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Alert! The IS and Al-Qaeda increased their online propaganda

Alert! The IS and Al-Qaeda increased their online propaganda

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_Vinayak Barot

Amid the rising terror activities in Afghanistan and other regions of the world, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) warned that The Islamic State and Al-Qaeda have increased online propaganda to incite unaffiliated individuals to launch attacks and to raise funds since last year, and risk of ‘self-financed, radicalized lone actor terrorists’ is significant.

The Special statement issued at the plenary meeting of FATF on Thursday said that “The multilateral watchdog expressed ‘grave concern’ over a series of terror attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq and other regions, including Africa and South Asia.”

The threat of terrorism remains serious in many regions of the world. The recent terror attacks, claimed either by Islamic State or Da’esh and its ‘affiliated groups or conducted by lone attackers inspired by them’, had killed or injured hundreds, mostly civilians.

To increase its revenues, the Islamic State has ‘focused on looting local civilians and businesses, and has generated funds through kidnapping for ransom, extortion of oil networks in Eastern Syria, and possibly through the trafficking of human beings and the trafficking of antiquities previously looted’. The group also ‘generates funds from investments in small and medium-sized businesses.

According to a media report, the plenary is the decision-making body of FATF.

“Since 2020, both ISIL and Al-Qaeda have increased their online propaganda, either to incite unaffiliated individuals to launch attacks, or to raise funds. The risk of self-financed, radicalized lone actor terrorists remains significant. The territorial defeat of the Islamic State in 2019 had significantly impacted its ability to generate revenue, but the group is ‘still able to raise and receive funds, through legal and illegal sources, and maintains roughly $25-50 million in reserves,” the statement said.

According to FATF “Both groups have ‘increasingly turned to new payment technologies to raise, move and deploy funds’, and the use of virtual assets by terrorists remains a risk. Both Islamic State and Al-Qaeda have a presence in Afghanistan, which was taken over by the Taliban following the collapse of the elected government in mid-August. In a separate statement also issued on Thursday, FATF had warned ‘about the current and evolving money laundering and terrorist financing risk environment’ in Afghanistan.”

During a plenary year, the FATF holds three plenary meetings, a meeting of experts on typologies, and, depending on the focus of current work, inter-sessional meetings and meetings of various ad hoc groups. The plenary meetings usually take place in October, February, and June of each year.

In the plenary meeting, FATF and delegates representing 205 members of the Global Network and observer organizations, including the International Monetary Fund and the UN, participated in the hybrid meeting.

The watchdog is also gathering and sharing information on the financing of Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, and their affiliates, and will produce ‘updated risk indicators to help the public and private sectors detect terrorist financing’.

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