Quarterly Report: Terrorism Events And Developments In The First Quarter of 2023

The first quarter of Terrorism Watch 2023 explores the most recent events and developments pertaining to terror-related incidents in Southeast Asia and significant incidents worldwide from January to March 2023. The Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) targeting of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs showcases ISKP’s attempts to stop countries from establishing relations with a Taliban-run country. Besides, the targeted killing of Daesh’s leader in Somalia and the terrorist attack on police quarters in Peshawar, Pakistan, are among the highlights of this quarter.

In Southeast Asia, the efforts of the Philippine Armed Forces to contain terrorism in the Southern Philippines continue to bear fruit. More members of terrorist organisations are surrendering and accepting the government’s consolation. In addition, Daesh’s media outlet in Southeast Asia alters its name to attract supporters in the region. In Indonesia, DENSUS 88 continues its search for Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) network’s and attempts to thwart its revival.

The emergence of a media outlet named Al Malaka Media Centre that circulated a poster depicting a threat to Malaysia caught media attention in the country. However, the perception, magnitude, and nature of the threat may diverge from reality due to the direction of the public debate, which may be influenced by vested interests and political influence.

In summary, the global and regional threat posed by terrorism intensifies in the first quarter of 2023. The threat perception has shifted to incorporate the dissemination of narratives in cyberspace, particularly on social media. Countries, particularly in this region, must take drastic measures to mitigate the issue.

Global Trend

In a number of nations around the world, the first quarter of 2023 has already been marked by significant events. The most anticipated assessments of the reopening of international borders have revealed that terrorists have awaited this moment. However, the vast majority of these incidents occurred in nations that have been fighting terrorism on a continuous basis. Regionally, there are persistent indications of efforts to resurrect Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), whereas, in the Philippines, hybrid actions are proving successful. Online radicalization is once again exploiting the young minds of Singaporeans, and there are significant attempts to influence the moderate minds of Malaysians via online propaganda.

The following are the highlights of  terrorism-related occurrences around the world:


The Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) carried out a suicide bombing attack on 11 Jan 23 that left 13 people dead and numerous others injured. The attack took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’s compound in Kabul, Afghanistan. The site is also close to a number of international embassies and Afghan government buildings.


On 26 January 23, the United States (US) army was successful in eliminating Bilal al-Sudani, the leader of Daesh in Somalia, in a mountainous region of northern Somalia. Besides, he is a facilitator for Daesh’s international network and a financier of the Daesh network in Somalia. Ten faithful supporters of Bilal al-Sudani were also killed in the unexpected attack.

The Al-Shabaab group attacked a residential area in Abdias, Mogadishu, on 22 Feb 23, killing nearly ten people. The assault began with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) explosion and was followed by random gunfire. Somali security forces were able to eliminate four members of the Al-Shabaab group and regain control of the situation at the incident site. The target of the assault was the residence of senior officers of the government-aligned Somali army and militia.


The Pakistani police force was startled by a suicide attack at a police quarters mosque on 31 January 23. The incident resulted in over 100 fatalities and 150 injuries. The attack that occurred in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, was perpetrated by a person dressed as a completely uniformed police officer. The assault was claimed by factions of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) organisation, namely Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP). Omar Mukaram Khurasani, the leader of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, claimed responsibility for the incident to avenge the murder of his brother, Omar Khalid Khorasani, the group’s founder. The police are still investigating the actual perpetrator.

Terrorism Trends in Southeast Asia

The Philippines

The terrorism-related issue involving the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) is as follows:

The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) of the Kagui Karialan faction surrendered to Philippine security forces in Barangay Pigcalagan, Maguidanao Norte, on 22 February 2023 with firearms and explosives. The surrendered BIFF members were operating in Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, and North Cotabato. Eleven from the surrendered members are reportedly experts in the fabrication of explosives that can be remotely detonated using mobile phones.

