Eye on Extremism: November 12

Bloomberg: U.S. Joins China, Russia In Urging Taliban To Cut Terrorist Ties

“The U.S. joined rivals China and Russia to call on the Taliban to cut ties with terrorist groups and stop them from operating in Afghanistan after a recent spate of attacks that have been linked mostly to the Islamic State.  The concerted push from these world powers and Pakistan, known as the “extended troika,” to ensure the Taliban fulfilled their commitments followed a meeting in Islamabad on Thursday and signals the growing concern of a spillover of terror activities in the region. The group also met with senior Taliban representatives on the sidelines of the meeting. The extended troika called on the Taliban to eliminate terror groups in Afghanistan in a “decisive manner,” while also showing concern for the severe humanitarian and economic situation in the country, the U.S. State Department said. The group of the countries “agreed to continue practical engagement with the Taliban to encourage the implementation of moderate and prudent policies that can help achieve a stable and prosperous Afghanistan as soon as possible,” the State Department said in a statement. It also welcomed the Taliban’s commitment to allow for safe passage to all traveling to and from Afghanistan, and called for unhindered humanitarian access.”

The Hill: US Calls For Iran-Backed Houthis To Release Detained Yemeni Staffers From Embassy

“The Biden administration is calling for the immediate release of Yemeni staff of the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a who are being detained by Iran-backed Houthi separatists who control the city, a State Department spokesperson told The Hill on Thursday. The spokesperson said that the majority of the staff have been released but the Houthis continue to detain Yemeni employees of the embassy without explanation. The U.S. is also concerned about the Houthis' breach of the American Embassy compound in Sana’a, which has been closed since 2015 when its official operations moved to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, amid the Yemeni civil war. “We call on the Houthis to immediately vacate it and return all seized property. The U.S. government will continue its diplomatic efforts to secure the release of our staff and the vacating of our compound, including through our international partners,” the spokesperson said. They did not address in what capacity the locally employed staff had been working or how many are detained. U.S. embassies around the world frequently employ and rely on local citizens of the host country for staffing to supplement the work of American employees.”

United States

USA Today: DHS Issues Fresh Warning Of Terrorism, Citing 'Diverse And Challenging Threat Environment'

“Federal authorities extended a national terror warning, citing a “challenging threat environment” in part related to the chaotic U.S. exit from Afghanistan where there are increasing concerns for the reconstitution of terror groups, including al Qaeda and ISIS. The new Department of Homeland Security bulletin, which takes effect today, builds on an alert issued in advance of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and the looming threat posed by domestic violent extremists as a busy holiday season approaches. In September, FBI Director Christopher Wray referred to the rising domestic terror threat, telling a Senate committee that domestic terror cases had more than doubled since early 2020.  “The Homeland continues to face a diverse and challenging threat environment as it approaches several religious holidays and associated mass gatherings that in the past have served as potential targets for acts of violence,” the bulletin said. “These threats include those posed by individuals and small groups engaged in violence, including domestic violent extremists and those inspired or motivated by foreign terrorists and other malign foreign influences.” Authorities, however, noted that intelligence gathered so far has not identified a “imminent and credible threat to a specific location in the United States.”

Afghanistan

Fox News: Taliban Holds Military Parade Showing Off Arsenal Of Military Gear Abandoned By U.S.

“The Taliban reportedly held a parade recently showing off the recently-acquired United States military equipment left behind during the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in August. The Taliban's parade took place in the Kandahar region of Afghanistan and featured U.S. armored Humvees and helicopters, according to Agence France-Presse. The convoy, which was parading as a celebration of inaugurating the new “Islamic Emirate Army,” drove down Kandahar’s main road past onlookers as religious music was played from loudspeakers. The American withdrawal from Afghanistan led to the disposal of billions of dollars worth of military equipment left for the Taliban’s keeping. “Most of the American and Afghan military equipment at Kabul's airport was destroyed by U.S. forces before they left Kabul,” Fox News' Trey Yingst reported in September. “That's not the case for the rest of Afghanistan. There are thousands of Humvees, aircraft and other critical pieces of military equipment left behind now in the hands of the Taliban.” In a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in August, GOP lawmakers said they were “horrified” to see images of Taliban militants in possession of military equipment, including UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.”

