September 18, 2021

The threat of terrorism at home and abroad.

As information has emerged about the Islamic State of Khorasan, or ISIS, a terrorist group that claimed responsibility for last week’s suicide bombing that killed 13 US service members and more than 160 Afghans. Were killed , Could once again emerge as a breeding ground for terrorist groups.

A. UN report According to estimates released in June, thousands of fighters from the region have already entered Afghanistan. Many of them are thought to be affiliated with either the Taliban – which is still seen as a terrorist organization – or al-Qaeda or ISIS.

New York Times Reports That ISIS-K was created six years ago by members of the Pakistani branch of the Taliban. Experts are wondering what their ability to successfully carry out a terrorist attack in a Taliban-controlled area means to advance the terrorist threat.

The cipher brief spoke with respected terrorism experts Bruce Hoffman, Mitch Silber and Colin Clark to get their views on the current threat of terrorist attacks against Americans at home and abroad.

Bruce Hoffman., Terrorism Specialist and Professor, Georgetown University.

Cypher Brief Expert. Bruce Hoffman. He is a professor at Georgetown University and has served as a commissioner in an independent commission to review the FBI’s response to 9/11 in response to terrorism and fundamentalism. He is also a resident counterterrorism scholar at the CIA.

Mach Silber., Former Director of Analysis, NYPD.

Cypher Brief Expert. Mach Silber. Serve as Director Intelligence Analysis in the New York City Police Department and as Principal Adviser to the Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence on Counter-Terrorism Policy and Analysis. He is now the Executive Director of the Community Security Initiative.

Colin Clark, Director Policy and Research, Sofan Group.

Colin P. Clark, PhD, is the director of policy and research at Sofan Group. Clark’s research focuses on domestic and international terrorism, international security, and geopolitics. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Sofan Center.

Cipher Short: If UN report True, released in June, and there are thousands of fighters from the region who have entered Afghanistan – affiliated with many well-known terrorist groups – is there any way for the administration to denigrate the presence of terrorism in Afghanistan? Can say ‘mission accomplished’?

Hoffman: As the figures for the report released by the UN Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team stand out, Afghanistan is once again becoming a jihadist magnet and will continue to be so in the future. The suicide bombings outside the gates of Kabul International Airport last Thursday underscore the predominance of terrorist groups already in the country.

In addition to ISIS, there are the Haqqani Network, Al Qaeda and, of course, the Taliban. Terrorism thrives in a state of chaos and instability that terrorists hope to spread to other countries and eventually regions.

Most Salafi jihadist terrorists migrated from the current battlefield in South Asia to the Middle East, North Africa and the Caucasus in the 1990s. It spread to East and West Africa in the early 2000s. During the Arab Spring, civil war broke out in Syria, Libya, and the coast, in the early twenty years; This is the situation in Afghanistan.

Silver: Honestly, I don’t think any of the four administrations can claim that the policy goal of making Afghanistan invincible as a safe haven for al Qaeda or other similar jihadist groups has been achieved. Certainly, several times over the last twenty years, the threat posed by jihadist groups, most importantly al Qaeda, in terms of its ability to pose a threat to the United States, has diminished, the decline was only temporary. .

Cipher Short: How confident are you that al Qaeda and ISIS are incapable of planning and carrying out attacks against the United States locally?

Hoffman: Reliable Doha talks with the Taliban that led to the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the subsequent Taliban clashes across Afghanistan and then the expulsion of our diplomats and civilians have become a major target behind the United States. ۔ Terrorists will sniff blood like sharks in water. As my Foreign Relations Fellow, Jacob Weir, and I wrote. War on the rocks.In May, each time terrorism forced the United States to withdraw from the conflict zone where it had deployed ground forces, whether in Lebanon in 1984 or in Somalia in 1993; And in Iraq in 2011, it created more terrorism around the world, no less, and thus made the United States less secure.

