Australia – On July 26, a report from an Australian newspaper stated that the country’s counter-terrorism squad was taking over an investigation after an explosive device was found in the car park of a police station in Campsie, New South Wales. Although the device was hand sized, it had a detonator with a chord attached to it, and a method of triggering the device, but was not connected to explode. The device was found after an email was sent to the Daily Telegraph (Sydney) threatening retaliation for the charging of a number of Muslims involved in riots in Hyde Park riots in Sydney last year. The police have not ruled out the link, but believe this could be a front for an anti-Muslim group, and that this is an attempt to have the Australian authorities target Muslims. In the email, there was no mention of “jihad,” or “Allah.” Other thoughts on the device were that it could have been badly constructed, deliberately designed not to detonate, or the bomber made a mistake. This could have been used as a warning, or as a stated earlier, a method for the authorities to clamp down on Muslims. This whole incident does not seem professional, and is more like a small group of amateurs attempting to spark incidents between the Australian police and Muslim community.
India – The ongoing conflict with the Indian Maoists seems to have escalated over the last few months, with numerous reports indicating that the Maoists are attacking Indian security personnel. Five Special Auxiliary Police (SAP) were killed when the Maoists carried out a diversionary attack on a road works, and the SAP were dispatched to investigate. On their way, they police attacked with a carefully set up ambush. Using a “come-on” like this is a popular militant action.
The militant Salafist organization “the Indian Mujahideen” (IM), which is a home-grown Indian group, has now found a new haven in the north-eastern Indian state of Jharkhand near the Bangladeshi border. In the past, the group has been responsible for a number of high-profile target attacks across the country. It is using Jharkhand as a new recruiting area, which also happens to be a Maoist stronghold, and the possibility of connections with the Maoist group cannot be discounted. There are possibilities that the Indian Mujahideen is a front for the Pakistan-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), responsible for the 2001 Indian Parliament attack and the 2008 Mumbai attacks. In June 2010, the Indian government declared IM a terrorist organization, and later in 2011 New Zealand and the United States followed suit. The aim of the group is to create an Islamic Caliphate across South Asia. There is also a strong possibility that IM has links to militant Salafist groups such as the Hizbut Tahrir (HT), a pan-Islamic political organization whose aim is to create an Islamic Caliphate.
Pakistan – On July 24, it was reported that the al-Qaeda linked, militant Salafist organization, Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) attacked housing offices of the Pakistan Inter-Services-Intelligence (ISI) in the Sukkur district of the south-eastern Sindh province. Although attacks on the ISI are not uncommon, this has raised questions within the Pakistani government that its anti-terrorist laws require updating. Pakistanis are blaming the government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for not devising a new national security policy, even after several promises to do so. The attack on the ISI was claimed as retaliation for the killing of their senior commander, Wali-ur Rehman, who was killed by a suspected drone strike in the north-western Waziristan border district near Afghanistan.
On July 29, it was reported that the Pakistan Taliban attacked a prison in the city of Dera Ismail Khan in the north-western Pakhtunkhwa province, releasing a number of militants held there. The Taliban were dressed in police uniforms, and also attacked the facility with mortars and suicide bombers. 248 prisoners were thought to have been freed. Two important local Taliban commanders, Abdul Hakim and Haji IIyas, were amongst the inmates released by the operation. The attack came a day before Pakistan politicians were to choose the country’s new president.
This was a bold attack, and it was most likely planned to cause as much embarrassment as possible to the Pakistani government. However, the question has to be asked whether the Taliban needed to pull off a spectacular attack at this time, and if the attack was to replenish its ranks, as the organization is reported to have problems recruiting and maintaining its leadership. With the success of drone attacks against the Taliban’s leadership and fighters, it may be under pressure to acquire new members, and the easiest way would be to storm the prison.
Paul Ashley is the Senior Counter-Terrorist Analyst