The Crumbling Citadel?
In their current capacity, they would not be able to do anything big, except a few small-scale regional attacks. A top American Counter-Terrorism Official has given this assurance to the members of the US Senate during a discussion on the al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), a banned terrorist organisation operating from the region…
Christopher Miller, the Director of National Counter-Terrorism Centre, recently informed the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that the AQIS is yet to regain strength after the death of its leader Asim Umar in a US Military Raid in Afghanistan in September 2019. He further informed the Committee that al-Qaeda’s presence in the war-ravaged South Asian nation has been reduced to 50 fighters, and the outfit was focussing mainly on their survival! Hence, it would not be possible for al-Qaeda to carry out attacks outside Afghanistan under sustained international pressure.
Meanwhile, Miller highlighted the key role played by the US in the global fight against terrorism that began two decades ago, stating that al-Qaeda was struggling to survive in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan. At the same time, he expressed concern that the terror outfit might try to increase its global influence in the future. According to Miller, al-Qaeda is maintaining close ties with local terror outfits in different parts of the globe. “Over the last year, propaganda from al-Qaeda leaders seeks to inspire individuals to conduct their own attacks in the US and the West. For example, the December 2019 attack at Naval Air Station at Pensacola demonstrates that groups, such as al-Qaeda, continue to be interested in encouraging attacks on the US soil,” he stressed. The Counter-Terrorism Expert believes that the Global Community would take necessary actions against local branches of al-Qaeda across the world.
FBI Director Christopher Wray, too, is of the opinion that al-Qaeda has started concentrating on East and West Africa. Talking to the media earlier this week, he said that apart from Africa, the outfit may also target India with the help of Pakistan-based local terrorist organisations. Wray said that the FBI had informed India about possible terror attacks in the past, and would do the same in the future. He showered praises on India for its efforts in tackling this global scourge.
However, the top Indian Intelligence Officials are not ready to underestimate the strength of al-Qaeda and AQIS. They have advised the Government of India to be prepared to tackle any situation that could threaten the security of the Indian Nationals. The Indian officials have also asked the Government to use all available instruments of national power against the terrorists!
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