AQIS trying to present itself as alternative support to J&K insurgency: Europol

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BY SUMIT KUMAR SINGH
New Delhi, June 24 (IANS)
Terror group Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) has tried to present itself as an alternative force providing support to the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir, European Union law enforcement cooperation agency Europol said on Wednesday.
Europol also stated that another global terror outfit, IS has declared that it had “created provinces in India and Pakistan”.
Currently, three Pakistan-based terror outfits — Jaish-i-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen – are behind the terror in the Kashmir valley.
AQIS also termed the Pakistani government as “corrupt” and a close ally of the US, said the Europol report – European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2020 – released on Wednesday.
Terming the AQIS a network of jihadist factions spread across South Asia, it said: “AQIS reportedly collaborates with the Taliban in Afghanistan and has managed to establish itself in Bangladesh, Kashmir and Myanmar.”
It also stated that Al Qaeda has created a strong network of global affiliates that are empowered to push forward the organisation’s centrally defined agenda. Each affiliate, therefore, is a significant threat to Western interests in its own region of operations.
Al Qaeda and its affiliated groups continue harboring the ambition and intent to carry out terrorist attacks in the West or against Western interests in other countries, the report said, adding that Al Qaeda has mainly concentrated on establishing itself in local conflicts, by providing security and services to local insurgent groups.
About global terror organisation Islamic State, the report stated that in 2019, the most active IS branches outside of Iraq and Syria were those in west Africa, Libya, Egypt (‘Sinai’), Afghanistan (‘Khorasan’) and the Philippines.
The report also stated that IS has declared “new provinces and rearranged existing ones’.
“In May 2019, IS announced that it had created provinces in India and Pakistan”, and the terror group is also “restructuring its Khorasan province which had previously covered operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Jammu and Kashmir, and parts of Iran”.
The report stated that IS is also attempting to assert its presence in southeast Asia. Islamic State of Khorasan Province has been drawing cadres and carrying out strikes in south Asia, and has several foreign fighters.
It also stated that there was a wave of endorsements from various IS provinces as well as from pro-IS media outlets followed the declaration of the new “caliph” in October 2019.
Also, most propaganda was aimed to incite potential perpetrators to commit attacks in their countries of residence, it said. “IS also continued to call on potential recruits to travel (hijra) to join IS or its affiliates, although less perceptibly,’ said the Europol report.
Europol is headquartered in The Hague in The Netherlands and provides support and resources to 27 EU member states. It also works with many non-EU partner states and international organisations.

(Sumit Kumar Singh can be reached at sumit.k@ians.in)

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