The terrorism-related issue involving Al Faris Media Centre is as follows:

East Asia Knight (EAK) is a Daesh-affiliated media entity that promotes Islamic State East Asia Province (ISEAP). It began as a group using the name “EAK” on a variety of online communication channels, including blogs, social media, and forums. EAK’s purpose is to publicise all ISEAP activities in Southeast Asia for Daesh in the same manner as Al-Naba Media Centre. On 7 January 2023, EAK altered its name to the Al Faris Media Centre.

The terrorism-related issues involving Dawlah Islamiya (DI) are as follows:

Seven Daulah Islamiyah (DI) members who were also fragments of the Abu Sayyaf Group (KAS) were slain in an ambush conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the village of Kapuk Pungol, Parang, Sulu, on 5 February 23. The assault was intended to capture Alganer Dahim and Juko Dahim, who were suspected of involvement in the attack that killed a senior police officer on 7 May 2009. However, Juko Dahim was killed and Alganer Dahim managed to flee the shooting incident. Additionally, the police were able to confiscate multiple firearms and explosives belonging to the DI members.

Almoben Sibud, the subleader of the Maguindanao DI group, and 30 armed followers were responsible for the bombings in the region. They were pursued by Philippine security forces on the border of the Maguindanao Sur and North Cotabato provinces on 23 March 23. Three individuals were killed and four others were injured during the military operation. Samsudin Miro, Kamid Sindatu, and Mohaimen Salik were identified as the three victims, who were believed to be adherents of Aloben Sibud. Security forces also apprehended Mohammed Agbas, a second member of the DI, and seized a pistol and .45-caliber ammunition.


Six Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terrorist suspects were caught by the DENSUS 88 anti-terrorism squad in various parts of Indonesia on 8 February 2023. All the arrested terrorist suspects are members of JI and they are also on the List of Wanted Persons (DPO) for the offence of “criminal acts of terrorism” or being involved in defending or harbouring criminal fugitives. 

On 16 March 23, the DENSUS 88 anti-terrorism squad arrested five suspected members of terrorist groups during raids in the cities of Palu and Sigi, Central Sulawesi. Four suspects arrested in Palu were identified with code names AF @ AZ (41 years old), KB (52 years old), MA (42 years old), and ZA alias E (42 years old), and one suspect, RA @ R (46 years old), who was arrested in Pidi, are all believed to be members of the JI network in Central Sulawesi. DENSUS 88 also confiscated several documents, knives, telescopes, mobile phones, arrows, and pellet guns from them.

On 28 March 23, three locations in Kabupaten Sigi and in Donggala, Sulawesi, were searched by the DENSUS 88. The three locations that were raided in Sigi were the Khairu Ummah Foundation office, a school belonging to the Khairu Ummah Foundation, and the Sahabat Keadilan Foundation (SAHLAN) office. A location that was raided in Donggala was a house. As a result of the raid on the four locations, DENSUS 88 has confiscated documents, books, laptops, and arrows believed to be related to the JI group.


On 1 Feb 23, the Internal Security Department (ISD) issued a statement regarding the arrest of 18-year-old Muhammad Irfan Danyal Mohamad Nor for planning to launch an attack in Singapore. The arrest was made in December 2022, and the ISD has conducted further investigation on the teenager. The teenager was arrested for planning to kill individuals considered thogut, attack the Amoy Quee Camp and blow up a mosque for perceived un-Islamic practise. In addition, the teenager was also reported to have planned to establish an Islamic Caliphate in Coney Island and pledged allegiance to the leader of Daesh.

The Internal Security Department (ISD) announced the arrest of two adolescents, ages 15 and 16, on 21 February 2023, for being influenced by Daesh propaganda. Between December 2022 and January 2023, both of them were detained. The 15-year-old was discovered to be influenced by terrorist narratives after gaining access to radical lectures. He also supports the atrocities of Daesh and is rumoured to be planning to murder both non-Muslim communities and Muslims who are considered thogut. The 16-year-old was allegedly influenced by Daesh propaganda and shared Daesh-related videos on social media. Reportedly, these adolescents are also utilising Roblox, an online gaming platform, to communicate and establish a virtual Islamic Caliphate within the realm of video games.


