During the “Progress on Peace and Stability in Afghanistan” at the US Institute of Peace, Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar says the response from the Pakistan to terrorism has been mixed. He said that the consensus on how to fight the terrorists has broken slightly. Atmar added that there are nations in the region that draw a distinction between good and bad terrorists. Furthermore, the region actors all agreed to have state-to-state relations for counter terrorism, but there are some stat who look at state to non-state actors relations for counter-terrorism, like some that say they work with the Taliban against Daesh or against the ISIS. According to Atmar, this is unethical and self-defeating in terms of policy. Atmar said Afghanistan faces threat from a nexus of violent extremism, transnational criminalized networks and state sponsorship of terrorists, but it’s not just the Taliban and the Haqqani network that they are fighting. There is an increase of foreign fighters associated with at least three categories of terrorist networks. The global terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda, Daehs and ISIS-K. The regional terrorists such as IMU from Central Asia and China, and Pakistani terrorists such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Jaish-e-Mohammed.
The pro-government paramilitary troops announced that nine Islamic State militants, including a suicide attacker, have been killed in an operation in the west of Kirkuk. In a statement, the media service of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) said: “An ambush was set, depending on information from the intelligence, leaving nine IS members killed in Wadi al-Rahma, north of al-Zab town in Hawija. One of them was a suicide attacker.” No further details were provided.
Regarding the statement made by the BiH Presidency Chairman and HDZ BiH leader Dragan Čović, in which he claimed that civilian BiH meant the rise of Islamic State in the country, the US Embassy in BiH stated that it is necessary for BiH leaders to abandon the rhetoric of division and embrace commitment to solving daily problems of citizens so as to launch the country forward in the process of Euro-Atlantic integration.
The national intelligence agency has arrested eight Islamic State operatives in the capital, Kabul. The arrests follow an assault by five heavily armed Islamic State suicide bombers on the Afghan military academy in Kabul that killed 11 soldiers. The suspects were recruiting Afghan youth and planning terror attacks in Kabul, the agency said. They were accumulating funds for subversive activities. Afghan security forces have since improved security around the capital and made raids against IS militant. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, acting on findings of a probe into the assault, fired seven army officers, including two generals, for ‘professional negligence”. The situation in Kabul is criticized and Ghani’s government is accused of failing to protect the city and Afghanistan.
During a meeting with a Kuwaiti media delegation on Wednesday, Iraqi Vice President Iyad Allawi stressed that the fight against Islamic State is still going on, but ways of confrontation will change: it will be reshaped to depend on intelligence confrontation and specific operations to eliminate terrorism and protect the unity of the Iraqi society from extremist ideas. Allawi explained that such extremist thoughts stemmed from sectarian quotas and abuses, which targeted some segments of the society and policies built on reactions, which were unacceptable. He also expressed his regret that the political, social and economic situation in Iraq is not on the right track, adding that Iraq is rich in men and wealth, but money was wasted due to the absence of adequate management, as well as the spread of corruption and the lack of accountability and deterrent legislation. Allawi voiced his appreciation and thanks to Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, for his constant support to Iraq and for his wisdom in dealing with Arab issues. The Iraqi leader also praised the wisdom of Kuwait’s political leadership and its constant quest to resolve disputes in the Arab world.
Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj has shown Kosovo’s readiness to repatriate Kosovars who were recruited and went to the wars in Syria and Iraq alongside terrorist organizations.”Kosovo is the homeland of all and we are ready to repatriate all those willing to return,” he said. “Kosovo takes responsibility to ensure everyone’s life.” Haradinaj made this comment during the presentation of the UNDP report ‘Understanding pull and push factors in Kosovo; primary interviews with returned foreign fighters and their families.’ Haradinaj said the extremist religious ideologies in Kosovo spread as a result of “opening of Kosovo” after the end of the war but now Kosovars have learned the effects of extremist ideologies. The report includes interviews with those convicted by Kosovo courts for participation in foreign wars and their family members. Alessandra Roccasalvo from the UNDP said that Kosovo will face challenges at a time when Kosovar fighters will start returning from wars.
