Eye on Extremism: September 8, 2023

Garowe Online: Senior Al-Shabaab Leaders Killed In Somalia

“An operation waged by the Somali National Army [SNA] has left three Al-Shabaab militants dead in Somalia, state media confirmed, following the commencement of the follow-up military exercises in central regions where President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has been visiting. The Ministry of Information confirmed that the operation was conducted in Galmadug state, where the Somali National Army has been combing after a successful first phase of operations a few months ago, which left over 3,000 militants dead, including those across the borders in HirShabelle. The operation, which took place last night in West El-lahelay, targeted Olol Ali Guled, who was the head of the al-Shabaab’s insurgent militia in Galmudug. Shuuke Ali Dheeg and Isse Barre, the two other wanted al-Shabaab members, were also eliminated, state media reports. According to the Ministry of Information, the operation was “professionally planned and executed” and it “broke the back of all terrorists, especially those hiding in Galmudug”. The three al-Shabaab leaders were behind several criminal activities in the region, including attacks on civilians and security forces, the statement read.”

The Times Of Israel: Germany Arrests 2 Syrian Rebel Jihadists Over Alleged Terror Ties

“German prosecutors Thursday announced the arrests of two Syrians suspected of belonging to foreign terrorist organizations, including the alleged leader of a rebel group which joined Islamic State. Amer A. and Basel O. were detained in Kiel and Munich on Wednesday and placed in pre-trial detention, federal prosecutors said in a statement. Amer A. is alleged to have founded the “Liwa Jund al Rahman” in 2013 in the Syrian province of Deir Ezzor. His fighters “repeatedly engaged in hostilities against the Syrian army,” it said. In June 2013, Amer A.’s fighters joined other jihadist groups in an attack on the eastern village of Hatlah that killed up to 60 Shiite residents. Survivors were forced to flee “by intentionally stoking fears of death — also by means of arson and looting,” prosecutors said. Amer A. is suspected of having committed a war crime “by means of forced displacement” that “meant the end of all Shiite presence in Hatlah.” In 2014, Amer A. joined the IS jihadist group and placed his fighters and financial resources under IS authority, according to prosecutors.”

United States

Bloomberg: US Business Works With Taliban To Rebuild Afghanistan Economy

“In a sign of thawing relations, a US delegation for the first time co-hosted a business conference with Taliban leaders in Afghanistan to work on a plan to rebuild the economy and address acute poverty in the face of reduced international aid “Our commitment is we’re going to help to elevate private sector activities,” Jeffrey Greico, the president of Washington-based Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce, said at the conference in Kabul on Wednesday. “As private sector representatives, we need to help develop Afghanistan from a very significant infrastructural standpoint.” A spokesman for the US Department of State confirmed to Voice of America the delegation’s trip to Kabul, adding that the US is working to “rebuild” the country’s economy. The Taliban administration has enacted “investor-friendly laws,” Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, said at the conference, urging American and Afghan investors to tap into the country’s mineral resources, including lithium.”
“The conference follows a meeting in Doha on July 30 between a delegation led by US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West and Taliban leaders to address areas for confidence building.”

Reuters: Exclusive: US Military Repositions Some Troops In Niger, Pulls Non-Essential Personnel

“The Pentagon is repositioning some troops and equipment within Niger and will withdraw a small number of non-essential personnel "out of an abundance of caution," U.S. officials told Reuters on Thursday, the first major American military movement in Niger since a coup in July. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, declined to say how many personnel would be departing and how many were repositioning within Niger from Air Base 101 in Niamey, the capital, to Air Base 201 in the city of Agadez. Before this movement, there were 1,100 troops in the West African country. "This consolidation represents prudent military planning to safeguard U.S. assets while continuing to address the threat of violent extremism in the region," one of the officials said. "This does not change our overall force posture in Niger, and we continue to review all options as we assess a way forward," the official added. "The movement of U.S. assets has been coordinated with and approved by the appropriate authorities." The officials declined to give more details on the reason for the repositioning. It is generally easier to evacuate people from a single location, though there is no evidence that is imminent.”


