Counter Terrorism Perspectives: CTP

TM: "Ansar al-Islam Bangladesh’s Unchecked Online Recruitment Campaign"

February 28, 2022

In late December 2021, Bangladeshi counter-terrorism agencies warned about the possible resurgence of Ansar al-Islam Bangladesh (AIB), which also functions as an official wing of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and staunchly supports the Afghan Taliban’s Islamic Emirate. According to these agencies, AIB has been recruiting and training in the hinterlands of Bangladesh. Despite relentless counter-terrorism operations targeting AIB’s hideouts and the detention of its cadres for the past several years, the group has remained resilient (Dhaka Tribune, March 7, 2017; Daily Star, November 15, 2021). Bangladeshi police estimate that nearly 40 militants affiliated with AIB have been arrested during 58 anti-terror operations across the country in 2021 alone (Daily Star (Bengali), December 24, 2021).

AIB has also been secretly recruiting from among Rohingya refugees and women, who support activities such as gathering intelligence and couriering. Bangladeshi intelligence agencies also have claimed that the group devised a plan to attack “soft targets” that include anti-Islamic and secular writers, as well as intellectuals. Their plan includes “hard targets” comprising foreign embassies, in addition to entities and individuals promoting Hindutva ideology in the country (Weekly Blitz, December 26, 2021).  Given that AIB is now scaling up its online recruitment campaign, security agencies will inevitably be examining these tactics as well.

Read Complete Article Here: "Ansar al-Islam Bangladesh’s Unchecked Online Recruitment Campaign" Terrorism Monitor, (Jamestown Foundation), Volume XX (4), February 25, 2022