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 August 2013, a Bangladeshi court in Barguna district jailed several members of the extremist outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), including its spiritual leader Mufti Jasimuddin Rahmani, for subversive activities in the country. These ABT members were accused of widespread violence and targeted killings during the Shahabag protest movement held earlier that year. The incarceration of Rahmani brought his fellow cleric Tamim al-Adnani to the forefront of the terrorist group as its spiritual head.
The image of the Maldives as a tropical paradise received a significant jolt on February 4, when three foreign nationals—two Chinese and one Australian—were stabbed and injured by Islamist militants near the Hulhumale Redbull Park Futsal Ground in the country’s North Male Atoll. The incident happened amid growing concerns about secret extremist networks inspired by transnational jihadist groups such as al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS) that are active in the country.
In late November 2019, al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) issued a message on its digital platforms, both through Telegram messaging channel and through al-Qaeda’s official al-Sahab web portal, urging members to ensure unity among the ranks and learn lessons from the death of Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. AQIS criticized the rival IS group and its slain leader, underscoring how the group divided the global jihad movement and almost destroyed it through sowing discord within.
INTERVIEW: “Recent ISIS arrests are just a needle in South India’s jihadi haystack”
By Vicky Nanjappa, Bengaluru/ January 23, 2020
Following a notable lull in militant activity, Pakistan is now facing a unique militant escalation targeted against its security forces in the North Waziristan area and bordering regions. Despite the Taliban force largely being subdued following the concerted counter-terrorism efforts by Pakistan’s military, such as Operation Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad, a resurgent faction Hizb-ul-Ahrar (HuA) has been carrying out targeted attacks in regular intervals.
In a significant turn of events, on October 23 Maldivian security agencies arrested Mohamad Ameen, an Islamist militant recruiter associated with Islamic State (IS). His arrest came around a month after the Presidential Commission on Deaths and Disappearances named him as the leader of an IS-linked group operating in the Maldives. Ameen’s arrest came as a surprise for many in the region, as successive governments in the Maldives had earlier failed to act against a homegrown Islamist-criminal gang nexus and radicalized Maldivians traveling abroad for jihad in Syria and Afghanistan.
Bangladesh’s Islamist landscape unexpectedly expanded with a reported resurgence of al-Qaeda-linked Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami-Bangladesh (HUJI-B—Movement of Islamic Holy War-Bangladesh) terrorist group, which has been lying dormant for over a decade. On October 2, Dhaka police arrested three senior HuJI-B operatives from the Khilgaon area of the capital city who were reportedly engaged in reviving HuJI-B’s operations in Bangladesh.
On August 23, the Sri Lankan government ended a four-month-long state of emergency that was declared after multiple suicide bombings inspired by the Islamic State (IS) rocked the South Asian nation (Colombo Page, August 23). Over 250 people died and scores were injured when on April 21, Easter Sunday, suicide bombers targeted popular hotels and churches in the capital city of Colombo, Dehiwala, Negombo (on the East Coast), and Batticoloa (on the West Coast).
On July 31, news of Hamza bin Laden’s death surfaced with only partial comment from U.S. intelligence officials and al-Qaeda media sources (Dawn [Karachi], August 1). The original report citing unnamed U.S. officials did not confirm the date, place or circumstances that led to the death of the chosen son of Osama bin Laden, who was touted as the “crown prince of jihad” and future leader of al-Qaeda.
On February 14 (2019), over 40 Indian paramilitary force personnel belonging to Central Reserve Police Force were killed near Awantipora in Pulwama district, when a Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) fidayeen (suicide) squad member Adil Ahmed Dar ambushed the security convoy with an explosives-laden vehicle (VBIED), or simply put, with a car bomb. While the use of a car bomb in itself is not new in the Kashmir region, but the terrorist outfit led by Masood Azhar used this method after a gap of almost 14 years.