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Eye on Extremism - 09-15-21
Eye on Extremism - September 15, 2021
By: Counter Extremism Project - 09-15-21

As of 09-15-21:

Associated Press: Minister Pledges Taliban Govt Won’t Allow Militant Attacks

“Afghanistan’s new foreign minister said Tuesday that the Taliban governing the country remain committed to not allowing militants to use their territory to launch attacks. But he refused to say when or if the country’s new rulers would create a more inclusive government. Without other political factions and women serving in the government, the Taliban seem unlikely to win international recognition as the legitimate leaders of Afghanistan. And without such recognition, the Afghan state is unable to tap billions of its funds frozen abroad, leaving it virtually bankrupt at a time of immense humanitarian need. The Taliban received sharp criticism last week after they announced a Cabinet made up entirely of men from their movement, including several on international terror lists. Taliban leaders previously had promised broader representation. Amir Khan Mutaqi, a longtime Taliban negotiator named as foreign minister, appeared Tuesday at his first news conference since becoming a member of the interim government. But he gave little indication of whether the Taliban would bend to international pressure. Asked if the Taliban would include women or ethnic and religious minorities in the government, Mutaqi answered, “We will decide in time” but did not offer a commitment.”

Associated Press: With The Taliban's Rise, India Sees A Renewed Threat In Kashmir

“India's leaders are anxiously watching the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, fearing that it will benefit their bitter rival Pakistan and feed a long-simmering insurgency in the disputed region of Kashmir, where militants already have a foothold. Lt. Gen. Deependra Singh Hooda, former military commander for northern India between 2014-2016, said militant groups based across the border in Pakistan would “certainly try and push men” into Kashmir, following the Taliban victory in Afghanistan. Hooda added it was too early to predict if any influx of fighters into Kashmir would be “in numbers that destabilize the security situation” and push the region into a military confrontation. Neighbors India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir and both countries rule parts of the Himalayan region, but claim it in full. Indian officials worry that Afghanistan under the Taliban could be a base for organizing Islamist militants in Kashmir, many of whom are allied with Pakistan in their struggle against New Delhi. New Delhi has called the Taliban Pakistan's “proxy terrorist” group and supported Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government before it was overthrown in August.”

United States

Bloomberg: Al-Qaeda Could Strike U.S. From Afghan Base Next Year, Spies Say

“Al-Qaeda may be able to reconstitute itself in Afghanistan and be capable of orchestrating attacks inside the U.S. in one to two years, two senior U.S. intelligence officials said. “The current assessment probably, conservatively, is one to two years for al-Qaeda to build some capability to at least threaten the homeland,” Lieutenant General Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said at an intelligence conference on Tuesday. “We’re thinking about ways to gain access back into Afghanistan with all kinds of sources and accesses,” Berrier said. “We are prioritizing that effort. We’ll continue to prioritize it. But we have to be careful to balance these very scarce resources.” U.S. intelligence agencies are already seeing activities by the terrorist group once led by Osama bin Laden to re-establish itself in Afghanistan, said CIA Deputy Director David Cohen, who agreed with the timeline of one to two years. Both intelligence leaders spoke at a summit Tuesday in the suburbs of Washington hosted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance and the nonprofit group AFCEA.”


The Washington Post: Down But Not Defeated, Thousands Of Islamic State Insurgents Wage Syrian Fight Anew

“The pair of young women had been missing for hours when troops searching for them heard gunshots in the desert night. Two quick booms, then two again. They found the bodies by the roadside. Staring down at them, soldiers from the Syrian Democratic Forces had no doubts about who kidnapped the women, both local government workers, and shot them dead. “These killings were a message to everyone,” the SDF commander, Shvan Selmo, recalled thinking. The murders near the remote, sun-scorched village of Dashisha bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State. Two and a half years after its self-declared caliphate was extinguished amid a blitz of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in the palm groves of Baghouz, further to the south, the militants in northeastern Syria are down but not defeated. They have melted back to their insurgent roots, seeding sleeper cells across the region, as well as in neighboring Iraq, and using improvised explosives and small arms to target security forces and government employees. Members of an SDF commandos unit stand guard in Dashisha, in the eastern part of Syria's Hasakah province. The location where the bodies of Hind Latif al-Khadir and Sa’da Faysal al-Hermas were found after they were executed by members of an Islamic State sleeper cell near the village of Dashisha.”

