Last month’s bombing outside the Kabul airport was a devastating sign of the Islamic State of Khorasan Province’s (IS-K) recent resurgence. The group had already launched 77 attacks in the first four months of 2021 — an increase from 21 in the same period last year. This renewed capacity for mass-casualty attacks could further destabilize Afghanistan’s already precarious security situation, leaving both the new Taliban government and the United States with a vested interest in mounting an effective campaign to undercut IS-K’s presence in the region.
The Rwandan armed forces and police deployed to the Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique have made impressive gains combatting the Islamic State-affiliated al-Shabaab militants that have devastated the area. These 1,000 or so forces secured the key port city of Mocimboa da Praia in August, and the militants — who have committed grave atrocities, killed thousands and driven nearly a million people from their homes — have been forced to retreat from several areas of this natural resource-rich region.
Since 2017, armed militants — often carrying the Islamic State flag — have been on the offensive in the northern Mozambique province of Cabo Delgado. The human toll of this violence is grave, with more than 3,000 killed, nearly a million displaced and an acute hunger crisis. Beyond the immediate priority of stemming the violence and addressing the dire humanitarian situation that is already affecting neighboring provinces, the crisis affords the government of Mozambique and the international community the opportunity to address long-standing challenges.
Despite the many challenges facing the continent, “Africa is not … defined by poverty, misery and violence,” said Félix Tshisekedi, the chairperson of the African Union (AU). “Our continent is also defined by opportunities.”
In the wake of the loss of the Islamic State’s territorial holdings, the return of foreign fighters and their families to their home countries is a top international concern. Among the short list of governments that have initiated repatriation programs, the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan stand out. This report examines the different approaches the three countries have taken and draws important lessons for other nations considering their own repatriation and reintegration programs.
Iraq remains a struggling nation confronting enormous, social, economic and reconstruction challenges yet progressing in critical areas such as resettling its displaced population and preparing for national elections this fall, two ministers of the Baghdad government said.
The “Great Game” has returned to Central Asia, but with a digital twist. Where once the British and Russian empires competed over lucrative trade routes and territorial influence, today the region is at the geopolitical and ideological confluence between competing visions of internet governance. China, Russia, Europe and the United States are all seeking to shape the region’s technology environment. What happens in Central Asia will have profound implications for the five countries of the region and the future of civic freedoms and digital rights more widely.
An Islamist insurgency in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province and the grave humanitarian crisis it has created is threatening the promise of development offered by the discovery of vast reserves of natural gas in the region. It is imperative that the Mozambican government, with the support of the international community, make a concerted effort to return peace to this strategically important part of southern Africa.
Following its formation in 2007, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) emerged as one of Pakistan’s deadliest militant organizations. Military efforts severely curtailed the TTP’s ability to launch attacks by 2016, but recent signs—including a deadly attack in Quetta on April 21—suggest the group is attempting to rebuild its operational capacity. This report charts the rise and decline of the TTP and explores options for the Pakistani state, with cooperation and support from the United States, to stifle its resurgence.
Nearly 20 years since the 9/11 attacks, the global community continues to struggle with violent extremism and terrorism. While much of the focus in the immediate aftermath was on the Middle East and Afghanistan, sub-Saharan Africa has drawn increasing attention in the last decade. Seven of the world’s top 10 countries facing the greatest violent extremist threat are in Africa, with the expansion of the Islamic State group (ISIS) and al-Qaida-affiliated groups on the continent. Efforts to combat violent extremism in Africa are now at a critical juncture. But this presents an opportunity to rethink these efforts. A tailored focus on local communities will be key in building better approaches to deal with the violent extremist scourge.