Pakistan

Al Jazeera: Pakistan Takes Far-Right Leader Off Terror List To End Protests

“Pakistan has removed far-right leader Saad Rizvi from its terrorism watchlist, paving the way for his release from detention under a deal to end weeks of deadly protests by his followers over alleged blasphemy. The move on Thursday came a week after the government agreed to free 2,000 detained members of his Tehrieek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) movement, lifted a ban on the group and agreed to let it contest elections. In return, the TLP has agreed to shun the politics of violence and withdraw a demand to have France’s ambassador expelled over the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad by a French magazine, negotiators have said. The TLP took to the streets in mid-October, kicking off weeks of protests and clashes that killed at least seven policemen, injured dozens on both sides and blocked the country’s busiest highway. At the height of the violence, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government banned the TLP, designated it a terrorist group and arrested Rizvi. A government notification said the TLP chief Saad Rizvi’s name was “hereby deleted” from the terrorism watchlist after authorities lifted the ban. It did not go into further details and the government and the Interior Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.”

Yemen

The Washington Post: Attack On Journalists In Yemen Shows It Has Become ‘Death Career,’ Even Away From The Front Line

“An attack on two journalists in Yemen’s temporary capital of Aden has renewed safety fears among their colleagues amid worsening violence in the war-torn country’s south. Rasha Abdullah al-Harazi, a pregnant journalist, was killed Tuesday, and her husband, Mahmoud al-Utmi, was gravely injured when their vehicle was bombed in the coastal city. For around seven years, Yemen has been submerged in a violent civil war between the government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition since 2015, and the Iranian-backed rebel Houthis, who now control most of the country’s north. Most high-level Yemeni government officials live in neighboring Saudi Arabia, and Aden is run by the Southern Transitional Council, a body backed by the United Arab Emirates that has repeatedly clashed with the government over control of the south. Much of the fighting in Yemen is concentrated around the northern province of Marib, where Houthi forces have made significant advances in a bid to take control of the government’s last northern stronghold. Aden is far from those front lines, but the coastal city has been targeted with bomb and missile attacks in recent years, including at least two deadly explosions last month.”

Nigeria

Sahara Reporters: Residents Flee As Boko Haram Terrorists Attack Hometown Of Borno Deputy Speaker

“Militants of the Islamic State-backed faction of Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), formerly known as Jamā'at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da'wah wa'l-Jihād have attacked Askira Uba in Borno State. Askira is south and about 250km drive from Maiduguri, the state capital. It is also the hometown of Engr Abddullahi Musa Askira, the Deputy Speaker of Borno State House of Assembly. According to PRNigeria, an intelligence officer said the terrorists first disguised themselves as visitors before launching the attack. “After realising that soldiers were not within the vicinity, they started shooting in the air, destroying structures on sight,” the source said. “Houses and a block of classrooms were among properties destroyed. The military has deployed troops to the area.” Earlier this week, ISWAP abducted Mohammed Askira and two brothers. The trio are brothers of the Emir of Askira, Abdullahi Mohammed Askirama II. The terror group, which split from the mainstream Boko Haram in 2016, has become a dominant group, focusing on military targets and high-profile attacks, including against aid workers. With the death of Abubakar Shekau and the realignment of various factions, an interim committee headed by one Abbah Gana aka Ba-Lawan was appointed to lead the ISIS Islamic Caliphate of Africa (Wilaya of Africa), covering parts of Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon.”