On 5 March 23, a Malay-language Daesh propaganda media called Al Malaka Media Centre was reported to be threatening Malaysia’s security. The Nordic Counter-Terrorism Network’s (NCTN) Cyber Counter-Terrorism Division reports that Al Malaka Media Centre has released a graphic depicting the Petronas Twin Towers emblazoned with the Daesh flag and a plane crashing into an adjacent building. In addition, on the poster there is also a text reading “The Day of Conquest is Coming” and a translation of the Quran, Surah an-Nur, verse 55 in Malay. According to NCTN, Al Malaka Media Centre has links with Daesh media in Indonesia and the Philippines and has enlisted the help of political parties to overthrow the government of Dato’ Seri Anwar bin Ibrahim.

What Can Be Expected

The transition from EAK to Al Faris Media Centre is interpreted as Daesh Indonesia’s attempt to give its propaganda media an Islamic image. Faris is the Arabic word for “knight,” “horseman,” and “cavalry.” It is believed that the moniker “EAK” has no impact on Southeast Asian Muslims. Therefore, this moniker change is essential for ISEAP to aid in the propagation of Daesh’s narrative. On various social media platforms and blogs, such as TechHaven, Rocketchat, Telegram, and WordPress, groups or threads titled Al Faris Media Centre are created. Using social media platforms, Daesh is believed to continue attempting to remain prominent.

The fact that the BIFF members surrendered demonstrates conclusively that the Philippine security forces’ strategy for preventing and countering violent extremism (PCVE), which brought the BIFF members to the negotiating table, was successful. As a consolation for giving up, the BIFF members likely received money to assist them in beginning a new life. More than 200 BIFF members have surrendered to Philippine security forces since November 2021, and 11 of them are said to be experts in the production of improvised explosive devices (IED). This occurrence is viewed as limiting the BIFF’s capacity to initiate large-scale attacks. In addition, it is believed that this matter will encourage additional BIFF members to surrender.

Following the death of a member of the Faharudin Hadji Satar @ Abu Zacaria-led Sulu DI cell, the DI now consists of fewer than 20 individuals. It is anticipated that continued pressure on this group will eliminate the overall threat posed by the DI group in Sulu Province. As for the DI in Maguindanao, since Salahuddin Hassan was slain in the battle, the DI in Maguindanao has split from the Turaife, Bongus, and Karialan factions and joined the BIFF group. The attack by security forces on the group has also caused discord within the group.

In 2019, arrests of JI members began following the enforcement of anti-terrorism laws in Indonesia. This most recent arrest is believed to involve JI members who are prominent in the JI Shura Council, the organization’s treasurer, and its intelligence section. After the suicide attack at the Astana Anyar Police Station in Bandung, Indonesia, on 7 December 22, it is believed that the number of arrests of JI members increased during this time period.

Multiple foundations in Sulawesi were raided, revealing that JI used non-governmental organisations for funding and recruitment purposes. Sulawesi is also a good location for JI to hide from the authorities, as Jakarta and Aceh are deemed too dangerous for JI to operate covertly. In addition, the apprehension of JI members has intensified because there are signs that the organization’s senior leaders are attempting to revive the terrorist group. The anti-terrorism unit’s actions are significant especially after the reopening of national borders and the removal of restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. After remaining dormant since 2020, the network of terrorist organisations is anticipated to resume their operations.

As a consequence of their sharing on social media platforms, the adolescents have been successfully tracked. They were apprehended prior to carrying out the intended attack. Five adolescents have been detained under the Internal Security Act since the year 2020. (ISA). The only thing these adolescents have in common is that they have been influenced by the online dissemination of propaganda. Further investigation revealed that Muhammad Irfan Danyal Mohammad Nor was influenced by extremist speakers such as Zakir Naik and Ahmed Deedat.