Voice Of America: Canada Shows Scant Interest In Bringing Home IS Fighters

“Canadian officials have so far shown little interest in repatriating any of the Canadian nationals still imprisoned among the former Islamic State fighters in Kurdish-run prisons in Syria, illustrating the wider problem confronting their U.S.-backed captors. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which spearheaded the struggle to drive IS from its self-declared caliphate in 2019, is still holding more than 10,000 members of the extremist group in its desert prisons, including an estimated 2,000 foreign nationals. An estimated 50,000 additional wives, children and other IS sympathizers are being held in sprawling and squalid camps. But repeated SDF appeals for the foreign fighters to be repatriated and placed on trial in their home countries have largely fallen on deaf ears. Canada, which contributed troops to the anti-IS effort, has so far brought home no IS fighters and only a handful of women and children. Even that has been controversial, due in part to fears of importing terrorism onto Canadian soil. Phil Gurski, a former Canadian intelligence officer who follows the issue, is among those who worry about what will happen if the extremists return.”


Global Investigative Journalism Network: Reporter’s Guide To Investigating War Crimes: Environmental And Property Damage

“…There are also regional monitoring sites that are often quite accurate, such as the Rojava Information Centre in northeast Syria, the Counter Extremism Project in central Syria, and conflict tracking projects from Bellingcat and the Centre for Information Resilience on Ukraine and Myanmar. Similar projects can be found in different geographical regions in the world.”


Reuters: Main Pakistan-Afghan Border Crossing Closed For Second Day After Clashes

“Pakistan's main border crossing with Afghanistan was closed for a second day on Thursday, leading to a build-up of trucks laden with goods, after clashes between security forces from the two countries. The busy border crossing had closed on Wednesday after Pakistani and Afghan Taliban forces started firing at each other, according to local officials. Abdul Basir Zabuli, a spokesman for the Taliban-led police in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province, where the crossing lies, said that authorities from both countries were trying to determine the reason for the clash. The Torkham border point is the main point of transit for travellers and goods between Pakistan and landlocked Afghanistan. Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, director of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said hundreds of trucks laden with fruit, vegetables and other goods were stuck due to the closure. "The traders are suffering heavy losses after the border in Torkham was closed on Wednesday following a firing incident there," he told Reuters. The entire flow of trade had been affected and loading of goods in the southern port of Karachi had been disrupted.”


Associated Press: Al-Qaida-Linked Insurgents In Mali Kill 49 Civilians And 15 Soldiers In Attacks, Military Says

“Two attacks by al-Qaida linked insurgents in the restive north of Mali on Thursday killed 49 civilians and 15 government soldiers, the country’s military junta said. A passenger boat near the city of Timbuktu on the Niger River and a Malian military position in Bamba further downstream in the Gao region were targeted, according to a statement from the military junta read on state television. It said the attacks have been claimed by JNIM, an umbrella coalition of armed groups aligned with al-Qaida. The Malian government killed about 50 assailants while responding to the attacks, the announcement said. It said also declared three days of national mourning from Friday to honor the civilians and soldiers killed in the attacks. Al-Qaida affiliated and Islamic State-linked groups have almost doubled the territory they control in Mali in less than a year, the United Nations said in a report last month, as they take advantage of a weak government and of armed groups that signed a 2015 peace agreement.”


Reuters: Cameroon Militants Set Cars On Fire, Shoot Passengers In Village Attack

“Armed militants stopped cars, shot at passengers and set vehicles on fire during an attack on a village in Anglophone Cameroon's South West region on Thursday, residents and a Reuters reporter said. Separatists in minority English-speaking parts of Cameroon have been fighting to carve out an independent state called Ambazonia since 2017. They carry out attacks, kidnappings and killings in the North West and South West regions. Concerned-looking resident gathered around the blackened and bullet-ridden remains of a charred car in the village of Muea, in the South West region, on Thursday as two men pulled out a body wrapped in a blanket. Sobbing relatives identified and took away two bodies, according to a Reuters reporter at the scene. Residents said the attackers arrived early in the morning, on the week schools reopened after the summer break, and that several people were killed. Insurgents began fighting the Cameroonian military in 2017 after civilian protests calling for greater representation for the Francophone country's English-speaking minority were violently repressed.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On September 15, 2019, a truck bomb exploded outside of the Al-Rai Hospital in Syria’s Aleppo Governorate, killing 12 civilians and injuring many more. There were no immediate claims of responsibility. 

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