On Wednesday, Qatari al-Samarmad, a commander at Anbar’s mobilization forces, was quoted by IkhNews saying that iraqi army fighter jets pounded an Islamic State hideout in Wadi Hawran, west of the province, and killed 27 Islamic State members, including foreign nationals, in an air raid. He also added that during the airstrikes a number of vehicles belonging to the militants were destroyed. During a weekly press briefing at the cabinet’s building in Baghdad, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared that security forces had cleared “14,000 square kilometers” of al-Jazirah, a desert region surrounded by Anbar, Salahuddin and Nineveh provinces, from Islamic State vestiges. “At a military level, Islamic State in Iraq is over,” Abadi announced, declaring the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence in Iraq with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq. He also had said that final victory over IS would be proclaimed after al-Jazirah total cleaning.
ANBAR – A security source announced to IKH News that on Monday Iraqi Air Force have launched air raids on Islamic State hideaways in the desert area linking Anbar to Nineveh and Salahuddin provinces. According to the source, “It is the first airstrike to be launched on this area within three years”, and the targets are hideouts that were used by IS militants to launch attacks on the areas recently liberated. During the airstrikes many of IS were killed and many IS secret tunnels, weapons and ammunition were destroyed. These operations are combined with those that have been undertaken to recapture villages from IS members: on Sunday, the War Media Cell said in a statement that Iraqi troops have managed to comb over 100 villages and regions falling between south of Hatra and north of Rawa, declaring the end of the first part of second phase of the Upper Euphrates and al-Jazirah Combing Operations. The Joint Operations Command also announced on Saturday that only fifty percent of the regions between Salahuddin and Anbar provinces were liberated. At least 15 Islamic State members were killed in airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition jets in the western desert, the War Media Cell said in a statement. Combing operations are still ongoing: the final victory against Islamic State could be declared only after the full liberation of desert areas from militants.
BAGHDAD – In a statement on Friday, the Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced that the armed forces and the Iraqi people succeeded in recapturing the city of Rawa, the last Islamic State’s stronghold in Western Anbar, in record time. “Our champions freed Rawa in record time and are resuming the combing of the Jazeera region as well as the desert and securing the Iraqi borders”, as Abadi said. In a few hours the city of Rawa has been liberated, showing the power and capability of Iraqi army as well as the successful and efficacious battles’ plans. After the recapture of many districts in the town, the liberation of Rawa marked the end of the military presence of IS in Western Anbar. Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Yarallah, commander of Jazeera and Upper Euphrates Combing Operations, declared that the recapture of Rawa was announced by raising the Iraqi flag above buildings there. Naeem al-Kaoud, chief of Anbar Province Council’s Security Committee, said that “operations to retake Rawa will possibly not take more than 24 hours, noting that most of IS militants had fled to Syria”. According to United Nations counts, the war against IS has displaced five million people, while hundreds of civilians and security troops were killed.
On Thursday a security source from Jazeera Operations Command announced that security troops have recaptured a region held by the Islamic State militants in their last stronghold in Anbar. “Iraqi troops raised the flag above buildings in al-Sa’eedan region, Northwest of Rawa, after liberating it. The militants booby-trapped the buildings and roads”, as the source said. During the offensive, the militant group’s defense failed and troops, supported by army jets, succeeded in killing many IS members. In related news, Maj. Gen. Noaman al-Zawba’ie, Commander of the seventh division, announced to Alghad Press that the Iraqi army started erecting a floating bridge between Annah and Rawa in Western Anbar ahead of invading Rawa. “The bridges between the two towns are destroyed and cannot be used at the meantime. Thus, another one will be set up so that troops could pass toward Rawa”, as the commander added. According to a statement issued on Wednesday by the War Media Cell, thirteen villages were liberated, forty-five IS members and two suicide bombers were killed in three days in Western Anbar. After the recapture of Qaim town and Ebeidi and Krabla regions in Western Anbar, only Rawa’s liberation is still ongoing.