LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Islamist militant groups in South Asia now consider the Islamic State a threat, according to jihadi media monitoring and analysis of Urdu and Pashto sites and forums by IHS (NYSE:IHS), the leading global source of critical information and insight.
“A turf war is brewing between the Islamic State and established South Asian Islamist militant groups, such as the Taliban,” said Omar Hamid, head of Asia analysis at IHS Country Risk. “Our monitoring of jihadi forums in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India indicate that the Afghan Taliban, the Tehrek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) are going to great lengths to rebut the accomplishments of the Islamic State and al-Baghdadi.”
Since 2014, the Islamic State has implemented an extremely successful social media campaign that saw the virtual sidelining of Al Qaeda and Ayman al-Zawahiri in South Asia. “We have seen Islamic State’s social media footprint in South Asia gather real momentum, despite the fact that it is not the region’s preeminent group,” Hamid said. Islamic State has also benefited in the region from defections of commanders from the TTP, Afghan Taliban and Kashmiri militant groups.
In the past few months, there has been increased communication from these groups regarding the Islamic State. Additionally, the public document released by the TTP denouncing Islamic State clearly indicates that the Islamic State is now considered a big enough threat in the region to merit a public attack.
“Based on our analysis on jihadi media monitoring, we believe that the TTP’s public 91-page rebuttal of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (also known as Caliph Baghdadi), the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, via social media, reflects the position of the Afghan Taliban, as well as, most likely, the remnants of core Al Qaeda,” Hamid said.
“This document represents the first public denunciation of the Islamic State by more established South Asia-based Islamist militant groups.”
The now-open animosity of South Asian militant groups to the Islamic State is likely to lead to increased fighting between supporters of the groups in the region. In Afghanistan, this will most likely manifest itself around the peace talks. “The Islamic State will likely try to disrupt any kind of peace process that the Taliban and the government are working towards,” Hamid said.
While the capabilities of Islamic State affiliates will probably remain low, these groups are likely to be more aggressive. As a result, they could spur on established groups to carry out further attacks.
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