Monday (12.29.18) 
  • Terrorists on Monday raided a military academy in Kabul, the Afghan capital, killing 11 soldiers, the fourth major attack in a spate of violence over the past nine days that is putting a new, more aggressive U.S. strategy under the spotlight. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack near the Marshal Fahim military academy on the city’s western outskirts, in which four of the gunmen were killed and one captured.
  • Gunmen killed at least three Malian soldiers in an attack on a military post in the northeast on Sunday, security sources and a local official said, capping a week of violence that has stoked concerns about worsening security in the arid region. The scrubland of West Africa’s Sahel region has been the scene of growing terrorist violence over the past year, some perpetrated by groups with links to ISIS and al Qaeda.
  • A Taliban suicide bomber detonated a vehicle borne improvised explosive device near the old ministry of interior building in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday. The attack killed more than 100 people and wounded at least 235 in the worst attack in the Afghan capital in months.
  • Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Saturday said his people would not be frightened by “barbaric attacks” after unidentified gunmen launched a pre-dawn assault on a military camp. It said 14 soldiers were killed and 15 others were wounded, adding that 17 of the attackers had been killed in the battle. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
  • Three members of the Revolutionary Guards and three ISIS terrorists were killed in clashes in the west of Iran on Saturday, a top Guards’ commander said. General Mohammad Pakpour, head of the Guards’ ground forces, said 16 terrorists were arrested and two fled but were now surrounded.
  • As many as six children were killed in fighting near the central Afghan city of Ghazni on Friday. Provincial officials said a Taliban mortar attack struck the village while the children were outside, killing the six and wounding two. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the air strike had killed seven civilians, wounded six and destroyed four houses.
  • The United States has delivered the last batch of Black Hawk helicopters for Jordan’s rapid deployment force to bolster border defenses and engage in cross-border operations against Islamic terrorists. U.S. officials say that military aid to Jordan, one of the largest recipients of its foreign military financing, helps to build the kingdom’s military capabilities as part of a wider regional strategy.
  • Ayman al Zawahiri, the head of al Qaeda, discusses the failures of the Arab uprisings in a newly-released audio message. His message is titled, “Seven Years Later, Where is the Salvation?” Zawahiri complains that “all of the revolutions were suppressed except Syria, which entered the spiral of international solutions,” meaning that powerful nations are now dictating the course of events.

Tuesday (1.30.18)

  • At least 11 people were killed on Tuesday in a suicide car bomb attack on a checkpoint in southeastern Yemen run by local forces backed by the United Arab Emirates, officials and residents said. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but it resembled previous operations by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula which operates in the area.
  • An explosion ripped through a car on Tuesday killing six members of a family driving to a Pakistan village to attend a funeral in the northwestern district of Kurram near the Afghanistan border, officials said. It was unclear whether the blast was a landmine or a roadside bomb planted by Islamist terrorists, said local government official Akbar Iftikhar. Both terrorists and the Pakistani military use landmines.
  • On Tuesday, the Philippine justice ministry filed charges of murder and kidnapping against a doctor linked to a foiled plot to mount gun and bomb attacks in the heart of New York City, over his role in the abduction of six sawmill workers in a southern province. U.S. authorities filed criminal charges against the 37-year-old doctor in October last year and wanted him extradited along with Pakistani Talha Haroon, who was also linked to the bomb plot in Manhattan’s Times Square.
  • Al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) produced a proof-of-life video on Monday for one of its hostages, Gloria Cecilia Narvaez, a Colombian nun who was kidnapped last year in the southern Malian region of Sikasso. In the video, she pleads to Pope Francis to aid in her release. Gloria Narvaez was last seen in a video released in July 2017.
  • The United States is confident that the Haqqani network was behind the Taliban’s Saturday ambulance bomb in Kabul that killed more than 100 people, officials say, a conclusion that could add friction to ties between Washington and Islamabad. Afghanistan’s envoy to the United Nations, Mahmoud Saikal, on Monday suggested the plot was too complex for the Taliban to have developed on their own.
  • The U.S. conducted three drone strikes targeting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) terrorists in central and eastern Yemen. A U.S. airstrike killed seven AQAP terrorists in al Said district, Shabwah governorate, eastern Yemen on January 27, according to local sources. Reported U.S. airstrikes also killed three AQAP terrorists in a car in al Jawbah city, Ma’rib governorate on January 28 and two likely AQAP terrorists in al Bayda governorate, central Yemen on January 29.
  • Saudi forces arrested two al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) terrorists planning a suicide attack on a Saudi border crossing on January 25, according to a Saudi prosecutor. One of the terrorists is an AQAP financier and facilitates weapon transfers to the group, according to the prosecutor.