The arrests of the 15- and 16-year-olds occurred in December 2022, following the apprehension of Muhammad Irfan Danyal Mohammad Nor. According to reports, these three individuals used the Roblox platform to establish an Islamic Caliphate in cyberspace and employed animated world characters to initiate attacks. Daesh’s modus operandi has previously included the manipulation of online gaming platforms. This development demonstrates that Daesh continues to exploit platforms that are popular among adolescents. Although the three of them will go through a deradicalization programme run by the Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG), if no controls or censorship are imposed on this type of platform, more teens are likely to become involved. It is believed that the ISD’s disclosure of these three adolescents will assist other nations in monitoring game platforms that can be exploited by terrorists.

The recent appearance of numerous pro-ISIS propaganda media outlets in Indonesia and the Philippines makes the recent discovery of pro-ISIS propaganda media very significant. However, it is believed that NCTN’s report on the threat posed by Al Malaka Media Centre lacked credible data. This type of propaganda is considered as deliberate by the pro-Daesh group because the severity of the terrorist threat has declined since 2020, making it appear as if Daesh is no longer a concern in Southeast Asia. It is also believed that this type of propaganda is used to gain support from sympathisers in Malaysia. The E8 Special Branch has not confirmed any rumours linking the media to political parties, which are without substance. In addition, it is believed that such unsubstantiated reports can generate an atmosphere of insecurity in Malaysia and have a negative effect on the country’s economy and society. The current political climate makes it easy to associate these traits with particular political parties. As a result of political uncertainty, it is believed that Daesh can exploit the current circumstance.


Terrorism on a global and regional scale has started to rise in the first three months of 2023. The post-pandemic COVID-19 provides an opportunity for terrorist activity to return to “normalcy.” On a global scale, it is evident that terrorist organisations are becoming significantly more active. After the collapse of the Daesh Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, countries such as Afghanistan continue to be a focus, as they provide additional ingredients that make it a caliphate destination for Daesh versions. The country is perpetually threatened by the ISKP group due to the instability of its government and its inability to establish international relations with foreign nations. In the context of Afghanistan, Daesh has adopted a strategic approach by tarnishing the image of the Taliban on the international stage by highlighting the Taliban’s inability to maintain the country’s security. As a result of the role of Pakistani police forces in mitigating the threat of terrorism on the Pakistan-Afghan border, assaults against Pakistani security forces are not unprecedented and will continue. In addition to focusing on South Asia, the imminent elimination of terrorist group commanders in multiple countries is likely to have an impact on the group’s strategic and tactical level.

Next, the evolution of the terrorist threat in Southeast Asia is distinct from the global trend. Earlier efforts to resurrect the JI organisation are believed to have been thwarted by anti-terrorist forces in Indonesia. In the Philippines, the Focused Military Operation (FMO) is continuing, and the offensive action has prompted more terrorists to surrender. The Philippines’ hybrid action, which combines a kinetic approach with PCVE, is currently having a positive effect because the number of terrorists who support the government’s efforts is increasing. In spite of this, it is believed that Daesh loyalists will continue to exploit social media and the internet in the region. Cyberspace media such as Al Faris Media Centre and the use of video game platforms like Roblox require attention in Singapore. Given that they utilise the internet more frequently than the working group does, this action is perceived as being directed at young groups. The apprehension of three individuals in Singapore is significant and should aid other nations in monitoring similar activity in their own countries.

Compared to other regional nations, Malaysia has not encountered any terrorism-related challenges since 2020. This plainly demonstrates that Daesh failed to influence the people of Malaysia. Several Malay and Indonesian-language Daesh media entities appear to be propagating propaganda. This includes the Al Malaka Media Centre, which made a startling appearance and distributed a similar poster to create an unsafe environment in Malaysia. What’s more worrying is that there are analysts who take the opportunity to promote themselves by making unfounded comments ahead of a police investigation. The maturity and moderation of Malaysians have rendered Al Malaka Media Centre’s propaganda ineffective in the country. However, it is believed that stakeholders will continue to attempt to contaminate harmony by disseminating such propaganda materials. 

In general, the global and regional threat posed by terrorism is beginning to intensify. However, the drastic actions taken by the involved countries have mitigated this increase. The threat perception has shifted to include the spreading of propaganda in cyberspace, such as on social media. There should be continuous monitoring and restrictions placed on such postings that pose a threat to national security before it starts to influence Daesh supporters in Malaysia. The issue of terrorism on a global and regional scale has no effect on national security at this time. National security and the threat of terrorism should not be treated lightly. The potential threat of terrorism in the nation remains at a moderate level and a terrorist attack remains possible.

