Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The flag of ISIS.

It is heartening to learn that Washington has intensified its much-awaited action against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Syria, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Cyprus and parts of Turkey). The civilized world , democracies in particular, cannot afford to gloss over the activities of this Islamist outfit . Islamic State (IS) known by its Arabic acronym “Daish,” it shares an ideology in common with al Qaeda, Taliban and other Wahabist Islamist outfits and practices hatred and violence against whoever does not subscribe to its radical, militant theological version of Islam.

The scenario is alarming indeed. Authentic reports have it that Daish has been spreading its tentacles across the world. It has recruited young Europeans and British nationals through different means, including the Internet. At least 400 of the approximately 15,000 foreign IS fighters today are from the United Kingdom . The number of  teenage girls and women travelling abroad as “IS brides” from Britain is growing . Daish has recruited jihadists in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Today it has massive 10,000 to 12,000 followers from the Hangu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kurram tribal district alone. Elements of anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamat (ASWJ) are with Daish. Some commanders of the outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have joined it . Also, some Indian youths have confirmed they are fighting for ISIS in Syria.


Equally heartening is to read that the United States and the United Kingdom have recently cooperated more intensely with India in combating the Islamist terror New Delhi has been confronted with since long . A joint effort by the Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERT) from India, the United States and the United Kingdom has helped India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) extract crucial online chats of key Indian Mujahideen (IM) members with the al-Qaeda. Like India, the United Kingdom and New Zealand have also long banned the IM . In the United States, the outfit is listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation .

There are also heartening reports that the U.S. State Department has now launched a counterintelligence investigation against former Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robin Raphel. It may be recalled that during her time as political counselor in India she had described the state of Jammu and Kashmir as a “disputed territory,” and called for its resolution as per the wishes of the Kashmiris. Also, Raphel promoted moderate Kashmiri separatists Yasin Malik and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. She managed their first visit to Pakistan and then to the US many times. Raphel used her contacts to get their voice heard before the Congress and American think tanks.

I would, however, suggest New Delhi be cautious about trusting Washington and allies beyond a point in its fight against Islamist terror. Objectively speaking , Washington is still doing precious little to combat the barbarous terrorism being indulged in by the Islamic State. There are no troops on the ground to take on it effectively. Also, Washington does not seem to be inclined to take action against several Islamist outfits linked with the Islamic State ideologically. Most of its allies in its present coalition against ISIS are rather aligned with one or the other ISIS-kind outfit today.

Ironically, Washington continues to overlook the deeds of Pakistan’s notorious Inter Service Intelligence even though it fully knows the root cause of terror in India is this rogue agency only . Not to speak of some of the Indian intelligence inputs Washington has had in the matter , even some of its own internal reports are said to have confirmed the truth to it on it . A recent Pentagon report has criticized Pakistan for using militant groups as proxies in a war against a “superior” Indian army , in part to “hedge against the loss of influence in Afghanistan.”


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Jagdish N. Singh is an Indian journalist based in New Delhi.