Voice Of America: Christians Concerned About Turkish Attacks In Northeast Syria

“Syrian Christian leaders are expressing concerns over escalating Turkish attacks in northeast Syria, saying the recent military activity has driven many Christians and members of other minority groups from their homes. Military officials in the region said last week that Turkey carried out attacks against the Christian-majority town of Tel Tamer and surrounding villages. “The Turkish shelling recently destroyed two schools, a municipal building, a bakery and a power line in the area,” said Matai Hanna, a spokesman for the Syriac Military Council, a major Christian militia in northeast Syria. “This is against international law, which prohibits the targeting of civilian infrastructure,” he told VOA. The Syriac Military Council is part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-led military alliance that has been a major U.S. partner in the fight against the Islamic State terror group, also known as IS or ISIS. Turkey views SDF as an extension of the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a militant group designated as terrorist by Washington and Ankara. Hanna said his group is ready to defend the region against any major offensive carried out by Turkey and its Syrian partners. The Turkish military and allied Syrian militias have been in control of parts of northeast Syria since October 2019, following a major military campaign against SDF fighters.”


The Hill: GOP Lawmakers Urge State Department To Designate The Taliban A Terrorist Organization

“Two Republican lawmakers are calling on the State Department to designate the Taliban a terrorist organization as the extremist group forms a government in Afghanistan following last month's withdrawal of U.S. troops. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) each introduced a resolution Tuesday saying that in addition to the designation, the State Department should freeze all Afghan government assets held in the U.S. and work to ensure that other countries take similar steps. The resolutions also call on the department to declare the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan a “coup d’etat,” and use its “authority and influence” to urge international institutions and organizations to refuse the Taliban access to funds. Graham said designating the Taliban as a terrorist organization will “make it harder for countries to provide them aid and recognition.” “We would be sending a strong signal that America does not do business with terrorist groups and their sympathizers. The Taliban are radical jihadists in every sense of the word and use terror as their tactic,” he added in a statement.”

Foreign Affairs: Al Qaeda Versus ISIS

“The Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan has raised fears that the country will once again become a safe haven for Islamist militants intent on perpetrating acts of international terrorism. In light of the Taliban’s history of harboring such radical groups, these fears are justified. But the two movements vying for influence in the country, al Qaeda and the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), both face serious obstacles in their quest to use Afghanistan as a platform to bolster their strength and launch a new wave of terrorist attacks. These groups are themselves bitterly divided over what role a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan will play in the global jihadi landscape. For al Qaeda, the Taliban’s victory is an epic triumph—the fulfillment of God’s promise to give victory to the believers over the unbelievers. For ISIS, it is not a triumph at all but rather further evidence of the Taliban’s willingness to collaborate with the Americans. Since the rise of ISIS in 2013 and its declaration of a caliphate the following year in territory the group seized in Iraq and Syria, al Qaeda has sought to position itself as the more moderate and pragmatic of the two groups. It is more restrained in the practice of takfir—the practice of declaring other Muslims to be unbelievers—and more concerned with appealing to public opinion in the Muslim world. Al Qaeda has also deepened its already close ties with the Taliban.”

The Global Herald: The Point: Perils Of Conditional Aid In Afghanistan

“A #humanitarian crisis is emerging in #Afghanistan in the wake of the dramatic political changes that have swept the country. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at a high-level ministerial meeting on Monday in Geneva, “the people of Afghanistan need a lifeline.” What needs to be done to translate the pledges of aid into concrete differences on the ground? And what is China’s position? Guests: Ye Hailin, director, Center of South Asia Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Hans-Jakob Schindler, senior director, Counter Extremism Project.”


