Weekly thought – when terrorists are killed by other terrorists
When I worked in counter-terrorism (CT) we used to have a phrase: “A dead terrorist is a good terrorist’. That may strike some as harsh and I am pretty sure it is politically incorrect these days but think of it from a practitioner’s perspective. If a terrorist is killed – preferably before he can kill anyone else – then s/he is one less terrorist to worry about. One less terrorist to investigate. One less terrorist to follow. One less terrorist who can kill at whim.
Kinda makes sense, no?
What is even more satisfying is when terrorists kill other terrorists. This happens on occasion when two groups are vying for control and influence, even if they all sing from the same ideological song sheet (we have seen this lately in parts of Africa between groups aligned with Al Qaeda (AQ) and Islamic State (ISIS) go at each other.
Which is what is happening in Afghanistan right now.
As we all know, the current ruler of that country is a terrorist group: the Taliban. They ran the show from the mid-1990s to 9/11 and have come back with a vengeance after the US withdrawal in August 2021. They are the same bunch of jihadis, not the ‘Taliban 2.0’ – a gentler, kinder version – some claim.
But they are not the only terrorists in that nation.
There is also an ISIS affialiate, ISIS in Khorasan (ISK) which has been wreaking havoc for a number of years. And, more recently, they are targeting Taliban officials as well as ordinary Afghans (especially Hazara Shia) – see below for some examples.
As a consequence, ISK terrorists are killing Taliban terrorists and I don’t see a down side to this.
- Number of countries where attacks took place: 11 – Afghanistan, CAR, DRC, Djibouti, India, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen (NB first appearance by Djibouti on this list)
- Casualty count (dead/wounded/terrorists killed): 138/74/369
- Nature of groups behind attacks: Islamist (94%); nationalist (6%)
- Number of right-wing attacks: 0
- A bomb went off in Kabul on October 4 but led to no casualties according to Taliban officials.
- An explosion hit the Taliban’s Interior Ministry headquarters in Kabul on October 5: there was no immediate claim or information on casualties. Later information noted there were four deaths and 25 injuries: ISK is suspected of having been behind the attack.
- The Taliban intelligence agency claimed on October 4 that it had arrested ISK’s head of foreign and financial relations .
- The Taliban Head of Economy for the northern Afghan province of Faryab, Abdul Rahman Munawar, was assassinated by unknown armed men on October 8.
Central African Republic
- A roadside bomb killed three 3 UN peacekeepers from Bangladesh near the village of Kaita, close to the border with Cameroon, on October 3. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack on the MINUSCA (Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic) battalion.
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
- Suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) terrorists entered the village of Vido in North Kivu province on October 4 and killed ten people, including an Anglican pastor. Another 20 people were reported ‘missing’.
- Djiboutian officials claimed that seven of its soldiers were killed in an attack by a rebel group on a military barracks in the early hours of October 7: a search was launched to find six still missing. A defense ministry statement blamed the assault on the base in Garabtisan in the north of the tiny Horn of Africa nation on the “Armed FRUD” (Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy), describing it as a “terrorist group.”
- The chief of the prison service in Indian Kashmir was murdered on October 4 in an attack ascribed to Islamist terrorists.
- The Iraqi military announced on October 7 that it had killed a suspected ISIS military leader in Kirkuk along with two of his comrades in an airstrike.
- A car bomb in Irbil, the capital of Kurdistan, on October 7 killed one, an officer in the Kurdish counter-terrorism services in the city of Sulaimaniyah, and injured four others – two women and two children.
- Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian schoolchildren and commuters on October 4 near Nablus as they attempted to storm Joseph’s Tomb under the protection of Israeli soldiers.
- Israel shut down beginning October 4 for Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement and the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, as security forces remained on high alert for the holiday amid a spike in terrorist attack warnings. All flights in and out of Ben Gurion airport ceased at 2:00 p.m on that day. During that period Israel’s air space was also closed to flights passing through. Border crossings were also shut and did not reopen until late on October 5.
