Almost six years after al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent’s (AQIS) formation as the regional subsidiary of the infamous transnational jihadist group, the organization is reportedly shifting its violent campaign to Kashmir and India. On March 21, in one of its key Urdu language magazines, AQIS claimed that the group would change the title of its long-running publication Nawa-i Afghan Jihad to Nawa-i Gazawatul Hind, signaling the geographical shift, mostly justifying the objectives behind its name and formation.
Bangladesh’s most lethal home-grown militant organization, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB)—which has multiple ideological and operational factions, including the Islamic State (IS)-inspired neo-JMB and al-Qaeda linked core Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen (JM)—has gained notoriety over the last few years for recruiting and nurturing a network of women militants. Despite robust counter-terrorism operations following the July 2016 Holey Artisan Bakery attacks in the capital Dhaka, an alarming number of women are taking up the cause of militancy.
The Maldivian government has engaged in an effort to restrain radicalized youths from joining jihadists groups in Syria and Iraq. Despite these efforts, the total number of Maldivians fighting in the Syrian civil war has reached 61. According to the island nation’s National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC), over 68 people have been intercepted and captured on their way to Syria and Iraq (Raajje News, January 15).
Of late, al-Qaeda’s South Asia branch has been proactive and forceful in its campaign against India and its neighbors. A “code of conduct,” released by the group in June 2017, signaled an expanded geographical scope by including Afghanistan and Myanmar into its supposed domain of influence and operation, adding to its core focus on India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
It is increasingly evident that each time the relations between India and Pakistan improve, India-focused jihadist groups from across the Pakistani border attempt to disrupt it with attacks in the Indian states of Kashmir, Punjab, and elsewhere. The inevitable aim of these is to upset the possibility of amicable dialogue between these two populous and nuclear-armed nations.
The Maldives-Syria Connection: Jihad in Paradise?
Terrorism Monitor, Volume: 12 Issue: 22, November 21, 2014
A wave of violent clashes that swept Myanmar’s restive Rakhine State (formerly known as Arakan) in late September left at least five Muslims dead and many members of their community injured and displaced. The epicenter of the violence was the city of Thandwe, which was targeted by a Buddhist mob (Mizzima News [Yangon], October 3). For some time now, Buddhist nationalist groups in Myanmar have opposed Muslim businesses and social practices, creating a sense of mistrust and antagonism between the two communities that frequently erupts in violence.
It is no secret that the face of terror - the master mind - is the educated, sophisticated guy from your privileged neighbourhood. But there is a trend that increasingly portends a strong wave of political Islam in India: Even the cannon fodder is elite or middle class.