Wednesday (1.31.18)

  • A court in Bahrain on Wednesday sentenced 58 people on terrorism charges, condemning two of them to death and stripping citizenship from 47. The ruling is the latest in a series of scores of harsh penalties in the Western-allied Gulf kingdom for defendants accused of Iranian-backed terrorism but who activists say are mostly peaceful opposition members.
  • The man who mowed down pedestrians with a truck, killing five people, in Stockholm last April wanted to punish Sweden for its part in the global fight against ISIS, prosecutors said in charges filed on Tuesday. Uzbek-born Rakhmat Akilov, admitted to the charge of committing a terrorist act and confirmed the motive.
  • The United States aims to press the Taliban on the battlefield to convince them that they will have to negotiate peace, a senior U.S. diplomat confirmed on Tuesday, a day after President Donald Trump rejected talks following a series of attacks. President Trump’s comments suggested he sees a military victory over the Taliban, an outcome that U.S. military and diplomatic officials say cannot be achieved with the resources and manpower he has authorized.
  • US and Afghan officials estimate the Taliban’s strength in Afghanistan to be a minimum of 60,000 fighters. This updated figure is significant, because as the report notes, for years the only previous estimate was approximately 20,000. A study published by BBC on Tuesday found that the Taliban are openly active in 70 percent of Afghanistan’s districts, fully controlling 4 percent of the country and demonstrating an open physical presence in another 66 percent.
  • Germany’s domestic intelligence chief wants the government to review laws restricting the surveillance of minors to guard against the children of Islamist terrorists returning to the country as “sleeper agents” who could carry out attacks. Nearly 1,000 people are believed to have left Germany to join up with the Islamist terrorists.

Thursday (2.1.18)

  • Moroccan authorities have arrested seven suspected ISIS terrorists who had been planning attacks, the interior ministry said on Thursday. The suspects had been active in a cell in the northern city of Tanger and northeastern city if Meknes, the ministry said in a statement, adding that arms and electronic devices had been seized.
  • Russian security services said on Thursday they have thwarted an ISIS plot to carry out an attack during next month’s presidential election. The agency said it found a powerful improvised explosive device, bomb-making equipment, guns and ammunition after searching the location where an ISIS terrorist was killed.
  • Demonstrators protested outside the Pakistani embassy in Kabul on Thursday as senior Afghan officials said they had handed over evidence connecting terrorists based in Pakistan with a recent spate of attacks that killed well over 100 people. On Thursday, Interior Minister Wais Barmak and Masooom Stanekzai, head of the NDS intelligence service, returned from a visit to Islamabad, where they had pressed Pakistani authorities to move against Taliban leaders based in the country.
  • The US Department of State announced terrorism designations on Wednesday against Harakat Sawa’id Misr (HASM) and Liwa al-Thawra, two Islamist groups active in Egypt with suspected ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. The two groups have targeted Egyptian police, military forces, and government officials. HASM has also threatened to attack the US Embassy in Cairo. The Trump Administration also sanctioned on Wednesday Harakat as-Sabirin li-Nasran Filastin (The Movement of the Patient Ones for the Liberation of Palestine). As-Sabirin is an Iranian-funded splinter Shia jihadist faction that has operated in Gaza since as early as 2014.
  • The Afghan National Army’s 209th Corps, accompanied by highly trained Afghan Commandos, conducted offensive operations in the northern province of Kunduz last week. Sources stated the offensive killed between 60 to 80 Taliban fighters, but with other reports suggesting the Taliban quickly retook the targeted territory, it appeared the offensive is in line with past short-term strategies that failed to fully deny the Taliban strategic footholds in the region.

Friday (2.2.18)

  • Earlier this week, the congressionally-mandated watchdog for Afghanistan released its quarterly report, generating controversy about the military’s redaction of territorial control statistics. Also for the first time this quarter, US and Coalition authorities are restricting access to key indicators of Afghan security force development. The lack of transparency comes on the heels of a new strategy to enhance Afghan forces in order to supplant Coalition troops in the fight against the Taliban.
  • A British man found guilty of murder after he drove a van into Muslim worshippers outside a London mosque last June, leaving one dead and injuring many more, was jailed for life on Friday and told he would serve at least 43 years behind bars.The 48-year-old killed Makram Ali, 51, and injured 12 others, two seriously. He was found guilty on Thursday of murder and attempted murder after the jury took less than an hour to reach their verdict.
  • A Greek court on Friday ruled against the extradition of a Turkish man wanted by Ankara over links to a banned group blamed for suicide bombings in Turkey, court officials said.The court said on Friday Dogan, although still being held in Greece, had been granted political asylum in France.
  • Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday accused neighboring Pakistan of failing to move against the Taliban and pledged a new security plan for Kabul after hundreds of people were killed and wounded in two deadly attacks on the capital last month. A recent attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul and a suicide bombing on a crowded city street a week later have stoked public anger in Afghanistan and stepped up pressure on Ghani’s Western-backed government to improve security.
  • The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday sanctioned six individuals and seven entities under financial regulations targeting the Lebanon-based Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist group. The six sanctioned individuals included five Lebanese and one Iraqi, most of them linked to Al-Inmaa Engineering and Contracting, the Treasury Department said in a statement. The seven entities were firms based in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Lebanon and Ghana, the statement said.
  • Three Turkish soldiers were killed and seven wounded on Thursday in separate attacks carried out by Kurdish terrorists targeting troops stationed in the southeastern Turkish province of Hakkari and in northern Iraq, the army said.The PKK group is viewed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. 
  • Eighty-one people accused of fighting for Boko Haram went on trial in Niger on Thursday in a public court sitting, one of the first of its kind after closed-door trials of suspected terrorists were criticized by human rights groups.Those on trial in a special international court in the capital Niamey come from Niger, Nigeria and Chad and are suspected of playing a role in Boko Haram’s near decade-long bid to create a caliphate in Nigeria.