A multiple suicide attack has hit a coalition base in southern Afghanistan, killing at least one ISAF soldier and injuring others, in the latest Taliban-led assault targeting Afghan and international forces. Jawed Faisal, a spokesman for the governor of eastern Kandahar, said the attack took place on the 20 Jan 14 against a base in Zhari district, just west of Khandahar. The attack involved a car bomb, explosive vests and gunfire against the base and extensively damaged drones and helicopters that were on the airstrip. One local media source said that one of the bombers was believed to be female. This comes a day after Afghanistan's president said the US could no longer carry out military operations or airstrikes and must jump-start peace talks with the Taliban before his country signs a security deal to keep American troops in Afghanistan after 2014. Hamid Karzai made the statement after being presented with the findings of an investigation into a joint Afghan-US military operation last week that resulted in civilian casualties which he blamed on US soldiers.
Pakistan – A suicide bomber killed at least 13 people in a crowded market near the Pakistani army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, not far from the capital Islamabad on the 20 Jan 14 and the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. There was some speculation as to what the intended target was. A man was stopped on his motorbike at an army checkpoint and it is then that he decided to detonate his device. The attack comes a day after a Taliban bombing killed 22 Pakistani soldiers near the largely lawless, tribal region of North Waziristan. The attack on the 19 Jan 14 was one of the deadliest attacks to target the country's forces as they battle fighters in its volatile frontier. The Taliban called the attack a suicide bombing. Military officials said the blast came from an explosive planted in the vehicle, hired by the paramilitary Frontier Corps.
Philippines – The Philippine military has launched a major offensive against a splinter rebel group, two days after negotiations with the country's main Muslim rebel group to end a decades-long insurgency that has killed tens of thousands successfully ended. Soldiers, backed by artillery, attacked guerrillas of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in a remote village on the southern island of Mindanao on the 27 Jan 14 triggering fighting that sent hundreds of civilians fleeing. The fighting apparently erupted after the military tried to serve warrants of arrest against the BIFF, which is fighting for an independent Islamic state. In 2008, the BIFF broke away from the main rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that is now on the brink of signing a final peace deal with the Philippine government. Since breaking away from the MILF, the BIFF has been accused of carrying out armed robberies and bombings in several cities in Mindanao. On the 26 Jan 14 the government and MILF negotiators sealed the final phase of talks in Malaysia that would pave the way for the laying down of arms by rebels in exchange for greater autonomy. The BIFF, however, said that the deal is not inclusive and does not represent the needs of their people. Under the peace deal, an existing five-province Muslim autonomous region is to be replaced by a more powerful, better-funded and potentially larger region to be called Bangsamoro. Despite the milestone, both the government and the rebels acknowledged that violence would not end overnight in a region that has long grappled with a volatile mix of crushing poverty, huge numbers of illegal firearms, clan wars and weak law enforcement.
Russia – An Islamist group from Russia's North Caucasus has threatened to attack the Sochi winter Olympics in a video published online. In a warning to President Vladimir Putin over next month's (Feb 14) games, the hosts and visitors were singled out for target: "If you hold the Olympics you will receive a present from us... for you and all those tourists who will come over. "It will be for all the Muslim blood that is shed every day around the world - be it in Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, all around the world. This will be our revenge." The video says two men from the group “Vilayat Dagestan” linked to an Iraqi faction called Ansar al-Sunna carried out the two attacks in Volgograd last month that killed 34 people and injured more than 100.
Russian police in Sochi are hunting for a woman they fear may be planning to carry out a suicide bomb attack it was reported on the 22 Jan 14. They have put up wanted posters in hostels around the town, which is hosting the Winter Olympics which open on the 7 Feb 14. The woman, 23-year-old Ruzanna Ibragimova from Dagestan in the North Caucasus region, is believed to be the widow of an Islamist militant. She is thought to have gone to Sochi in early January bypassing tight security ahead of the Games. Police are also saying that there is at least two other potential female suicide bombers at large in the region. Judging by the information received and that at least one of the females is a widow it is possible that these females are part of the Black Widow group renown for using females as suicide bombers.
A militant group that claimed responsibility for last month's suicide bombings in Volgograd which killed at least 34 people told Russians on the 18 Jan 14 to rebel against President Vladimir Putin or face further attacks. The warning, which came two weeks before the Winter Olympics in Russia's southern city of Sochi, does not mention the Games. But the group - which identified itself as Vilayat Dagestan from the northern Caucasus region where Moscow has battled an insurgency for over a decade - last week warned Putin to expect a "present" at the event. In a statement posted on its website on the 18 Jan 14, Vilayat Dagestan said the two Volgograd bombings, of a train station and a trolley bus, were a response to "atrocities carried out by the disbelievers on the ground of the Caucasus". "Gone are the days when it was possible to destroy Muslims gratuitously," it said. "Today, one mujahid could destroy dozens or even hundreds of people in your cities. And do not think that these are isolated cases and that you will not feel the losses. The number of such bombings will only grow, and they will overtake many of you." At least five European countries' Olympic committees received letters last week making a "terrorist threat", but Russia dismissed the warnings as a hoax. These threats and hoax’s are obviously been carried out by the group in an attempt to appear to be upping their game as the start of the games gets nearer. With the amount of Russian security forces that are in situ the terrorist group are attempting to continue their grievance against the games without actually conducting or able to conduct further terrorist attacks.
Turkey – The country is more than ever threatened by al-Qaeda-linked terrorists operating in Syria. On 20 Jan 14 two days before the start of the Geneva II conference, two car bombs went off on the Turkey-Syria border at the Bab al-Hawa crossing, killing sixteen and prompting Turkey to close the crossing. Turkey had earlier already closed the Bab al-Salameh, Carablus, and Tal Abyad crossings after the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) had taken them from Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces on the Syrian side of the border. Turkish newspapers reported this week how Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT), which is considered the agency responsible for Syria policy, yet again prevented border security personnel from searching trucks suspected of carrying weapons into Syria on 19 Jan 14. Turkey has joined Qatar and Saudi Arabia in backing a new coalition of moderate rebels called “the Islamic Front and Syrian Revolutionary Front fighters”, and the Jihadist ISIS is said to be planning terrorist attacks inside Turkey against targets associated with the Istanbul-based Syrian opposition groups.
Vilayat Dagestan, formerly known as Shariat Jamaat, is an Islamist Jihadist group based in Russian republic of Dagestan and is part of the Caucasus Emirate. The group, created during the Second Chechen War in favour of Dagestan's independence as an Islamic state, is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Russian security and military personnel, officials, and civilians. The group is closely associated with the separatist conflicts in the nearby Russian republics of Chechnya and Ingushetia and is also known to have members and bases in Azerbaijan. The Jamaat Shariat claims to be "legitimate authority of Dagestan" with the aim of establishing a "fair society" based on sharia law. To achieve this end, the Jamaat considers it legitimate to target police and security officials and some civilians such as the government-loyalist Muslim clergy and clerics of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Jamaat says that peace talks with Russia are hypothetically possible, but only when Russia withdraws its troops from the region and provides security guarantees. Otherwise, the group claims, it is prepared for a long-term guerrilla war of attrition that may be broadened to encompass the whole of the Russian Federation, including Moscow and St. Petersburg. As of 2010, the ongoing violence has plunged the multiethnic and corruption- and poverty-plagued republic into near civil war.