, Luring and Integration” department, “with branches … now operational all over the country,” to encourage defections. [See Threat Matrix report, Mullah Omar addresses green-on-blue attacks.]

Overall number of insider attacks still unknown

The last known insider attack took place on Sept. 16, 2014 in the western province of Farah. In that attack, an Afghan soldier gunned down a Coalition trainer inside a military base.

The previous attack occurred on Aug. 5 at a training center in Kabul. An Afghan soldier killed a US major general and wounded 16 more military personnel, including a US brigadier general, a German general, five British troops, and at least one Afghan officer. The Taliban did not claim credit for the attack, but praised the Afghan soldier who executed it.

There were four insider attacks recorded in Afghanistan in 2014, according to The Long War Journal’s statistics. The number of reported green-on-blue attacks on Coalition personnel in Afghanistan has dropped steeply since a peak of 44 in 2012. In 2013, there were 13 such attacks. [For in-depth information, see LWJ special report, Green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan: the data.]

The decline in attacks may be due to several factors, including the continuing drawdown of Coalition personnel, reduced partnering with Afghan forces, and the adoption of heightened security measures in interactions between Coalition and Afghan forces.

However, many insider attacks remain unreported. If an attack by Afghan personnel does not result in a death or injury, and it is not reported in the press, the Coalition will not release a statement on the incident.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which was disbanded at the end of 2014, told The Long War Journal in March 2012 that “these statistics,” the number of attacks that did not result in a casualty, are “classified.”

“[A]ttacks by ANSF on Coalition Forces … either resulting in non-injury, injury or death … these stats as a whole (the total # attacks) are what is classified and not releasable,” Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Cummings, ISAF’s former Press Desk Chief, told The Long War Journal. Cummings said that ISAF is “looking to declassify this number.” The number was never declassified.

Islamic State appoints leaders of ‘Khorasan province,’ issues veiled threat to Afghan Taliban

Khorassan Shura_Org-thumb-560x420-5469

An organizational overview of the Khorasan Shura. The Islamic State has appointed Hafez Saeed Khan as the Governor of Khorasan province.

By

Abu Muhammad al Adnani, a spokesman for the Islamic State, announced the group’s “expansion” into the lands of “Khorasan” — modern day Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of the surrounding countries — and declared former Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan (Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan or TTP) commander Hafez Saeed Khan as the “governor” of Khorasan province. Khan had previously served as the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan’s emir for the tribal agency of Arakzai.

Adnani made his announcement in a nearly seven minute audio taped speech titled, “Say, Die in Your Rage!” which was published on Jan. 26 2015 by the Islamic State’s Al Furqan media outlet. [For a translation of the speech, by Pieter Van Ostaeyen, see ‘Audio Statement by IS Spokesman Abu Muhammad al-‘Adnani as-Shami.’]

The declaration comes only a few weeks after a conglomeration of former TTP officials formed the Khorasan Shura and pledged bayat, or allegiance, to the Islamic State. [See Long War Journal report, Pakistani Taliban splinter group again pledges allegiance to Islamic State.]

The Islamic State spokesman acknowledged Khan’s pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi as Commander of the Faithful and the Caliph of Muslims, and claimed that Baghdadi had accepted the pledge and appointed Khan as the province’s governor and Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadim as the deputy governor. Khadim, a former Guantanamo detainee and former senior Taliban commander in southern Afghanistan, has reportedly been operating in Helmand province on behalf of the Islamic State. [See Long War Journal report, Ex-Gitmo detainee leads contingent of Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan.]

Adnani further urged the “mujahideen in Khorasan” to come forth and obey the commands of Khan and Khadim. Notably, Adnani also urged caution in his call to arms, noting that “the factions will assemble against you and the rifles and bayonets fixed against you will multiply.” He encouraged the mujahideen to stand firm against “factionalism and disunity” and to meet these challenges by “unsheathing your swords and spears.” Although not clearly stated, Adnani was issuing a veiled threat to the Taliban factions, both Afghan and Pakistani, that opposed the creation of the Khorasan Shura and who were opposed to the Islamic State.