Quarterly Report: Terrorism Events And Developments In The Fourth Quarter of 2022

The fourth quarter of Terrorism Watch 2022 explores the most recent events and developments pertaining to terror-related incidents in Southeast Asia and significant incidents worldwide from October to December 2022. The Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) continues to undermine the Taliban’s legitimacy in Afghanistan, and Al-Shabaab attacks in Somalia have increased significantly. Generally, terror-related events and incidents are contained inside the borders of each nation.

In addition to the ongoing clashes between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in the Philippines, there have been claims of social media being used to promote terrorist acts. Moreover, the Philippines are also successful in encouraging Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members to surrender through its Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE) programs. In Indonesia, the Jamaah Anshorut Daulah (JAD) proved its relevance by executing a suicide attack on a police station in Bandung. Even though the Indonesian government has successfully reduced the threat of terrorism in the country, radical Muslims are continuously using social media to incite hatred in Indonesia.

From January 2022 to December 2022, no terrorist activities were reported in Malaysia. However, the recent 15th General Election demonstrated the rise of religious bigotry and racism, which are precursors to extremism in the country. If the current extremism trends continue, it may lead to a new wave of radicalism among certain political party supporters.

Global Trend

At the global and regional levels, the existing situation, domain, and scenario of extremism, radicalism, and terrorism do not indicate any noteworthy changes in the fourth quarter of 2022. Terrorists and militant networks continue to commit terrorist acts in conflict zones in order to maintain their relevance. In addition, there are reports on terrorism financing that indicate terrorist organisations are focused more on sustainability. In the final quarter of 2022, the hunt for terrorist leadership has continued, and in 2023, changes in leadership are anticipated to alter the group’s vision. Additionally, the year 2022 concluded without any significant terror-related incidents.

The following are the highlights of  terrorism-related occurrences around the world:


An explosion occurred on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul, Turkey on 13 Nov 22, leaving six people dead and 81 others injured. The explosion was likely sparked by a bag dropped by a woman in front of a shop. The location of the incident is also a popular weekend destination for locals and foreign tourists. No one has yet taken responsibility for the blast. A Kurdish woman was detained as the leading suspect.


In recent months, the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) has carried out operations against a number of educational institutions. The Kaaj Education Center in West Kabul was attacked on 30 Sep 22, killing 35 female students and injuring 82 others. Next, on 28 Nov 22, 22 students died in an explosion at Al Jihad Madrasa in Afghanistan’s Samangan Province.

On 13 Nov 22, Afghan security forces from the 201 Khalid Bin Walid Corps raided a hiding location of Daesh militants. The raid by the security forces in Nangarhar Province succeeded in arresting six ISKP members along with some explosives and AK-47-type firearms. The Taliban promised to continue its efforts to free Afghanistan from the ISKP threat. 


Four women and thirteen children were returned to Sydney on 28 Oct 22 from the Al-Hol refugee camp in northern Syria. All of the women will be charged with terrorism-related offences or illegal entry into Syria. The Australian government will act in accordance with the law to secure the safe return of all Australian citizens. The choice proved controversial in Australia given the radical ideology and opposition to the Australian way of life of individuals who were brought back.

On 9 Dec 22, the Australian government expressed their concern over the early release of Umar Patek, who was released on 7 Dec 22. Umar Patek, real name Hisyam bin Alizein, is a Jamaah Islamiyah (JI) member and bomb expert who was involved in the 2002 Bali bombing that killed 202 people. However, Australia respects Indonesia’s decision and requests that Umar Patek’s activities be monitored after his release because the incident killed 88 Australians.


