Eye on Extremism: May 18, 2023

Voice of America News: UN-Blacklisted Taliban Leader Becomes Acting Afghan Prime Minister

“Afghanistan's Taliban confirmed Wednesday they had appointed a caretaker prime minister to oversee daily affairs, saying the incumbent, Mohammad Hasan Akhund, is unwell and needed time to recover. The new head of the all-male Taliban cabinet, Abdul Kabir, is under terrorism-related United Nations sanctions, along with several other senior members of his hardline government. He was elevated from serving as the deputy prime minister for political affairs. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid announced the power shift on Twitter. He said that Akhund, 78, had been in the southern city of Kandahar for some time undergoing treatment and resting, and he will return to Kabul soon to resume his duties. ‘It's a routine matter in the governance process for a caretaker to take charge to ensure the smooth running of the administrative affairs,’ wrote Mujahid. ‘No one needs to worry about it, nor should they use it for propaganda.’”

Daily Sabah: Turkish Military Eliminates 5 YPG/PKK Terrorists In Northern Syria

“The Turkish military eliminated five YPG/PKK terrorists who dug tunnels to carry out an attack against Turkish soldiers in Operation Peace Spring area in northern Syria, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday. The ministry said that the military continues to take revenge of Turkish security forces killed by the PKK terrorists. Three members of gendarmerie forces were killed and a village guard was heavily injured during a counterterrorism operation in southeastern Türkiye, the Interior Ministry reported on Tuesday. It is the highest number of casualties in recent months in operations against the terrorist group, which severely lost its support in Türkiye in the past two decades thanks to intense counterterrorism operations.”

United States

Fox News: Border Patrol Arrest 16 People On FBI Terror Watch List In April At Southern Border

“Border Patrol agents encountered 16 people who are on the FBI’s terror watch list attempting to enter the U.S. illegally at the southern border between ports of entry in April, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics. CBP stats show that 16 people — more than all four years of fiscal years 17, 18, 19 and 20 combined — were stopped by Border Patrol agents in the month of April. It means there have so far been 98 encounters at the southern and northern borders between ports of entry in FY 23 so far. That’s the same as all of FY 22. There were 16 in FY21, 3 in FY 20 and FY19, 6 in FY18 and two in FY12. The numbers at the ports of entry themselves are much bigger, with 295 in FY23 so far, compared to 380 last fiscal year. The watch list, officially called the Terrorist Screening Dataset (TSDS) is the government’s database that ‘contains sensitive information on terrorist identities.’”


Iraqi News: Iraq Restricts ISIS Movement

“The Iraqi Joint Operations Command confirmed it succeeded in restricting the movement of ISIS groups in geographically complex areas through precise air strikes. In statements revealing the escalating role of the Iraqi Air Force and advanced security technology in the war against ISIS terrorist groups, the spokesperson of the Joint Operations Command, Tahsin Al-Khafaji, explained to the Iraqi News Agency (INA) that terrorists exist in geographically complex areas where the movement of ground units is limited. ‘Air strikes carried out by the Iraqi Air Force, based on intelligence information, paralyzed the movement of terrorists in the most complex geographical areas,’ Al-Khafaji said. Al-Khafaji explained that several ISIS leaders and terrorists have been targeted since the beginning of the year until now, stressing that ISIS groups are now incapable of protecting their leaders.”


Associated Press: UK-Based Group Documents Rights Abuses Since Taliban Takeover Of Afghanistan With ‘Witness Map’

“A U.K.-based rights group on Thursday launched an interactive map documenting rampant human rights abuses and violence against civilians since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan nearly two years ago. The documented violations — committed by both the Taliban and militant groups such as the Islamic State group — paint a harrowing picture of present-day Afghanistan. The project by the independent, non-profit Center for Information Resilience is meant to draw wider attention to the surge in abuses against civilians, journalists, and ethnic minorities across the troubled country. With more than 1,300 data points of incidents since Aug. 17, 2021, the map is part of the center’s Afghan Witness initiative.”


