As the West winds down its 'war on terror,' jihadists are filling the vacuum, UN warns
July 22, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 21.6%. 2 min read.
As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the United Nations is warning that the threat from terror groups such as ISIS and al Qaeda is not only resilient, but in many places expanding.
(CNN)As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the United Nations is warning that the threat from terror groups such as ISIS and al Qaeda is not only resilient, but in many places expanding.
In Mali, where France is winding down its counterterrorism mission, the report says that al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists have consolidated their influence and are "increasingly claiming populated areas. " In Mozambique, the report says, "the absence of significant counter-terrorist measures" have transformed the ISIS affiliate in central Africa into a "major threat. "
The report warns that Africa is now "the region most affected by terrorism" -- with al Qaeda and ISIS-aligned groups inflicting higher casualties there than anywhere else.
Al-Shabaab is one of several terror affiliates to increase its use of drones for reconnaissance and has the ability to threaten low-flying aircraft in a region that depends on humanitarian flights to sustain vulnerable populations, the UN report says.
Last month Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari acknowledged the country was still grappling with a serious insurgency despite setbacks suffered by Boko Haram, whose leader Abubakar Shekau reportedly died during an attack by the regional ISIS affiliate (ISWAP) in May. The UN monitors say that while Boko Haram is "significantly weakened," ISWAP may get stronger in the Lake Chad region and try to extend its operations towards the major Nigerian city of Maiduguri.
Elsewhere in Syria, the report states that "groups aligned with [al Qaeda] continue to dominate the Idlib area," where terrorist fighters number more than 10,000.
The UN report notes that Amir Muhammad al-Mawla, who took over as leader of ISIS more than 18 months ago, "remains reluctant to communicate directly with supporters. " It says ISIS' "command and control over its provinces has loosened," referring to its international affiliates.
With al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri "assessed by Member States to be alive but unwell," the UN report says it is uncertain where the group's likely next leader would be based.