A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, told news agencies the group was not behind the bank blast. Jalalabad has been a repeated target for the Taliban in the past year.
Afghanistan has been an important country for the jihadi movement since the Soviet invasion of 1979 and it has become increasingly significant following the American invasion of 2001. The Islamic State in Afghanistan logo depicts two crossed swords possibly denoting the group’s participation in or espousal of the contemporary jihadi movement. There are many buildings, shrines, monuments, tombs and Mosques associated with important holy figures in the Islamic tradition. Regardless of the nature of these monuments, almost all of them have religious as well as national and regional significance to Muslim peoples and can be invoked to draw upon both loyalties. The Mosque in the centre possibly denotes that of the Blue Mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif which is the forth largest city in Afghanistan and the name means “Noble Shrine”. Some Muslims believe that the tomb of Ali ibn Abi Taliib the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad is at this Mosque after Ali’s remains were transferred to Mazar-i-Sharif as per the request of Ja’far as-Sadiq. (However, most Muslims believe that the grave of Ali is at the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, Iraq). The chequered pathway would probably be the pathway in to the Blue Shrine. The olive tree branches at either side symbolise prosperity. The colour of gold may symbolise wealth but not sure if that would mean religious wealth, monetary wealth or power wealth. The two flags on either side of the Mosque are probably those of the Islamic State in Afghanistan flags as seen on the left of the logo.
The black stripe on the flag is probably linked to the black battle flag of the Prophet Muhammad. The white stripe symbolises purity, piety and religious authority. The green stripe possibly refers to the Prophet Muhammad’s tribe of flags.
(Sources: https://www.ctc.usma.edu and ‘Branding Terror’ by Artur Beifuss and Francesco Trivini Bellini)
Afghan officials say an explosion near a southern police station has killed three people and wounded 17. The explosion on the morning of the 21 Apr 15 struck the city of Kandahar, the capital of Kandahar province. Authorities initially believed a car bomb caused the explosion, but later said they were unsure what happened. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Afghan Taliban has announced that the militant group had launched its annual spring offensive on the 24 Apr 15. In a statement e-mailed to media on the 22 Apr the Taliban said it will 'launch the spring operations under the inspirational name of 'Azm' (determination) at 5 a.m. on 24 April 2015.' It said the 'main targets of these operations' will be 'foreign occupiers, especially their permanent military bases...officials of the stooge regime, their military constellations, especially their intelligence, interior ministry, and defence ministry officials.' In a statement, Afghanistan's Defence Ministry dismissed the Taliban announcement, calling it 'repetitive propaganda,' and saying Afghan forces are fully prepared to respond to any attacks. The Taliban has already stepped up attacks on government and foreign targets. This year's offensive marks the first fighting season in which Afghan security forces will battle the insurgents without the full support of U.S.-led foreign combat forces, which largely withdrew at the end of last year. The new NATO-led mission, launched on the 1 Jan 15 is focused mainly on training of the Afghan security forces. The Taliban warned that the announcement would damage any prospects of peace talks as they vowed to continue fighting. Aside from the Taliban, the Afghan government has also repeatedly warned of the Islamic State (IS) group making inroads into the country. President Ashraf Ghani blamed IS for a suicide attack on the 18 Apr in the eastern city of Jalalabad that killed 33 people and wounded more than 100 others. If verified, that would mark the first major attack by IS militants in Afghanistan.
Australia – Police in Australia stated on the 18 Apr 15 that they had foiled an Islamic State-inspired plot to carry out an attack at a World War One centenary event. Police arrested five teenage suspects, charging one 18-year-old with conspiring to commit a terrorist act. The men were planning to target police at an Anzac memorial event in Melbourne police said. About 200 police officers took part in the counter-terrorism operation in the city early on the 18 Apr. Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Neil Gaughan said that evidence suggested the suspects had been influenced by Islamic State. One of the men, Sevdet Besim, appeared briefly in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Saturday. Police say a second man held on terrorism-related offences would also likely to be charged. A third man, also 18, was arrested on weapons charges and two other teenagers, aged 18 and 19, were in custody and assisting with inquiries. Officials referred to possible attacks using "edged weapons", but Mr Gaughan said there was no evidence to suggest there was "a planned beheading". The men were "associates" of Abdul Numan Haider, a teenager shot dead in September after he stabbed two officers, police said. Anzac Day is an annual day of remembrance for servicemen and women from Australia and New Zealand. A series of events are planned for the event to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli, Turkey. 361 COMMENT: There was also a report of a British teenager being arrested in the UK. The individual stands accused of directing a Lee Rigby style attack in Australia and encourage fanatics in Australia to behead people. It is alleged he was in communication with Besim via an encrypted phone app known as Telegram and the pair allegedly used it to discuss a plan to attack an Anzac Parade in Melbourne. The conversations allegedly included their intentions, target and motivations and the boy is accused of suggesting to the Australian that he could use a knife, car or gun to attack police. This maybe a new tactic by sympathisers or lone wolf style attacks. By having someone outside the country attempting to direct the attack they may feel that this would cut down on drawing attention and communications that could be intercepted to anyone else outside the group and living in the country. COMMENT ENDS
Japan – The police have arrested a man who said he flew a small drone carrying trace amounts of radioactive material onto the roof of the prime minister’s office in Tokyo to protest Japan’s nuclear policy, Japanese news reports said on the 24 Apr 15. The unidentified man, who was described only as being in his 40s, turned himself in to the police on the 24 Apr in Fukui Prefecture, a rural area on the Sea of Japan that has many nuclear plants. The police had offered no additional details, saying only that they were trying to verify the man’s story, according to the reports. The arrest, first reported by NHK, Japan’s public broadcaster, indicates that the police have decided to take his confession seriously. He was arrested on charges of obstructing operations at the prime minister’s office. The discovery of the drone on the roof of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office on the 22 Apr 15 had baffled officials, especially after the small, propeller-driven craft was found to be carrying a bottle with a liquid containing radioactive cesium. Some authorities feared that the drone was part of a failed act of terrorism aimed at Mr. Abe, who was not in Tokyo when the craft was found. But the arrest seems to confirm speculation that the drone was flown onto the office roof to protest the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, which spewed large amounts of cesium across northern Japan and into the Pacific Ocean. Public opposition to Mr. Abe’s plans to begin restarting Japan’s nuclear power industry, which was largely shut down after the accident, remains strong. News reports on the 24 Apr said the man told the police that the bottle contained sand taken from near the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which suffered a triple meltdown after a huge earthquake and tsunami on the 11 Mar 11. 361 COMMENT: Whilst this seems to be an innocent protest against a person’s thoughts the method will not have gone unnoticed by terrorist groups who look for opportunities to stage a new form of attack. Drones will be seen as a method of attack against a static or mobile target. Although the attack would probably be conducted in a ‘line of sight operation’ due to the nature of the drones inability to have a monitor at a separate location. COMMENT ENDS
Turkey – A Turkish Airlines plane landed safely in Istanbul after being recalled due to a bomb threat while bound for Basel, a spokeswoman said on the 17 Apr 15, the latest in a series of such incidents that have forced the carrier to divert or recall flights. The private Dogan news agency said bomb disposal experts had begun searching the plane, a Boeing 738, in which a note had been found which said “there is a bomb.”