- Four Israelis were injured in a shooting attack at an East Jerusalem checkpoint on October 8. Police said a gunman shot at security forces at the checkpoint, while a suspect also opened fire from a passing vehicle, wounding a soldier and a security guard, along with a third person: one victim is in critical condition and a second in serious condition. Celebratory fireworks were reported in the Shuafat refugee camp after the shooting, which was praised by the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group. The soldier later died of his injuries.
- Morocco’s BCIJ and Spain’s Intelligence Services dismantled an ISIS terrorist cell active in Nador and the Spanish enclave of Melilla on October 4, arresting nine suspects. The leader of the terrorist cell had links with another cell dismantled in December 2019 near Madrid and in Nador.
- Scores of motorists and travelers were feared dead on October 3 after tripping IEDs planted by Boko Haram (BH) on the Maiduguri-Damboa-Chibok road in Borno State. BH terrorists also stormed Njilang village in Whuntafu ward of Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State, killing three people.
- According to an October 4 Nigerian report no fewer than 422 of the 889 inmates who escaped from the Kuje Medium Custodial Facility in Abuja on July 5 are yet to be recaptured, including 64 high-profile BH terrorists.
- No fewer than 35,000 persons have been reported killed in Northern Nigeria and 1.8 million others displaced in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states since 2009 when Boko Haram launched its insurgency.
- A former Afghan Police commander was assassinated by unknown gunmen in Pakistan: as the attack took place in Balochistan, it was quite possibly the work of jihadis.
- An Al Shabaab (AS) suicide attack in Beledweyne killed more than 20 people and wounded 36 others on October 4. The death toll from the triple bombing later rose to at least 30.
- AS claimed to have killed 50 Liyu police officers, paramilitary forces belonging to the Somali regional state in eastern Ethiopia on the border with Somalia, on October 6. On the other hand, Liyu police said members of Al-Shabaab were killed in the battle and retook control of the war zones.
- AS’s spokesman Sheikh Ali Dhere reportedly died of injuries sustained during heavy fighting in the Hiiraan region this week.
- Nearly 19 AS were killed by Somali forces in the Middle Shabelle region on October 7.
- AS killed five soldiers in Puntland on October 10 and wounded an unspecified number.
- The Somali National Army (SNA) stated that it had killed more than 200 AS terrorists on October 9.
- AS fired mortars at the AU mission in Somalia on October 9: no casualties were reported.
- In addition to the arrests in Spain’s North African enclave of Melilla, one ISIS jihadi was seized in Granada on October 3.
- A rare US helicopter raid on a government-held village in Syria’s northeast on October 6 killed an ISIS official hiding out there.
- Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) ‘neutralised’ a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist linked to those responsible for the assassination of a prosecutor in the eastern province of Tunceli in 2012 in an operation in the Syrian border town of Kobani on October 7. The terrorist, Hasan Demirtaş, codenamed Koçero Batman/ Koçer Amed, had joined the terrorist organization in 2001, participated in the activities of the organization against security forces in Tunceli and the border province of Hakkari and took part in the terrorist attack in Tunceli, where public prosecutor Murat Uzun and a taxi driver were killed.
- US forces killed a “senior” member of ISIS on October 6 in a pre-dawn raid on northeastern Syria. Rakkan Wahid al-Shammari, an ISIS official known to facilitate the smuggling of weapons and fighters., was killed and one of his associates was wounded: two others were detained.
- Turkey’s Deputy Interior Minister announced on October 6 that 145 terrorists were ‘neutralised’ in September: 113 PKK members, 23 ISIS-related terrorists and another nine worked for left-wing terrorist organizations. Another 26 were allegedly ‘neutralised’ (killed, wounded or captured) on October 8.
- Three Yemeni soldiers were killed in an attack against oil tankers in Shabwa: five others were wounded. Immediate blame fell on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
- Four members of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) forces were killed and three wounded on October 9 by AQAP.