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MIxTRAC: Taliban Assassin Posing as Bodyguard Kills General in Kandahar, Military Forces Skirmish with Insurgents in Mali

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The information, data and findings from the below brief was collected by and sourced from TRAC: Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium, in partnership with the Mackenzie Institute. Please click here to visit TRAC.

Taliban Assassin Posing as Bodyguard Kills General in Kandahar, Military Forces Skirmish with Insurgents in Mali

Taliban/IEA Insider Assassinates Major Leadership During US General Austin S. Miller’s Visit to the Governors Compound in Kandahar city, Afghanistan (18 October, 2018)

On October 8 2018, Afghan General and Kandarhar Police Chief Abdul Raziq was killed by a bodyguard who turned out to be a Taliban/IEA assassin. He had been on his way out of a high-profile meeting with Kandahar’s Governor and US General Austin S. Miller. The Governor was reportedly wounded, but General Miller escaped unharmed. Two Americans present at the meeting were also killed. The insider attack was quickly claimed by the Taliban spokesman on twitter, who identified the assailant as Abu Dujana. According to Kandahar’s deputy governor, the Governor Zalmai Wesa and provincial chief of Intelligence were also killed by automatic gunfire. It is believed that Abdul Raziq was targeted in particular because he was by all accounts a fierce enemy of the Taliban, and his death will result in severe ramifications for security in Afghanistan’s restive south.

Taliban/IEA insider attacks have become increasingly more frequent during Al Khandaq Jihadi Operation (the name of Taliban’s annual spring offensive for 2018). The Taliban has stated that their intentions for the spring offensive were to “primary target will be the American invaders and their intelligence agents” implying that they are focused on evicting the United States from Afghanistan. The Taliban has increasingly been releasing statements declaring that the US Army and Government is lying to the American people whilst also helping Islamic State Khurasan (ISK). Indeed, the Taliban was well aware of General Miller’s presence, even releasing a statement when he arrived to replace General Nicholson. Today’s attack was meant to not only embarrass the Afghan government’s inability to protect even its most heavily fortified facilities but also to send a message to the United States that the Afghan Military and law enforcement cannot be trusted. In what appears to be a pattern, this attack comes one day after another IEA insider attack on an electoral candidate in Helmand.

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Photo Above: State security commander, Gen. Abdul Raziq

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Photo Above: Bodyguard turned Taliban/IEA assassin purportedly Abu Dujana.

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Skirmish in Ndaki Region Between Malian Armed Forces (FAMa)/French Soldiers of Operation Barkhane and a Group of ISGS and JNIM Fighters (18 October, 2018)

On 16 October 2018, an ambush in the Ndaki region, about 200 km southwest of Gao, resulted in a clash between the Malian Armed Forces (FAMa), supported by French soldiers of Operation Barkhane and a group of unidentified fighters. The skirmishes resulted in armed fighters deserting the area and leaving behind a military camp. The following day the camp was destroyed by French Barkhane forces. Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) supported by French soldiers deployed to Operation Barkhane were conducting reconnaissance in the Ndaki area, about 200 km (125 miles) southwest of Gao, when they were attacked by around 50 “members of an armed terrorist group,” some of them on motorcycles (Source: https://thedefensepost.com)
FAMa forces destroyed and seized about fifteen motorcycles and a pickup truck as well as equipment used in the construction of IEDs.

Reports following the incident stated that the fighters were possibly defending senior commanders of both the Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS) Abdelhakim al-Sahrawi and JNIM’s Almansour Ag Alkassoum. If factual, it reaffirms collaboration between ISGS and JNIM in Mali, which is not an uncommon to this area. Northern Africa allegiances swing easily depending on converging interests. From drug money to weapons smuggling, when there is a mutual interest in earning money, enemies are very likely to become partners.

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The above has been compiled by Alexander Sawicki, an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for the Department of History at Ryerson University, specializing in the interplay between technological innovation, warfare, and social change throughout history. He was formerly a Research Analyst for the NATO Association of Canada (NAOC), where he published articles that dealt with cybersecurity, US-Russia relations, and Canadian Military Procurement. You can find Alexander on LinkedIn.

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