The Islamic terrorist organisation Al-Qaeda’s India affiliate, Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) is said to be “ideologically inclined” to carry out attacks in India suggests a new report submitted to the United Nations by the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team. The reports, however, says that the Islamic terror group’s capability to carry out any attack is relatively low due to increased security in the country.
Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), the Al-Qaeda’s newest affiliate, despite being “relatively isolated” owing to increased security measures seeks to look for the security gaps for opportunistic attacks.
The report, which was submitted to the UN Security Council Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee, said that the strength of Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, presently exists in Afghanistan has a strength of several hundred people located in Laghman, Paktika, Kandahar, Ghazni and Zabul provinces.
AQIS was formed in 2014 and was led by Asim Umar, who is believed to be an Indian belonging to the Pakistan-based Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, which was itself an Al Qaeda sponsored organisation.
The report noted that Al-Qaeda still has a presence in South Asia and it reported the ability of the Islamic terror group to adapt to the local environment by trying to associate itself into local struggles and communities. The report also speaks about the AQIS’s close relations with the Taliban.
According to one Member State, even though the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), known as IS poses to be an immediate threat, but, Al-Qaeda is the “intellectually stronger group” and remains a long-term threat.
The report added that some members of the Al-Qaeda core, including Aiman al-Zawahiri and Hamza bin Laden, son of dead Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, are reported to be sheltered in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border areas. The report also indicates that other core members of the Al-Qaeda may leave for more secure areas.
The report said that there are still between 20,000 and 30,000 Islamic State fighters remain in Iraq and Syria and addition to these fighters, there are a still a significant number of active foreign terrorist fighters. One Member State reports that some recent plots detected and prevented in Europe had originated from ISIL in Afghanistan.
The report has revealed that the ISIL has been successful in establishing its presence near the regions of Afghanistan and trying to capture the ground in other countries in the region. The report says that ISIL in Afghanistan is responsible for at least one attack in the Kashmir region. However, there is no mention about the details of any attack in Kashmir in the report.
The report added that in Afghanistan, ISIL has continuously tried to expand its presence, despite pressure from the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, the International coalition and the Taliban. The report noted that that ISIL has between 3,500 and 4,000 members in Afghanistan, including between 600 and 1,000 in northern Afghanistan led by Abu Sayed Bajauri and other former members of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan
ISIL currently holds the eastern provinces of Kunar, Nangarhar and Nuristan, and is also active in Jowzjan, Faryab, Sari Pul and Badakhshan provinces in the north. The group has the intention to expand into Ghazni, Kunduz, Laghman, Logar and Uruzgan provinces.