The Afghan Taliban movement has been consistent in avoiding recognizing the Islamic State and its Caliph Abu Bakr al Baghdadi since the reclusive leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Omar, has previously held the title of Commander of the Faithful position since 1996.

Adnani’s declaration and Baghdadi’s reported approval for the Islamic State to expand into Afghanistan and Pakistan could incite divisions within the various Taliban factions operating in both countries. The cohesion of many Taliban factions has been compromised over the past few years, mostly due to attrition and leadership decapitations, as well as ideological differences and personal feuds.

Islamic State Now Opening…In Afghanistan

Recently several Taliban leader were seen swearing their allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in a video.

Recently several Taliban leader were seen swearing their allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in a video.

CSP, by Sean MacCormac, Jan. 15, 2015:

Afghani officials claim that the Islamic State is operating in Afghanistan less than a month after the cessation of US combat operations in the area. Several sources, including General Mahmood Khan of the Afghan National Army and an unnamed provincial governor, have reported that a man known as Mullah Abdul Rauf was active and recruiting people for ISIS in the southern province of Helmand. General Khan, the deputy commander of the 215th Corps, stated that “(A) number of tribal leaders, jihadi commanders and some ulema and other people have contacted me to tell me that Mullah Rauf had contacted them and invited them to join him.”

The Taliban apparently see ISIS as a threat and have warned people in Helmand not to trust the newcomers. Amir Mohammad Akundzada, the governor of Nimroz province and a distant relative of Rauf, has stated that Mullah Rauf is a former Taliban leader. Mullah Rauf was captured by US forces in 2001 and was imprisoned in Guantanamo for six yearsbefore being released, and had a falling out with the Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Both Khan and Akundzada believe that Rauf may have had his disagreements with the Afghan Taliban after spending time in Quetta, Pakistan.

A video showing members of the estranged Pakistani Taliban swearing fealty to ISIS has emerged, though there is no independent verification of Taliban leaders allying themselves to ISIS. The Pakistani Taliban officials in the video do state that they have shifted their alliance from Mullah Omar to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. This appears to be the first serious challenge to the Taliban’s authority in some time. Further reports state that an Islamic State-affiliated group known as Khorasan is attempting to recruit fighters in Wardak province. Akundzada believes that the ISIS affiliated fighters and Taliban are really one in the same; “…one day they are wearing white clothes (of the Taliban) and the next day they have black clothes and call themselves Daesh, but they are the same people.” Reports state that around twenty people have been killed so far in skirmishes between Taliban and pro-ISIS fighters. However, the Afghani Ministry of the Interior denies that there are any ISIS operatives active in the country.

The fact that ISIS, if it actually is making a serious attempt to expand into Afghanistan, and is operating in Helmand province should be cause for concern. Helmand is infamous for being Afghanistan’s most dangerous province, and has been a traditional stronghold for the Taliban. Given the Afghani government’s track record with securing the country, ISIS could prove to be an even greater threat to the Afghan government than the Taliban ever was.

Also see:

Taliban flexing muscle with high-profile attacks ahead of US drawdown

120214_sr_taliFox News, By Justin Fishel, Jennifer Griffin, Dec. 2. 2014:

The Taliban are flexing their muscle with a series of high-profile attacks in recent weeks, showing they are far from defeated as the U.S. prepares to withdraw most of its forces from Afghanistan at year’s end.

The Taliban have staged at least 12 attacks targeting foreigners in the past three weeks, many of them inside Kabul.

Although the top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Campbell, has said any talk of a Taliban resurgence is “absolutely false,” critics who have watched the Islamic State sweep over Iraq after the U.S. withdrawal are looking on nervously.

The Afghanistan attacks come as the U.S. prepares to pull out all but nearly 10,000 troops.

Retired Gen. Jack Keane, a Fox News military analyst, said the current problem in Kabul was avoidable.

“We predicted that we were going to have major problems around Kabul and to the east of Kabul to the Pakistan border with the Haqqani network,” Keane said, referencing the powerful Pakistan-based Taliban affiliate. “The president did not give us the full number of surge forces, and then over General Petraeus’ objections, he pulled them out early.”