Sahara Reporters: 1,186 Repentant Boko Haram Terrorists, Relations Received As Nigerian Troops Kill 31, Arrest 71 Others In North East

“The Defence Headquarters says troops of Operation Hadin Kai eliminated 31 terrorists and arrested 71 others in two weeks in the North-East. Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Bernard Onyeuko, disclosed this on Wednesday while briefing journalists on the operations of armed forces between October 29 and November 11 in Abuja. Onyeuko said a total of 1,186 Boko Haram elements and their families comprising 226 adult males, 406 adult females and 555 children surrendered to troops at different locations in Borno State. He added that two of the arrested terrorists were women logistics suppliers namely, Mrs Aisha Umar (19) with a two-year-old child and Mrs Kaltumi Bakura (20) who were residents at internally displaced persons' camp in Bama. The Brigadier General disclosed that a total of 97 kidnapped civilians were rescued while a total of 122 assorted weapons were recovered during the period. The statement read, “The sustained synergy in the land and air operational efforts of Hadin Kai has continued to degrade the operational capabilities of the terrorist elements, limit their freedom of action and drive scores of them into surrendering. “In the course of these operations, 31 terrorists were neutralized and 71 of them arrested including 2 women logistics suppliers namely Mrs Aisha Umar, 19 years with a child of (2 years) and Mrs Kaltumi Bakura, 20 years all resident at IDP Camp in Bama. Also, a total of 122 assorted weapons were recovered.”

Somalia

Daily Sabah: 3 Dead, Many Injured As Al-Shabaab Terror Hits Somalia's Mogadishu

“At least three people were killed and several others wounded when an al-Shabaab terrorist rammed his explosives-laden car into a security convoy in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Thursday, officials said. The suicide bombing took place at a busy intersection near Villa Baidoa, the Somali military's second headquarters in Mogadishu. Abdifatah Hassan, a police officer in Mogadishu, told Anadolu Agency (AA) over the phone the suicide car bomb blast targeted a convoy carrying personnel of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). “We don't know if there are AMISOM casualties,” he said. The wounded were transported to nearby Madina hospital, he added. Yasin Adan, a paramedic, told AA that he saw several wounded civilians lying on the ground crying before they were taken to the hospital. Al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist group al-Shabaab later claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that it had targeted United States officers working for a defense company called Pacific Architects and engineers who were part of the AMISOM convoy. The attack comes hours after a roadside bomb blast wounded at least three police officers in Mogadishu.”

United Kingdom

The Independent: Man Charged With Terror Offence After Wearing T-Shirt ‘Promoting Banned Group’

“A man has been charged with a terror offence after wearing a T-shirt that allegedly promoted a banned group. Feras al-Jayoosi, 34, will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday. A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said he had been “charged with four counts of wearing an article, namely a T-shirt, in such a way or in such circumstances as to arouse reasonable suspicion that he is a supporter of a proscribed organisation”. The charges were brought in relation to alleged incidents in Swindon on 30 May and Golders Green, in London, on 8 June and 9 June. Police had been called to reports of a man “wearing a T-shirt promoting a proscribed organisation” and the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) launched an investigation. Activists from Friends of the Earth during a demonstration calling for an end to all new oil and gas projects in the North Sea outside the UK Government's Cop26 hub during the Cop26 summit in Glasgow The Terrorism Act 2000 makes it illegal to wear an item of clothing in a public place that suggests someone is a member or supporter of a terrorist group. The offence is punishable by a fine or a prison term of up to six months.”

Europe

The National: Belgium Terrorism Convict Arrested In Bulgaria

“A man convicted of terrorism in Belgium has been detained as he entered Bulgaria through its south-eastern border with Turkey, prosecutors announced on Thursday. Border police and state security agents intercepted the man on Wednesday in a special operation, the prosecution said. He is “sought in relation to a 20-year jail sentence for terrorism handed to him by a court in an EU country” and a terrorism sentence of nine years and five months in Turkey, it said. Bulgarian media identified the man as Yassine Lachiri, reportedly close to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was believed to have been one of the 2015 Paris attack planners. Belgium's federal prosecutors' office told AFP that it was seeking the man's extradition. A Brussels court sentenced Lachiri to 20 years in prison in his absence in 2015 as part of a larger trial of those involved in a terrorist recruitment network in Belgium. Belgian press reports say that Lachiri, who is reportedly of Moroccan descent, was stripped of his Belgian nationality in his absence in 2020.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On November 28, 2020, Boko Haram militants attacked farmers as they worked in the rice fields of Koshebe near the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri. Abubakar Shekau confirmed his faction was responsible for the massacre of 110 civilians.   

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