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Analysis & Commentary - Thomas Joscelyn

Thomas Joscelyn's Latest Articles

15th July 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Khorasan arm of Islamic State again strikes Afghan ministry in Kabul

Thomas Joscelyn

A suicide bomber struck the Afghan government’s Rural Rehabilitation and Development Ministry in Kabul earlier today. The Islamic State quickly claimed responsibility for the attack via its Amaq News Agency, which released a one-page report on the bombing. The so-called caliphate subsequently released another claim of responsibility as well. more...

15th July 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Islamic State targets rival jihadists and Islamists in northern Syria

Thomas Joscelyn

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Islamic State continues to operate throughout Syria, including in the northwestern province of Idlib. 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. more...

13th July 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Turkish-speaking jihadist group holds Assad loyalist captive in Latakia

Thomas Joscelyn

Shortly after Ansar al-Islam announced its responsibility for a successful raid against Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Latakia, another small jihadist group advertised its own participation. more...

13th July 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Islamic State claims suicide bombing at election rally in Pakistan

Thomas Joscelyn

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a devastating suicide bombing carried out in Mastung, Baluchistan earlier today. more...

11th July 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Ansar al-Islam raids Assad regime position in Latakia

Thomas Joscelyn

Ansar al-Islam, a small Sunni jihadist group, has claimed responsibility for a raid against Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Latakia province. The group released a set of photos documenting the raid, which took place yesterday in the Jabal Turkman (Turkmen Mountain) region. More than two dozen of Assad’s fighters were killed in the attack, according to multiple sources. more...

11th July 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Islamic State claims suicide attack on Syrian and Russian forces in southern Syria

Thomas Joscelyn

The Islamic State claimed a suicide bombing west of Daraa in southern Syrian yesterday, saying 50 men from the “Crusader Russian Forces” and “the Apostate Nusayri Army” (a derogatory reference to Bashar al Assad’s soldiers) were killed or wounded in the explosion. The so-called caliphate identified the “martyrdom-seeking” jihadist as “brother Abu al-Zubayr al-Ansari” and added an interesting note. Al-Ansari was dispatched by a new Islamic State “province,” Wilayah Hawran, which was apparently established to operate in southwestern Syria, near the Jordanian border. more...

10th July 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Analysis: The Turkistan Islamic Party’s jihad in Syria

Thomas Joscelyn

On May 21, the Turkistan Islamic Party’s (TIP) arm in Syria released an hour-plus, documentary-style video encouraging Muslims in the West to emigrate for jihad. There is a deluge of jihadist-related content online these days, with much of it being redundant. But the production was noteworthy because the TIP, which is predominately comprised of ethnic Uighurs, framed its jihad as part of al Qaeda’s global struggle. more...

3rd July 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Baghdadi’s son killed fighting Syrian and Russian forces, Islamic State says

Thomas Joscelyn

According to the text on the image, Hudhayfah al-Badri “was killed in an inghimasi operation against the Nusayriyyah and the Russians at the thermal power station in” the Homs province. “Nusayriyyah” is a derogatory reference to Bashar al Assad’s regime and its Alawite supporters. more...

27th June 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Jihadists try to rally opposition in southern Syria

Thomas Joscelyn

Jihadist groups in Syria are attempting to rally insurgents against an offensive launched by the Assad regime, Russia and their allies in the southwest part of the country. Syrian and Russian warplanes have been pounding locations inside the city of Daraa, as well as areas in the surrounding countryside, for more than a week. more...

19th June 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

US-led coalition targets Islamic State’s oil and gas network

Thomas Joscelyn

The US-led coalition announced today that four members of the Islamic State’s oil and gas network were targeted and killed during “operations” on May 26. more...

18th June 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Taliban rejects ceasefire extension, resumes attacks on ‘internal puppets’

Bill Roggio, Thomas Joscelyn

The Taliban has rejected a request by the Afghan government to extend its short-lived ceasefire. “Mujahideen throughout the country are ordered to continue their operations against the foreign invaders and their internal puppets as before,” the group said in a short statement published on its Voice of Jihad website on June 17. more...

11th June 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Islamic State claims responsibility for bombing outside Afghan ministry in Kabul

Thomas Joscelyn

The Islamic State quickly claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at the gate outside of the Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development in Kabul earlier today. more...

9th June 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Analysis: Taliban will halt attacks on Afghan government for 3 days

Bill Roggio, Thomas Joscelyn

The Taliban has released a short statement saying it will halt attacks on the Afghan government for three days. The group doesn’t specifically mention the government’s unilateral ceasefire, which was announced on June 7. more...

8th June 2018 – The Weekly Standard

Credulity as Policy

Bill Roggio, Thomas Joscelyn

Ashraf Ghani, the president of Afghanistan, announced June 7 that his government’s forces would unilaterally enter into a ceasefire with the Taliban until June 20. It remains to be seen how the Taliban responds. The jihadists didn’t agree to the plan beforehand and may simply use the lull in fighting to plan the next wave in their nationwide assault on the government. more...

8th June 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Analysis: A misbegotten ‘ceasefire’ in Afghanistan

Bill Roggio, Thomas Joscelyn

more...

4th June 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Suicide bomber strikes religious conference in Kabul

Thomas Joscelyn

A suicide bomber struck a meeting of the Afghan Ulema Council (AUC) in Kabul earlier today. The Taliban's spokesman denied that his group had any connection to the attack. However, the Islamic State claimed responsibility via its Amaq News Agency, which released two short messages on the "martyrdom" operation. more...

31st May 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Taliban and Islamic State target religious opponents in Afghanistan

Thomas Joscelyn

According to a State Department report published this week, the Taliban continues "to assassinate and threaten religious leaders with death for preaching messages contrary to" its "interpretation of Islam or its political agenda.” As part of its widespread assassination campaign, Taliban gunmen have been killing "imams and other religious officials throughout the country.” more...

31st May 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

State Department amends terror designation for Al Nusrah Front

Thomas Joscelyn

The State Department has amended the terrorist designation for Al Nusrah Front to include the "alias" Hay'at Tahrir al Sham (HTS). State's announcement indicates that the US government still considers HTS to be part of al Qaeda's network, despite the jihadists' vitriolic disputes over its formation. State didn't explain its reasoning behind the move. more...

31st May 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Islamic State releases photo of 10-man team responsible for Kabul raid

Thomas Joscelyn

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. more...

30th May 2018 – FDD's Long War Journal

Islamic State claims its soldier killed 3 in Liège, Belgium

Thomas Joscelyn

The Islamic State's Amaq News Agency has issued a short statement claiming that the assailant who conducted the attack in Liège, Belgium yesterday was one of the group's soldiers. Amaq did not provide any descriptive information about the attacker, whom authorities have identified as a criminal on temporary leave from prison. more...