Aid and charity groups in the region are urging their workers to leave the country over the Christmas holidays. Even the Canadian Embassy issued an advisory to its citizens cautioning all of them to leave immediately.

“If you choose to travel to Afghanistan despite this warning, you are taking a serious risk. … If you are already in Afghanistan, you should leave,” the message said.

On Saturday, a guest house of the California-based charity, Partnership in Academics and Development, was attacked by Taliban gunmen who killed a South African family – a father and his teenage son and daughter.

The family had lived there for 12 years. The Taliban accused them of being Christian missionaries. The mother, a South African doctor who had been working at a Kabul health clinic, has decided to remain in Kabul in defiance of the Taliban’s attempt to frighten international aid workers.

It was the third high-profile attack on western-occupied guest houses in the past 10 days. On Sunday, the Kabul police chief resigned.

So far this year, 36 aid workers have been killed and 95 wounded.

South of Kabul in the Helmand Province, it took the Afghan security forces three days to expel Taliban fighters who last Thursday overran Camp Bastion, the former British and American Marine base handed over to Afghan security forces four weeks ago.

The bulk of the U.S. and international forces will depart at the end of December and plan to hand over all combat missions to the Afghans. About 9,800 American forces will stay to “advise and assist” the Afghan Security Forces.

Many believe the attacks on foreigners are strategically timed by the Taliban to coincide with a two-day international aid conference in London and a NATO summit Tuesday in Brussels, where Afghanistan’s new president, Ashraf Ghani, urged the international community to stay.

“I pay tribute to more than 3,400 NATO personnel who did the ultimate sacrifice of losing their lives,” he said. “What brings us together is a compelling case of mutual interest.”

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby says the recent attacks by the Taliban are not a cause for major concern.

“I think what we’re seeing in Afghanistan in the last week or so was to be expected,” Kirby said at a Pentagon briefing Tuesday. “I would not consider what they’re doing a resurgence.

“It’s not atypical for them, around periods of transition in Afghanistan, whether it’s an election, or now, coming up in December, the end of the combat mission, for them to try to scare the local populace and try to terrorize people with sporadic attacks. But those attacks have had no strategic effect and I might add that the Afghan National Security Forces and police reacted bravely and quickly to each one of those attacks.”

Jennifer Griffin currently serves as a national security correspondent for FOX News Channel . She joined FNC in October 1999 as a Jerusalem-based correspondent. 

Also see:

Afghanistan: A Case Against a Residual US Military Presence

November 21, 2014 / ISIS Study Group:

The US government and Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) finally inked a bilateral security agreement (BSA) on 30 SEP 14 that will leave a residual US military force of 9,800 – 10,000 personnel in the country. Since the signing of the BSA the US government has been fueling the mainstream media with talk about how it may boost the chances for resuming peace talks with the Taliban by “demonstrating to the insurgents that they cannot hope to achieve a military victory.” We strongly disagree with this dangerously naive view of the situation on the ground in Afghanistan, and submit to the American people that the presence of US military personnel in the country is irrelevant. Why? Because the central government will fall whether a residual force is there or not. The only thing a continue US military presence will do is delay the inevitable.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/u-s-afghan-bilateral-security-agreement-signed-1412076436

http://www.stripes.com/news/security-pact-may-foster-afghan-peace-process-us-envoy-says-1.305996

ANA 1
ANA troops
Source: http://www.afghanistan-today.org/media/photos/ANAunit.jpg

So keeping this in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody that we had the customary “friday afternoon information dump” with the Obama administration authorizing an expansion of the US military’s residual force in Afghanistan starting in 2015 – complete with the same restrictive rules of engagement (ROE) that have led to so many deaths over the past 6 yrs in the country.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/22/us/politics/in-secret-obama-extends-us-role-in-afghan-combat.html?_r=0

Whereas the US government should’ve kept a residual force in Iraq, the opposite is true for Afghanistan. Here’s some of the primary reasons:

1. The Afghan people have no national identity. Where the average Iraqi (with the exception of the Kurds) identifies as being “Iraqi,” the Afghans’ loyalty falls in line with the following: Family, tribe, ethnic group, religion, nationality – all in this order. National identity is so far down on the totem pole that its barely a blip on their radar, and that’s one of the reasons why GIRoA can barely control Kabul. In other words, you’re more likely to find an Afghan who will identify as a being a member of the Zadran or Shirzai tribes than you will one who will identify himself as being “Afghan.” That’s a big problem to overcome in a country where unity is such a foreign concept. The UK and Soviets both tried – and failed in doing exactly what’s being attempted here. Should we really expect things to be different? Remember, even before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan the central government was having difficulty maintaining its grip away from the capital.

http://www.kabultec.org/ntlid.html

http://www.rferl.org/content/afghanistan-id-cards-ethnic-divisions/25205181.html

http://www.fravahr.org/spip.php?article424

2. Insider attacks. The concept of insider attacks have become a fixture in the enemy’s TTPs in the country – and enlisted men aren’t the only targets. Senior US military officers have also been targeted, with the most recent incident being the attack that led to the death of US Army MG Harold Greene. We assess that the restrictive ROE and ludicrous policy of “cultural sensitivity training” so as not to “offend” our Afghan National Army (ANA) counterparts will not prevent future insider attacks. Furthermore, the only reason there has been a drop in these attacks this year is because of the US drawdown. The ANA are now taking the brunt of insider attacks, and we have several contacts who have served in the country – some of which are still there– who have informed us that many of these incidents go unreported so as not to paint a “negative picture.” We had problems with the IA being compromised by the former regime and IRGC-Qods Force proxies, but never experienced attacks on this scale. It’s also worth noting that in the final days of the Soviet occupation, the Soviet Army was experiencing several insider attacks by Afghan military officers who defected to the Mujahidin. In fact, they saw an increase towards the end of their mission embedding advisors as whole units defected to the Mujaheddin.

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U.S. Weapons in Afghanistan Likely Reaching Insurgents, Report Warns

Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers prepare to participate in a military exercise on the outskirts of Kabul / AP

Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers prepare to participate in a military exercise on the outskirts of Kabul / AP

BY: :

After spending $626 million in taxpayer funds to arm the Afghanistan security forces, U.S. government inspectors have discovered that large portions of the weapons have gone missing and have likely fallen into the hands of militant insurgents, according to a new report.

In addition to these lost or misplaced weapons, government inspectors found that the United States has over-armed the Afghan forces, creating a glut of weaponry that is only expected to grow larger as the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) reduces its numbers.

Due to the Afghan government’s inability to properly account for and store these arms, U.S. inspectors are warning that the American weapons could fall into the hands of insurgents—a problem made more likely by the Pentagon’s lack of authority to recapture lost weapons.

“Given the Afghan government’s limited ability to account for or properly dispose of weapons, there is a real potential for these weapons to fall into the hands of insurgents,” the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstructions (SIGAR) wrote in a report released early Monday.

Pentagon “officials told SIGAR that they do not currently have the authority to recapture or remove weapons that have already been provided to the ANSF,” the report found.

This means that excess weapons—including rifles, pistols, machine guns, grenade launchers, and shotguns—that have not been tracked or stored properly could wind up anywhere.

“This issue will be compounded as the number of ANSF personnel decreases to lower levels in the coming years,” according to the report. “Without confidence in the Afghan government’s ability to account for or properly dispose of these weapons, SIGAR is concerned that they could be obtained by insurgents and pose additional risks to Afghan civilians and the ANSF.

The Pentagon has spent at least $626 million arming with Afghan forces with some 747,000 weapons and auxiliary equipment, including around 465,000 small arms weapons such as AK-47s and M16s.

Yet the Afghan government, which has been accused of corruption and malfeasance by SIGAR and others, has failed to provide proper oversight on the U.S. weapons.

