Istanbul attack: Why China’s Uighurs are joining global jihadist groups

6 January 2017; by Siegfried O. Wolf

Exclusives interview with Deutsche Welle, conducted by Shamil Shams:

Turkish authorities have arrested a number of people of Uighur origin over the New Year’s Eve attack

The Turkish government has arrested several Uighur Muslims in connection with Istanbul’s nightclub attack. In a DW interview, analyst Siegfried O. Wolf explains why the Uighur issue has expanded beyond China’s borders.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak said Thursday that the gunman who attacked Istanbul’s Reina nightclub during New Year’s celebrations is likely from China’s Muslim Uighur minority and was a “specially trained member of a (terror) cell.” Turkish authorities have also arrested a number of people of Uighur origin over the attack that killed 39 people. Continue reading “Istanbul attack: Why China’s Uighurs are joining global jihadist groups”

Double Standards? Understanding China’s Diplomatic Support for Pakistan’s Cross-Border Terrorists

6 January 2017; Siegfried O. Wolf

On December 30, 2016, China once again blocked India’\s attempt to get the United Nations (UN) to list Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist. The move took place despite clear indications that the Pakistan-based JeM under the leadership of Azhar is responsible for several attacks on Indian soil, like the Parliament terror attack (2001) or the Pathankot airbase attack. In this context, it is remarkable that JeM has already been blacklisted by the 15 members of the UN Security Council (UNSC), but not the terrorist leader himself. Due to the persistent ‘technical holds’ enforced by China, Azhar did not get listed as a designated terrorist under the 1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh, the militant Islamic State/IS group) and Al Qaida Sanctions Committee’ of the UNSC. Continue reading “Double Standards? Understanding China’s Diplomatic Support for Pakistan’s Cross-Border Terrorists”

Why are Afghan Shiites being targeted?

23 November 2016, by Siegfried O. Wolf

Interview/Quotation with Deutsche Welle, conducted by Masood Saifullah:

Afghanistan has seen a surge in terror attacks targeting the country’s minority Shiite community. Observers say the attacks are aimed at undercutting the government’s credibility and exacerbating the sectarian tensions.

Continue reading “Why are Afghan Shiites being targeted?”

Afghan government’s control over Kunduz remains fragile

Interview/Quotation with Deutsche Welle, conducted by Masood Saifullah:

A year after Taliban fighters briefly overran Kunduz city, in a major blow to the morale of Afghan security forces, the insurgents continue to pose a major challenge to government troops in the region. DW examines.

Continue reading “Afghan government’s control over Kunduz remains fragile”

The Fallacy of State Rhetoric: Pakistan, Haqqani Network and Terror in Afghanistan

10 May 2016

This article is based on the notion that terrorism is a political strategy and can be utilized by any actor whether they be individuals, organized groups or loose networks, domestic and international organizations, or even states. Subsequently, the article argues that states can be also terrorist actors and that state terror has to be included in the study of terrorism. Continue reading “The Fallacy of State Rhetoric: Pakistan, Haqqani Network and Terror in Afghanistan”

From FATA to Kunduz: The Pakistani Taliban’s new northwards orientation

10 October 2015; by Siegfried O. Wolf

Vigil (left) with members of his team and members of the Northern Alliance west of Kunduz

On 28 September, 2015, the Taliban launched a major offensive in northern Afghanistan, capturing the city of Kunduz. The fact that some hundred Taliban fighters took over a major urban centre, an area which was held by 7,000 regular Afghan troops, in less than 24 hours, is not only a military debacle for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and an embarrassment for the provincial authorities, it also marks the greatest success for the Taliban at an open battlefield and an extraordinary ‘propaganda coup’. Continue reading “From FATA to Kunduz: The Pakistani Taliban’s new northwards orientation”

Hurting the Host: The Rationale of the Afghan Exodus

8 October 2015

Image by Marianna Karakoulaki

Afghanistan has experienced close to four decades of perpetual violence wars, political upheavals, and religious and ethnic clashes, resulting in millions of Afghans fleeing to neighbouring countries for protection. Facing the Soviet invasion after the Saur revolution and the ensuing civil conflict, between 1979 and the early 1990s approximately [1] six million escaped to Pakistan and Iran, marking the first exodus of Afghan refugees. Continue reading “Hurting the Host: The Rationale of the Afghan Exodus”

Some Islamist parties inciting extremism in Bangladesh

7 October 2015; Siegfried O. Wolf

Exclusive Interview with Prothom Alo (Dhaka, Bangladesh):

Prothom Alo: How do you see the activities of Bangladeshi jihadists in the context of global jihadism?

Siegfried O Wolf: During the last decade, Bangladesh turned into a pivot for international terrorism. First of all, it serves, besides the Af-Pak region, as one of the most significant recruiting bases for the global jihad. The tremendous amount of Bangladeshis joining the Taliban in Afghanistan to fight NATO/ISAF troops or the (sporadic) arrests of recruiters, for example for Islamic State and Al-Nusra Front in Syria, can be seen as proof. Secondly, Bangladesh became a place for training and regrouping, as well as a platform to conduct terrorist attacks abroad. Unlike Pakistan and Afghanistan, the country is not in the military focus of the ‘war against terror’. Furthermore, a section of Bangladesh’s Islamist political parties are not only promoting Islamisation and militant extremism but also creating an atmosphere which is supportive of jihadists. In consequence, Bangladesh has developed into a favoured place for international terrorists to seek shelter. Today Bangladeshi jihadists determine a crucial constituent of global jihadism. Continue reading “Some Islamist parties inciting extremism in Bangladesh”

Negotiating the Non-negotiable: Taliban, Peace and Democracy – Afghanistan’s impossible triangle

31 July 2015

Photo credit: Wikipedia

On July 8th, the first official acknowledged ‘peace talk’ between the Afghan Taliban and the government in Kabul took place (Johnson/Zahra-Malik, 8.7.2015). Facilitated by Pakistan who are being supported by China, delegations of the two conflicting parties met in Murree, a hill resort near Islamabad (cf. Harooni, 8.7.2015). Besides Chinese officials, U.S. representatives were also present during the event (Ahmed, 28.7.2015). The peace talk is being praised by Pakistani authorities as a potential move towards the ending of 14 years insurgency -after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001-, the major outcome of the gathering was to meet again by end of July after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan (Aljazeera, 8.7.2015). Continue reading “Negotiating the Non-negotiable: Taliban, Peace and Democracy – Afghanistan’s impossible triangle”

The fruitlessness of unconditional aid for Pakistan

March 2015, by Siegfried O. Wolf

Source: South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF), Brussels, Belgium

The recent US State Department’s budget proposal for the fiscal year 2016 once again contains substantial aid for Pakistan, this time around USD 900 million. Besides the fact that Congress must still approve the budget, one thing is already clear: the administration of President Barack Obama is still not able or willing to learn from the lessons of the past. The continuation of US aid for Pakistan does not come as a surprise but the fact that it’s allocated again more or less unconditionally is quite peculiar.

Continue reading “The fruitlessness of unconditional aid for Pakistan”