Eye on Extremism: October 3, 2023

The New York Times: With Surge In Attacks, Militants Begin New Era Of Bloodshed In Pakistan

“It was a bloody reminder that the dark days of extremist violence appeared to have returned to Pakistan: a suicide attack on a religious festival in the country’s southwest this past week that left around 60 people dead. For nearly a decade, Pakistan had seemingly broken the cycle of such deadly attacks. In 2014, the country’s security forces carried out a large-scale military operation in the tribal areas near Afghanistan, forcing militants across the border and returning a relative peace to the restive frontier region. But since the Taliban seized power in neighboring Afghanistan in August 2021, offering some groups safe haven on Afghan soil and starting a crackdown on others that pushed their fighters into neighboring Pakistan, the violence has roared back. The number of terrorist attacks in Pakistan rose by around 50 percent during the Taliban’s first year in power, compared with the year before, according to the Pak Institute for Peace Studies, which monitors extremist violence and is based in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.”

Reuters: Turkey Arrests 145 People Over Suspected Links To Kurdish Militants

“Turkish police detained about 145 people across the country overnight suspected of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), state media reported on Tuesday, two days after a bomb attack in Ankara claimed by the militant group. On Sunday, two attackers detonated a bomb near government buildings in Ankara, killing them both and wounding two police officers. The outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group claimed responsibility. Turkey subsequently carried out air strikes on militant targets in northern Iraq and detained suspects in Istanbul overnight, hours after the PKK made its claim of responsibility. The latest police operations were centered in Turkey's southeastern Sanliurfa province. Four hundred and sixty-six operations have been carried out against the "intelligence units" of Kurdish militant group PKK across the country, Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said on the X social media platform on Tuesday. Fifty-five suspects have been detained in 16 provinces, he added.”


Associated Press: Syria Says Israeli Airstrikes In An Eastern Province Wounded 2 Soldiers

“Syrian state media said Tuesday that the Israeli military carried out airstrikes in a strategic eastern province wounding two soldiers and causing material damage. There was no comment from Israel on the reported strikes. Syria’s state news agency, SANA, quoted an unnamed military official as saying the airstrikes late Monday targeted military positions in Deir el-Zour. The eastern Deir el-Zour province that borders Iraq contains oil fields and has been a strategic province throughout Syria’s conflict, now in its 13th year. Iran-backed militia groups and Syrian forces control the area and have often been the target of Israeli war planes in previous strikes. Britain-based opposition war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and activist collective Deir Ezzor 24 said the airstrike targeted positions in the Boukamal region along the Iraqi border, a stronghold for Iran-backed militia groups. Both said they could not identify the source of the airstrike. Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-controlled parts of war-torn Syria in recent years, including attacks on the airports in the capital of Damascus, but it rarely acknowledges or discusses the operations. The strikes often target Syrian forces or Iranian-backed groups.”


Voice Of America: Pakistan Tightens Entry Rules For Afghan Travelers

“Pakistan has decided that all citizens of neighboring Afghanistan will be required to enter the country with a valid passport and visa starting next month, similar to travelers from other countries, VOA learned Monday. The landmark "one document regime" policy will replace the decades-old practice of granting special travel permits to individuals with divided tribes straddling the nearly 2,600-kilometer border between the two countries. The "passport as the only traveling document is going to be implemented from November 1, 2023," according to an official federal directive sent to immigration authorities at all Afghan border crossings and seen by VOA. "No other document shall be accepted to travel from Afghanistan to Pakistan," the document said. It instructed relevant authorities to make necessary arrangements and advertise the decision in "visible places" at all crossing points along the border. The government has yet to make a formal announcement about the new policy. Pakistani Interior Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said Monday that he would discuss in detail Afghan-related policy matters at a news conference on Tuesday. A senior Pakistani official confirmed the new travel rules for Afghans to VOA, saying Islamabad hopes Afghanistan's Taliban authorities will cooperate in implementing the decision. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.”