Read more at Free Beacon

Daniel Greenfield on “How Obama Surrendered Iraq” – on The Glazov Gang

Front Page:

This week’s Glazov Gang was joined by Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He writes the blog, The Point, at Frontpagemag.com.

Daniel discussed “How Obama Surrendered Iraq,” outlining a Radical-in-Chief’s suicidal foreign policy [starting at the 8:30 mark].

The dialogue also involved an analysis of Obama’s disastrous Afghanistan give-away, more revelations on the Benghazi betrayal, the scandalous Taliban-Bergdahl swap, and much, much more:

Refusal by Our Leaders to Know the Enemy and Destroy Them Leads to Catastrophic Consequences

AQUTT, by John Guandolo:

The American military crushed the Islamic fighters on the field of battle in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet, long before the U.S. achieved unconditional surrender from the enemy – which never materialized – the State Department wrote constitutions in those two countries which created Islamic Republics under the rule of Sharia (Islamic Law), thus giving Al Qaeda two of its key regional objectives – Islamic States in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is one in a long line of policy, war fighting, and foreign policy decisions highlighting the failure of America’s leadership to know our enemy and defeat them. This failure is coming back to haunt us with the events currently unfolding in Iraq and will lead to the loss of Iraq to Jihadi forces, as has been predicted by anyone who understands this enemy.

Today, these Jihadi/Islamic forces – and it does not matter what they call themselves – are moving towards Baghdad and seek to defeat the Iraq military and overthrow the government. In the not-so-distant future, Iraq will fall under the control of the Shia – 60% of the Iraq population – in tandem with Iran. Once the Shia control Iraq, Saudi Arabia will be vulnerable, and they know it. This is why Saudi lobbied so hard for so long to keep American troops in Iraq.

All that is unfolding is the logical outcome of this enemy practically fulfilling its stated doctrine. The Global Islamic Movement does not hate us and wage war against the West because of something we did. Nor do they do it merely for land conquest and material gain.
This enemy does what it does because its doctrine requires it.

The enemy threat doctrine is Sharia (Islamic Law). It is what the enemy states it is fighting to impose on the world, and it is the blueprint for all they do. Sharia is the filter by which we must understand all of their communications at all levels especially militarily and politically.

“Implementation of Sharia law and replacement of system of nation states with a worldwide Caliphate are the ultimate political aims (of the Jihadis).”
NYPD Report: Radicalization in the West

All of the jihadis we capture on the battlefield; all of Al Qaeda’s writings and videos; all of the Muslim Brotherhood’s bylaws, strategic plans, and doctrine; and all of the jihadis we have caught or have conducted operations here in America state they do what they do to impose Sharia and re-establish the global Islamic State (Caliphate). In the investigative world that is called a “clue.” Where do the jihadis get these ideas from? The U.S. Attorney General, military leaders, FBI Director, DHS Secretary, Secretary of State, leaders of both political parties, and many other U.S. leaders call this ideology a “distorted version” or “radical interpretation” of Sharia. So we must ask the question…what Sharia law have you read?

As noted in the UTT May 8th blog article, 100% of all Islamic doctrine – including first grade school books in Islamic schools across the globe – define Islam as a “complete way of life (social, cultural, political, military, religious) governed by Islamic Law (Sharia).” 100% of all published authoritative Islamic Law obliges Jihad until the entire world is subordinated to Islamic Law. 100% of all published authoritative Islamic Law ONLY defines Jihad as “warfare against non-muslims.”

The next time someone tells you this is not true, ask them to produce one authoritative book on Islamic Law which details the “other version” of Islam as described by our leaders. You will not find it because it 1400 years it has never been written.

Until the time comes when America’s leaders decide to face reality that continues to smack us in the face – as jihadis are rising up in nearly every country around the world – that we have an enemy who is doing what they are doing because their doctrine requires it when they have the strength to carry it out, then we will continue to watch nations fall, tens of thousands of people be killed in barbaric ways, and our foreign policy and domestic “terrorism strategies” fail completely because our leaders have made the decision not to know the enemy.