At a time when our country is battling the COVID epidemic Climate change is turning the Gulf states into a wildfire with Hurricane Ida and California. When January 6Th Riot in the US capital The smoke continues With bombings near the Library of Congress and the Canon House office building earlier this month. With ongoing cyber-attacks by China and Russia and peer competition, and concerns over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, our counterterrorism could well conclude that the United States is more or less engaged or disturbed than ever before. And therefore may conclude that the time is right to attack the homeland. The devastation of 9/11 is unlikely to be repeated.Th 2001 attacks but terrorist attacks like the 2019 firing at Naval Air Station Pensacola. Suicide attack on a concert venue in Manchester, England in 2017 Coordinated suicide attacks on London transport in 2005; The 2004 Madrid passenger train bombing or any significant lone wolf incident in the name of an existing terrorist movement could potentially create widespread fear and anxiety, which is the business of terrorism. Twice in the last three years, it should also be noted that al-Shabab members شاید perhaps al Qaeda’s least technically savvy franchisees گرفتار have been arrested in both the Philippines and an unknown African country engaged in the same flight training. ۔ The 9/11 hijackers did so before their devastating, history-changing coordinated attack.

Silver: At the moment, it is unlikely that al-Qaeda or ISIS has the infrastructure, resources, recruitment and external planning capabilities that would allow the IC and Congress to reach the United States based on statements made by senior DOD officials. Has the ability to attack. However, as a result of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, without any or only limited external pressure from the US military, these networks and capabilities could be rebuilt in the coming months and certainly groups like Al Qaeda will never attack the US. The desire did not give up. Country.

Clark: I don’t think it’s possible for AQ or ISIS to invade the American homeland. We have spent the better part of the last two decades defending the homeland. We now have CT tools that we didn’t have twenty years ago. That said, the picture could look very different in 6, 12, 18 months from now. Both organizations have the potential to recreate the ability to plan external operations. There is also concern about affected attacks.

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Cipher Short: Some analysts have said that the situation surrounding the US withdrawal in Afghanistan has raised the morale of terrorists or Islamic extremist groups. Do you agree and if so, what does that mean?

Hoffman: Yes. Of course. Both Sunni and Shiite terrorist movements around the world have praised the Taliban’s recapture of Afghanistan and the defeat of the US military. For Sunni Salafi-Jihadi terrorists, this month’s events confirm Osama bin Laden’s pre-2004 strategy US presidential election., When he described the ease with which al-Qaeda managed to bloody Russia for 10 years, until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw from defeat in Afghanistan in 1989, and the Shiite terrorist organization Hizb Allah’s secretary general, Syed Hassan Nasrallah, delivered a sermon last week in which he represented the United States in its “historic and humiliating defeat in Afghanistan.”The moral decline of America. ”

Silver: Jihadi chat rooms and online extremist networks are feeling like they are being pursued. It took twenty years, but an Islamic Emirate has been re-established in Afghanistan before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Suddenly, what seemed impossible has become possible, and Islamist uprisings throughout the Middle East and South Asia could be affected by the Taliban’s determination to overthrow a secular democratic government and replace it with an Islamist government.

Clark: I expect the morale of terrorists, especially Islamic extremists, to rise because of what we have seen in Afghanistan. We’re a week and a half away from the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and al Qaeda leaders are returning to Afghanistan (shown in AQ Propaganda). We have seen al Qaeda members around the world congratulate the Taliban on their victory. I do not want to promote the case here, but I am sure that what has happened in Afghanistan will be a serious boost to the global jihadist movement, as the United States and its allies move from counter-terrorism to a superpower. Are There will be very few resources and energy to deal with terrorists, at a time when we face a massive threat in Afghanistan, possibly with both the reactivated al Qaeda and a resilient ISKP.

Also read Mike Letter. Why are we safer from terrorism now than we were after 9/11? In The Cipher Brief.

Also read Why do we need a new national defense strategy? (For terrorism) exclusively in The Cipher Brief.

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