The Times Of India: Taliban, Terror And China: How 'Multiple Chickens Are Coming Home To Roost' For Pakistan

“Taking a veiled dig at Pakistan, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said the economic problems in the cash-strapped "unnamed country to our west" are a result of multiple factors including excessive expenditure on military and imprudent borrowing. Without explicitly naming Pakistan, Jaishankar said, "The unnamed country to our west which we are talking about, their problems are much more long-term, they are deeper historically in terms of what happens when distortions have been introduced into the natural progress of an economy." Jaishankar was speaking at a discussion organised by US think tank Hudson Institute in Washington. "If you have excessive expenditure on the military or if your borrowing has not been prudent or if you have infrastructure which doesn't pay its way. I think there are lot of factors there. Multiple chickens are coming home to roost," he said in response to a question during the discussion. With terror attacks rising and the nation in the grips of a catastrophic economic crisis -- all while its 'all-weather ally' China takes a wait-and-watch approach -- here are some of the ways Pakistan is now suffering due to its own poor decisions and policies.”

Middle East

The Times Of Israel: Gazan Terrorists Test Fire Rockets Days After Border Riots Halted

“Gazans test-fired several rockets from the coastal enclave toward the Mediterranean Sea Tuesday morning, setting off an alert in southern Israel, the military said. The launches, claimed by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, came days after Gazan groups halted nearly two weeks of escalating riots along the security fence, including balloon-borne incendiary devices lofted into Israel. The Israel Defense Forces said the rockets were aimed at the sea and did not cross into Israeli territory. Islamic Jihad’s armed Al-Quds Brigades confirmed carrying out a live fire drill “simulating raids on several Zionist military sites and fortifications,” in a statement posted to messaging app Telegram. The group said the exercises included “advanced offensive maneuver at one of our sites with live ammunition, with the participation of elite forces, including missiles, artillery, armor, and intelligence.” Footage from the Israeli side of the Gaza border showed the launches. Due to the proximity of the launch site to the Israeli border, an alert on the Home Front Command application was activated in an open area in southern Israel, adjacent to the northern Gaza Strip. Sirens did not go off in any towns in the region.”


The Economist: The Drawdown Of African Peacekeepers From Somalia Has Stalled

“On peacekeeping mission anywhere has been as deadly, nor has any African-led one lasted as long. After almost 17 years of trying to stabilise Somalia and beat back jihadists, and perhaps 3,500 casualties among peacekeepers, many had been looking forward to the next phase in the winding down of an almost 18,000-strong African Union (au) force. Yet plans to withdraw 3,000 troops at the end of September have just been shelved, The Economist has learned. This is because of concerns that Somalia’s army will be unable to hold territory that had previously been recaptured from al-Shabab, a jihadist group that America’s military command for Africa has termed “the largest and most deadly al-Qaeda network in the world”. On September 30th the au agreed to pause the drawdown for three months after a last-minute plea from Somalia, according to several people with knowledge of the matter. A statement may be released this week, possibly after a meeting between officials from the AU and UN Security Council. An extension needs the approval of the Security Council, which had previously said that the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) should number no more than 14,626 from October and be completely withdrawn by the end of 2024. (A first phase of the drawdown saw 2,000 going home in June).”


The Times Of India: 'Working For Islamic State': Delhi Police Operation Brings Spotlight Back On ISI Role

“The anti-terror operation undertaken by Delhi Police's Special Cell has led the cops to probe deeper into a sinister operation run by Pakistan's ISI using Indian fugitives Farhatullah Ghori and his son-in-law, Shahid Faisal. The two men have been found to be radicalising and handling Indian Muslim youths in the name of the Islamic State. Ghori alias Abu Sufiyan and Faisal absconded to Pakistan after the Akshardham terror attack of 2002 and live there under the aegis of that country's spy agency. A deep infiltration on the Telegram accounts which the arrested suspects were in contact with shows that Ghori and Faisal masqueraded as the foreign handlers of the module and recruiters of Islamic State in Khorasan Province. "It was in reality a Lashkar-e-Taiba module though the members thought they were working for Islamic State," revealed a source The cops also found imprints of ISI in the use of pipes for bomb making taught to the module members. Using pipes for bombs was once the hallmark of members of SIMI, Kashmir-based groups and even the Indian Mujahideen. Confirming the developments, special commissioner of police HGS Dhaliwal said that the Special Cell had continuously kept surveillance on the activities of the suspected operatives of ISIS and their contacts/sympathisers with special focus on Delhi-centric suspects.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

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