Deutsche Welle: India: 6 Men Plotting Terror Attacks Arrested, Police Say

“Indian police on Tuesday evening said they have arrested six men alleged to be plotting terror attacks across major cities of the country. The attacks were allegedly being planned from Pakistan and were “meant to target congregations during the upcoming festive season,” said Neeraj Thakur of the Delhi Police Special Cell, the arm responsible for investigating terrorism and organized crime-related cases. The Hindu festival of Durga Puja takes place in roughly a month's time, with the year's biggest festival Diwali celebrated on November 4. The two of the suspects arrested were believed to have gone to Pakistan via Oman where they received training in using explosives and firearms, he told reporters at a press conference. “In Pakistan, they were kept at a farmhouse for 15 days during which they were trained in firearms,” Thakur later told Indian broadcaster NDTV. The arrests were made during a morning raid in a multi-state operation, he said. Two men were arrested in the capital New Delhi, three were held in neighboring Uttar Pradesh state, and one was caught in the northern state of Rajasthan. Police also said they recovered a cache of weapons and explosives, including IEDs, during the operation.”


Daily Post Nigeria: UAE Names Nigerians Among Sponsors Of Terrorism

“The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has listed six Nigerians as financiers of Boko Haram and terror activities. State-run WAM news agency reports that the information was released at the country’s federal cabinet meeting in Abu Dhabi on Monday. The Nigerians are Abdurrahaman Ado Musa, Salihu Yusuf Adamu, Bashir Ali Yusuf, Muhammed Ibrahim Isa, Ibrahim Ali Alhassan and Surajo Abubakar Muhammad. They were prosecuted in 2020 for wiring funds to Boko Haram…”


Voice Of America: Cameroon Police Say Civilian Attacks On Police Increasing

“Officials in Cameroon say there has been a jump in cases of civilians assaulting police officers. Videos shared on social media in Cameroon show citizens mocking and battering police in response to alleged brutality and corruption. Paul Atanga Nji, the territorial administration minister, also tasked with civilian protection, says at least 15 videos of civilians of refusing police orders and attacking officers have been shared on social media platforms within the past two weeks. Nji said the police force confirmed its officers were the victims in the videos. In some cases, he said, police have been victims of humiliation, battery and other forms of assault from civilians the police are supposed to protect. This irresponsible behavior towards the police is unacceptable,” Nji said. “It should be understood that the police are at the service of each and every one under the esteem guidance of the head of state [Cameroon’s President] Paul Biya. No person, regardless of their social status, for whatsoever reason has a right to assault a police officer on duty.” In one video, a driver refuses a police demand to search his car, hits the police officer and then runs him over with his car while some bystanders applaud.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: Morocco Dismantles ISIS-Linked Cell, Arrests Three

“Moroccan authorities have dismantled a cell of ISIS group-affiliated militants and arrested three suspects accused of plotting an assassination, security services said Tuesday. The suspects, detained in the southern city of Errachidia, had planned “crimes of a terrorist nature against individuals” and selected a public servant for “imminent assassination”, according to the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ), which oversees counter-terrorism operations. Security forces searched the suspects’ homes and a shop, where they found military clothing, extremist literature and information, it said. The head of the cell was “active in recruiting from the among followers of traditional religious trends,” said the statement carried by the MAP state news agency. “He used his shop as a place of worship after he was banned from praying at the mosque, and as a safe place to instill extremist thought among his followers,” it said. The suspects, aged 21, 27 and 37, “had shared digital content of a terrorist nature such as those documenting suicide attacks and killings carried out by ISIS.”

United Kingdom

Defense News: Head Of UK’s Space Directorate Warns Of Space Terrorism

“The head of the United Kingdom’s new Space Directorate warned that increased access to space increases the possibility of “space terrorism,” drawing parallels to the way terrorists were able to use commercial aircraft during the 9/11 attacks. “We all have witnessed what happens, and what particularly happens when the air domain became accessible to all — terrorists turned airliners into weapons. If such a trend holds true for space, when will we have to deal with our first example of space terrorism? And are we prepared for such a dramatic strategic shock?” said Air Vice Marshal Harvey Smyth at the DSEI 2021 conference in London Sept. 14, just days after the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The decreasing cost of launch and the increasing capability of relatively cheap, small satellites makes it easier than ever for governments, corporations and academics to access space. This development has been hailed for the possibilities it’s introduced in the commercial and defense spheres, but Smyth argued that it also opens up new challenges. Under a new arrangement, the United Kingdom will be able to access space situational awareness data from the U.S. Space Force.”

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