Afghanistan – On May 24, the Taliban launched another attack in Kabul close to the Afghan intelligence facility and the headquarters of a government force that protects foreign firms. The Taliban claim that they were targeting CIA trainers. This attack again shows that those responsible for the security of the city are failing. The fact that militants gained access to the city and launched attacks against prominent locations shows that they have the upper hand. With the hand over of security looming ever closer, this must be a major concern for the current Afghan government and their ability to secure their own capital. Terrorist acts in any major city in Afghanistan, especially the capital of Kabul, are showing that the Taliban can strike unhindered against Afghan government locations, and is a major problem for those responsible for the city.
On May 29, the Taliban launched an attack on the governor’s compound in the north-eastern Panjshir province. Dressed in police uniforms, six suicide attackers penetrated the compound, killing one policeman along with all six suicide attackers. This attack will have huge propaganda effects with the NATO withdrawal coming closer.
There are also reports of an attack in Jalalabad against the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) by a suicide bomber and three gunmen. This is the first time that the ICRC has been attacked in Afghanistan. Once the NATO military draw down starts and is completed, Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) will become inviting targets seen as Western-led and supported by the United States. Additional private security for NGO will have to be provided, and medical support will have to be in place as many of these organizations currently rely on the military.
Kashmir – The area of Kashmir has been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan for more than sixty years. Over those years there have been many terrorist attacks, mostly by organizations set up by the Pakistan Intelligence Services (ISI), a charge which the ISI strongly denies. The Muslims of Kashmir do not want to be administered by India, are seeking to either join Pakistan or be independent. Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizbul Mujahideen, Harkatul Mujahideen and the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front are the main militant groups that operate in Kashmir. On May 24, it was reported that four Indian soldiers were ambushed and killed by militants in the central-western Pulwama district of Indian administrated Kashmir. Although there have been sporadic attacks in recent months, they are not as intense as in the past. While most of the groups mentioned are Nationalist/Separatist, it is difficult to say who was responsible for this attack as no one had claimed responsibility. It is possible that there may be those who are not satisfied with the status quo of the area and have set up camps in order to train for attacks in nearby Afghanistan and were discovered by the Indian army.
Philippines – The New People’s Army (NPA) exploded two Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) along the Tagum-Mawab road linking the eastern provinces of Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, killing eight people, five who were soldiers. The NPA is a Communist/Socialist militant organization that was created as the armed wing of the outlawed political organization the Communist Party of the Philippines, Marxist-Leninist (CPP-ML). From 1969 to 1976, the People's Republic of China provided material support to the New People's Army. Following the cessation of China's support, the NPA went through a five-year period of weakness. By the early 1980s, the NPA had found new funding sources and was rebuilding. The group remains a significant threat today. The NPA’s strategy is to continue a prolonged armed conflict that will eventually overthrow the Filipino government and replace it with a communist/socialist state.
Russia – On May 20, open source material reported that Russian counter-terrorism units had foiled a planned attack that was to be executed in Moscow. The Russian security forces confronted three Muslim men of Russian citizenship, killing two and arresting one, in the town of Orekhovo-Zuyevo east of Moscow. The militants’ intended target is believed to have been a mass event held in Moscow, and may have been influenced by the recent Boston bombing. Reports also mentioned that the three had undergone training in North Waziristan, which is a mountainous region of north-west Pakistan and a stronghold of al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.
A possible scenario for an attack may have been June 12, which is the Russian Independence Day, a key date in the national calendar. Although at the time of writing there was no clarification of which group the militants may have belonged to, there is a possibility that they may have belonged to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). The IMU was formed in 1998 with the objective of creating an Islamic state in Uzbekistan. Over the years the militant organization expanded its goals and now aims to create an Islamic State across Central Asia. The IMU received money from Osama Bin Laden, has established a safe haven with the Taliban, and makes money from drug trafficking between Afghanistan and Central Asia.
Paul Ashley is the Senior Counter-Terrorist Analyst