Former FBI Special Agent and counterterrorism expert John Guandolo is the Founder of Understanding the Threat, an organization dedicated to providing threat-focused strategic and operational consultation, education, and training for federal, state and local leadership and agencies.

Dr. K, Wrong, Though Sincere

20110304_Krauthammer_OBAMAby ANDREW C. MCCARTHY:

This week on Fox News (here and here), the estimable Charles Krauthammer argued in favor of President Obama’s decision to swap detainees with a terrorist organization, indulging the administration’s portrayal of a “prisoner of war” exchange though the trade involves unlawful-combatant jihadists (two of them wanted for mass-murder war crimes) and a deserter.

I respectfully disagree.

Charles’s theory is that the West routinely engages in these sorts of swaps and should do so, despite always coming out on the short end, because it is a beneficial exhibition of the higher value we place on human life. I do not for a moment doubt Dr. K’s sincerity in stressing the value of human life, but I believe he is confounding the value and the exhibition – the high-minded display of good intentions. After all, as we shall see, his argument is a loser from a humanitarian perspective.

Charles appears to find the demonstration of our veneration of life beneficial because the so-called war on terror is, in part, a war of ideas. That is, even though these typically one-sided exchanges are a tactical victory for the terrorists, our cause is advanced over the long haul because the superiority of our values attracts convincible people to our side.

It is a nice thought, of a piece with the Lawyer Left pipe dream that we advance our security by bringing terrorists into our civilian criminal-justice system and abandoning such heavy-handed practices as coercive interrogation, military commissions, and indefinite law-of-war detention. Here’s the problem: These pieties do not correlate to real-world experience. Irresolute responses to barbarism beget more barbarism.

It is delusional to believe that most people in the Muslim Middle East view the conflict through our self-absorbed lens and perceive a contest between savage and noble principles. They have their own lens, and through it they see the strong horse versus the weak horse. You don’t win a war of ideas against a culture that brays, “We love death more than you love life!” by showing them how much you love life. To think otherwise is an example of what Roger Simon wrote about this week: the elevation of moral narcissism over objective reality.

Charles Krauthammer, of course, is no pie-in-the-sky progressive. So not surprisingly, he also cites a more concrete benefit of demonstrating our reverence for human life: It breeds a knowledge that we never abandon our captured troops, which is essential to the esprit de corps of the world’s most effective fighting force.

In principle, I agree. But in the Bergdahl-Taliban situation, the principle is inapposite. Charles, it turns out, is conflating some importantly distinct concepts. To begin with, there is a huge difference between how detainees are treated (a) in the midst of hostilities and (b) in an armistice at the conclusion of hostilities.

While combat is still raging – especially combat by terrorist methods that violate civilized norms – detainees should be held until the conclusion of hostilities unless there is some strategic advantage in releasing them. There can be no strategic advantage in replenishing the Taliban with five of its most capable commanders at a time when the Taliban, along with its al-Qaeda and Haqqani confederates, is still conducting offensive jihadist operations against both our troops in harm’s way and civilians.

On that score, it would not matter if the deserter Bowe Bergdahl were, instead, a heroic Audie Murphy. Indeed, as my old boss Rudy Giuliani observed on Sean Hannity’s program this week, an honorable American prisoner of war would not want to be released if the price were freeing five terrorists who would then gravely endanger his fellow troops.

Moreover, in stressing how a detainee swap satisfies the admirable objective of retrieving our captive troops, Charles misses the other side of the humanitarian ledger. The laws of war permit detention of enemy combatants until the conclusion of hostilities not to punish the captives but to promote peace. The theory is that depleting the enemy’s resources creates an incentive on the enemy’s part to seek a truce and bring the war to a swifter end with less bloodshed.

To the contrary, releasing enemy combatants while the war is still raging fortifies the enemy, incentivizes the enemy to extend the war, and causes more carnage. If we are going to talk about our values and the veneration of human life, it makes no sense to account for the marginal humanitarian benefit of obtaining the return of our captured troops while ignoring the humanitarian catastrophe of returning enemy detainees to a hot battlefield. That is especially so if the detainees in question are terrorists, who target civilians.

