OSINT Guide – The Khorasan Group

The author describes what happens when state and non-state actors use the same technologies.

Also Known As: The Wolf Unit

Description:  The United States attacked the Khorsan Group, a conglomerate of veteran Al-Qaeda fighters in Syria, through high profile airstrikes on September 23, 2014 and November 6, 2014. Key members include Muhsin al-Fadhli, Ibrahi Al-Asiri, and David Drugeon.

Targets: The primary target of the Khorasan Group is mass transit aircraft by using foreign fighters to employ malleable non-metallic PETN explosives.

Activities: The Khorasan Group has plotted against Western interests in Europe and the American Homeland since approximately 2012. Intelligence agencies disrupted the activities of the cell until the terrorists went dark in September 2014 with a plot nearing completion. Following the American airstrikes, cell members splintered to Nursra controlled urban areas in Syria.

Diplomacy: The Khorasan has a mutually beneficial relationship with AQ, AQAP, and the Nusra Front.

Propaganda: The Khorasan Group reaches out to foreign fighters within the Nusra Front via personal contacts.

Strength:  Estimated to be around fifty

AO:  Syria

Funding and External Aid:  The Khorasan Group is funded by the Nusra Front and AQ central through transnational organized crime.

Khorasan Graphic, courtesy of AEI

Khorasan Graphic, courtesy of AEI

Local Media:

Sana. Khorasan.” Accessed December 16, 2014.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Khorasan.” Accessed December 16, 2014.

Global Media

Al-Jazeera. What is the Khorasan Group?” September 23, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2014.

AP. “Khorasan.” Accessed December 16, 2014.

BBC. “What is the Khorasan Group?” September 24, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2014.

CNN. “Khorasan.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

Foreign Policy. “Khorasan.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

Halperin, Carrie and Emily B. Hager. “About the Khorasan Terror Cell.” September 24, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2014.

NYT. “Khorasan.” November 2, 2013. Accessed November 25, 2014.

Vice. Khorasan.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

WaPo. Khorasan.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

Think Tanks / Academic:

AEI. “Khorasan.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

Blanchard, Christopher M. “The ‘Khorasan’ Group in Syria.” CRS. September 24, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2014.

Brookings. “Khorasan.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

CFR. “Khorasan.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

CRS. “Al-Qaeda -Affiliated Groups: Middle East and Africa.” October 10, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2014.

CRS. “The ‘Islamic State’ Crisis and U.S. Policy.” December 8, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2014.

CSIS. “Khorasan.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

ISW. “Khorasan.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

Jihadology. “Khorasan.” Accessed November 25, 2014.

Stanford University. “Jabhat al-Nusra.” Mapping Militant Organizations. November 12, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2014.

TRAC. “Khorasan.” Accessed December 16, 2014.

Government:

Defense Department. “Khorasan.” Accessed December 16, 2014.

State Department. “Khorasan.” Accessed December 16, 2014

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