COUNTER-TERRORISM PERSPECTIVES (CTP) deals with Armed Insurgencies, Islamist Violence, Jihad and Radicalisation issues and other forms of Asymmetric Conflicts and policy responses in South Asia and beyond.
In mid-2022, Bangladeshi police stumbled upon a burgeoning Islamist militant conglomerate called Jamaatul-Ansar-fil-Hindal Sharqiya (Assembly of the Helpers in the East of India, or “Jamaatul Ansar”) while investigating youth disappearances in the country. More than 50 youths have reportedly left their homes to join Islamist groups under the pretext of religious migration (hijra) in the last two years (Parthom Alo, September 25, 2022).
In mid-December 2022, the Maldivian Presidential Commission on Deaths and Disappearances (DDCom) submitted its final report on the disappearance of a prominent progressive journalist, Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla. Almost eight years after Rilwan mysteriously vanished from the capital Male’s suburb of Hulhumale in August 2014, the investigating agencies have connected several missing dots to reveal how he was harassed, abducted, tortured, and decapitated (Sun, December 15, 2022).
On February 17, the Indian government banned the Kashmir-centric Islamic militant group called the Jammu and Kashmir Ghaznavi Force (JKGF) (egazette.nic.in, February 17). A relatively new entrant in the Kashmir landscape, JKGF emerged as a hybrid strike unit comprised of highly trained cadres of Pakistan-based Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen (TuM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM).
As Rohingya refugee camps near the Naf river (which partially separates Bangladesh and Myanmar) become hubs for organized crime and militants, Bangladeshi authorities fear spillover effects for Bangladesh and for the region more broadly. Refugee camps have mushroomed along Bangladesh’s southeastern border since August 2017 as a result of the Rohingya exodus from Myanmar’s Rakhine State. However, now these refugee camps are becoming havens for crime, replete with gang violence, targeted killings, and the trafficking of drugs, firearms, and counterfeit currency.
Islamist terrorism is not a novel phenomenon in the Southeast Asian region and can be traced to a myriad of indigenous and transnational factors. From the Bali bombing (2002) in Indonesia by Al Qaeda and its regional affiliate Jemaah Islamiyah to the siege of Marawi (2017) by Islamic State (IS) linked local groups in the Philippines, Islamist violence in Southeast Asia has come a long way in the last couple of decades. Two broader categorizations often dominate the academic and policy discourse.
Abstract: This article examines Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent’s (AQIS) extremist propaganda in Bangladesh and how this South Asian affiliate of the Transnational Jihadist group- Al Qaeda- has dominated the extremist narrative against Bangladesh. The analyses draw on primary data from AQIS supporter channels on encrypted social media platforms such as Telegram and various “cloud-platform” websites that serve as repositories for the group’s propaganda.
Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) — one of the most resilient regional affiliates of the transnational jihadist enterprise Al-Qaeda — issued multiple threats to carry out suicide bombings and other targeted attacks in India after controversial remarks about the Prophet Muhammad and the Quran were made by senior members of India’s ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).
After years of hiding, Muhammed Farhatullah Ghauri, one of India's elusive yet most wanted Islamist ideologues, resurfaced with a series of audio-visual messages. Ghauri's sudden re-emergence on popular social media platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Telegram in early 2022 caught the attention of Indian security agencies. Since February, under the banner of Sawt-al-Haq (Voice of Truth), he has railed against the Hindu right-wing in India.
Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, one of the founding leaders of the U.S-based pro- Khalistan separatist entity “Sikhs For Justice (SFJ),” is notorious for his incendiary speeches and threatening messages against Indian leaders and its democratic institutions. On May 10, Pannu claimed responsibility for the rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) attack at Punjab Intelligence Headquarters in Mohali, Punjab and for raising Khalistani flags at the Dharamshala Assembly complex in Himachal Pradesh.
On April 21, amid an unprecedented economic meltdown, political turmoil, and social unrest, Sri Lanka observed the third anniversary of the Islamic State (IS)-claimed Easter Sunday terror attacks. To mark the occasion, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa promised once again to punish those behind the carnage that killed 260 people and injured over 500, who were mostly Christian worshippers at Easter services, foreign nationals, and tourists in hotels. Rajapaksa reiterated his government’s commitment to ensure justice for all the victims of the Easter terror attacks.