This is not to say that we forget about our captured troops. Far from it. We routinely divert military resources that could be devoted to other strategic wartime objectives in order to conduct combat rescue operations. But we do not “rescue” our captured troops by negotiating with terrorist organizations and releasing their captured operatives so the enemy can sustain itself and kill more American troops.

If we were talking about a settlement to conclude hostilities, Charles would have a point. When war ends, with it ends the law-of-war justification for detaining enemy combatants without trial. At that point, even detainees who continue to pose a threat must be released unless they can be charged with war crimes or other offenses. The five Taliban commanders, however, were not exchanged in a final settlement that ends the war. They are going back to a very lethal jihad.

The absurdity here is that President Obama seems to think he can bring a war to an end, abracadabra, by saying so. In reality, the war is not close to being over from the enemy’s point of view – they are continuing to fight. Under such circumstances, Obama can end the war only by surrendering. In effect, that is what he is doing, albeit in slow motion and under the camouflage of a risible Afghan “reconciliation process.” (Translation: The Taliban retakes the country in a way that is made to look like a political settlement rather than a jihadist coup.)

Read more: Family Security Matters

The Top 8 White House Bergdahl Lies

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Bergdahl was release May 31. In the days since, the administration has pushed the narrative that he was ill; his life was threatened; Congress was informed; this was not a negotiation with terrorists; he served with honor and distinction; the released Taliban leaders are not a threat; the Gitmo Five will be monitored by the U.S.; and this was the “last, best chance” to bring Bergdahl home. Every single one of these statements has been shown to be false — to be a lie.

By Joseph Miller:

It’s been just over a week since Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was released in exchange for five senior Taliban leaders held in Guantanamo Bay, and so far the Obama administration is averaging nearly a lie a day. Here are the top eight administration claims, laid out and debunked in full.

Lie #1: Bergdahl was very sick

Bergdahl’s health was not rapidly deteriorating, as the administration claimed. Reports have leaked that the only medical problems Bergdahl is suffering from are “gum and skin disorders” associated with poor hygiene.

The video of Sgt. Bergdahl’s handover to American forces that was released by the Taliban shows Sgt. Bergdahl looking relatively healthy. In the tape, he is seen walking into the company of U.S. special operations forces and then climbing into the aircraft without assistance. The video also shows him lucid and communicating with his captors. We know from previous reporting that he was able to write down the letters “SF” with a question mark on paper once inside the helicopter, as a way of asking his rescuers if they were special forces. This proved that his fine motor skills were intact, and that he was aware of his surroundings.

It has also been reported that one of the few exchange between Bergdahl’s rescuers and his captors was a question about his health. The Taliban said he was not sick. Finally, reports from Landsthul Regional Medical Center in Germany state that Sgt. Bergdahl has been in stable condition.

Lie #2: The Taliban threatened to kill Bergdahl

To further justify its decision not to inform Congress (in violation of the law), administration officials claimed that there was a threat to kill Bergdahl if details of the prisoner swap were released. But Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has stated that there is no credible information indicating that there was a threat to Berghdal’s life.

Lie #3: The administration informed Congress about the swap

Reports from Capitol Hill have informed us that the administration last discussed the possibility of a prisoner transfer with members of Congress several years ago. At that time, there was bipartisan and bicameral opposition to the idea. The law requires that the administration notify Congress 30 days prior to the release of any detainee from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The administration has admitted that it engaged in negotiations to secure the deal that set Bergdahl free for over a week prior to the swap. During that week, the administration never informed Congress — and only notified congressional leaders after the deal had been reached, after the detainees from Guantanamo were released, and after Berghdal was in American custody.

It appears that the administration chose to willfully violate the law by not informing Congress, as we now know that there was no credible threat to Bergdahl’s life, he wasn’t ill, and the administration was negotiating for over a week with his captors.

Read more at Daily Caller

Joseph Miller is the pen name for a senior Department of Defense official with a background in U.S. special operations and combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has worked in strategic planning.