Sunday, February 7, 2016

Islamic State in Afghanistan

State Dept Overhaul & ISIS. Senior U.S. officials have revealed details on the changes to the State Department's counter-terrorism apparatus. The Bureau of Counterterrorism will now become the Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism. The name change emphasizes the importance of non-military organizations and programs in the effort to "Counter Violent Extremism" or CVE. Read more in "Growth of Islamic State Forces State Department Overhaul", by John Hudson, Foreign Policy, February 1, 2016.

ISIS is Spreading. While the Islamic State is suffering some setbacks in Iraq, and to a limited extent in Syria - it is increasing its influence in other countries (Libya and Afghanistan). Check out a map of the growth of ISIS in "Mapping the Spread of the ISIS Plague", Foreign Policy, February 2, 2016.

Status of ISIS-Khurasan. One observer of Afghanistan thinks that the Islamic State lost a window of opportunity in 2015 when it failed to capitalize on the leadership struggle within the Taliban. He believes that a year after its founding the Islamic State's Khurasan province remains a notional entity. Read "What Happened to ISIS's Afghanistan-Pakistan Province?", The Diplomat, Februray 2, 2016.

U.S. Increases Opns Against IS. The United States military has carried out an increased rate of airstrikes and commando raids against Islamic State fighters in eastern Afghanistan. President Obama decided to broaden the authority of the DoD to attack the Islamic State group n Afghanistan. Many of the attacks have taken place in the Tora Bora region of Nangarhar province - along the border of Pakistan. Read "U.S. Broadens Fight Against ISIS With Attacks in Afghanistan", The New York Times, January 31, 2016.

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