Dunya News: Security Forces Pip Two Terrorists In Bannu IBO

“Security forces pipped two terrorists during an intelligence-based operation (IBO) in the Jani Khel area of district Bannu in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Wednesday, The ISPR stated that the IBO was conducted on the reported presence of terrorists in the area. ‘During the conduct of [the] operation, intense fire exchange took place between own troops and terrorists. Resultantly, two terrorists were sent to hell,’ it added. The military’s media wing said weapons and ammunition were also recovered from the slain terrorists. ‘The killed terrorists remained actively involved in terrorist activities against security forces and innocent citizens,’ the ISPR said. The ISPR said locals of the area appreciated the security forces' operation and assured of their full support in eliminating the menace of terrorism.”


The Nation: 64 Islamic Scholars Killed By Boko Haram/ISWAP, Says Lemu

“No fewer than 64 Islamic scholars have been killed by Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) since the inception of the terrorists’ activities in Nigeria, an Islamic Scholar, Dr. Nurudeen Lemu, has said. Lemu who is the Director Research and Training, Islamic Education Trust (Da’wah Institute of Nigeria) said the scholars were killed because they opposed and preached against the terrorists ideologies. He told The Nation in an interview that today many scholars are afraid to counter the terrorists’ ideologies because of fear of assassination by the extremist groups. Lemu said: ‘We have some very knowledgeable ulamas and scholars, but the problem is that many knowledgeable scholars who counter the arguments of Boko Haram/ISWAP have been killed by them. When you know by talking against them they will kill you, why will you talk?  When the security personnel, politicians and soldiers are being killed by Boko Haram, why should you risk your life?’”

United Kingdom

BBC: Former Prison Guard Denies Training Terrorists In Far-Right Fitness Club

“Ashley Podsiad-Sharp told a Sheffield Crown Court jury he set up White Stag Athletics Club to provide ‘a community’ for lonely men with extreme right-wing views to lift weights and go hiking. The 42-year-old lost his job at HMP Leeds in Armley after his arrest by counter-terrorism police in May 2022. He is on trial for possessing and disseminating terrorist material. Giving evidence on Wednesday, Mr Podsiad-Sharp, from the Barnsley area, described himself as ‘a Christian and a national socialist’ who opposed multiculturalism and believed there was no evidence Adolf Hitler had orchestrated the genocide of Jewish people in the Holocaust. He admitted he thought ‘races have problems interacting with each other’ and it was ‘better that we separate in some cases’ but insisted he denounced the use of violence to pursue this aim.”

The National: Young People's 'DIY Ideology' Poses New UK Radicalisation Threat

“…‘We’re not seeing many cases of someone being radicalised to violence merely by listening to Andrew Tate or similar misogynistic online influencers. It’s more a case of those narratives and messages influencing existing extremists to put more emphasis on what they believe the role of women should be in society.’ Liam Duffy, an adviser to the Counter Extremism Project, said Islamist extremists should be perceived as ‘more than a terrorist threat’. He said the UK should not fall into complacency despite no deaths from terrorism being recorded last year. ‘There are long, long periods between terrorist attacks, between recruitment flows to overseas conflicts, where to our eyes nothing happens,’ he said. ‘But that’s not the case. There is a lot happening and we need to know what is happening.’”


WTOP News: The Hunt: More Extremist Content Showing Up Online

“On this week’s episode of The Hunt with WTOP national security correspondent J.J. Green, Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler, Sr. Director at the Counter Extremism Project, says some of the content discusses a ‘race war’ in the U.S.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On June 6, 2021, the Taliban attacked a complex in Ghor province, killing nine and injuring seven. That same day, the Taliban launched similar attacks on the police headquarters in Faryab province, killing 28 security forces, and in Balkh province, killing 19 and injuring 69 others.   

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