On 7 Dec 22, the Boko Haram group killed 33 wives of members of the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) in Sambisa Forest, Borno. The killing of ISWAP members’ wives was reported to have occurred after ISWAP’s top leader, Ba’ana Chingori, together with his group, killed Boko Haram Commander, Malam Aboubakar, and 15 others in a gun battle at one of the Boko Haram camps. Besides ISWAP wives, Boko Haram also killed 12 more ISWAP members in Yuwe and seized four ISWAP gun trucks.

South Africa

On 16 Nov 22, the South African Banking Risk Information Center (SABRIC) reported that Daesh followers in South Africa are using the Tinder app on social media to generate income. Daesh members are said to have created fake profiles and posed as actors and models before manipulating Tinder users into transferring their money. SABRIC’s statement is also supported by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which says that Daesh is using South Africa as a safe haven for consolidation after defeats in Syria and Iraq.


On 29 Oct 22, at least 100 people were killed and 300 others injured in an attack involving two car bombs that were detonated outside the Ministry of Education building in Mogadishu, Somalia. The attack took place as the Somali President and top security officials met to discuss operations against Al-Shabaab. To date, no party has claimed responsibility for the attack.

On 28 Nov 22, at least nine civilians, including a police officer, and six terrorists were killed in an Al-Shabaab attack on a hotel in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. The explosion at the Villa Rose Hotel happened after the group stormed the hotel near the presidential palace. Villa Rose is often visited by members of parliament and high government officials to attend meetings. The location of hotel is also close to the office of Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, which left 100 people dead in Mogadishu.


On 30 Nov 22, Daesh announced the death of its leader, Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, through its official media, Al-Naba. Daesh only stated that al-Hasan was killed in a battle without elaborating on the date of his death or the circumstances. The militants have also named Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurashi as the new leader of Daesh. Accordingly, the US military’s US Central Command has confirmed his death and stated that the Daesh leader was killed in a battle with the Free Syrian Army in Syria in mid-October 2022.

The United States of America

On 16 Nov 22, the U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) programme announced that the agency will pay USD 10 million to informants related to Al-Shabaab. The information required by the Department of State is about Al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Diriye, Al-Shabaab deputy Mahad Karate, and Al-Shabaab operations chief Jehad Mostafa. In addition, the RFJ will also pay the same amount for information on Al-Shabaab’s funding network. The Al-Shabaab group has been designated as a terrorist group by the United States (US) and the UNSC since 2008.

Terrorism Trends in Southeast Asia

The Philippines

The terrorism-related issue involving the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) is as follows:

On 7 Nov 22, two members of the Karialan faction of the BIFF were killed in a firefight with security troops in Maguindanao Province. The fight began while troops of the 33rd Infantry Battalion (33IB) were inspecting the car in which the two terrorists were riding near Kampung Dapiawan in Bandar Datu Saudi Ampatuan. Following the BIFF ambush on security troops on 4 Nov 22, security control in the area has been strengthened.

The terrorism-related issue involving Jund Tauhid Wal Jihad Mindanao is as follows:

On 18 Nov 22, there was a propaganda video posted by Jund Tauhid Wal Jihad Mindanao, a new terrorist group in Mindanao. It was uploaded to a Facebook account, displaying a video professing allegiance to Daesh leader Abu Hasan al-Hashimi and claiming to be the Islamic State’s new group in Southeast Asia.

The terrorism-related issue involving Daesh is as follows:

The discovery of a Facebook account from the southern Philippines believed to be a Daesh fan, uploaded many images of women clutching various types of weaponry, flags, and Daesh propaganda materials on 21 Nov 22. The owner of the account appears to be encouraging women to participate in terrorist activities.

The terrorism-related issues involving Dawlah Islamiya (DI) are as follows:

On 1 Dec 22, two bombmakers from the Dawlah Islamiya (DI) group were arrested by the Philippine security forces in Barangay Glamang, Polomolok, South Cotabato. The DI members known as Pandian and Salila are experts in the fabrication of homemade explosive devices using readily available components such as ammonium nitrate and potassium chlorate, which can be used as an explosive powder for homemade bombs.


On 29 Sep 22, a member of the East Indonesian Muhjahidin (MIT) militant group, Askar @ Jiad @ Pak Guru, was shot dead by the Task Force (SATGAS) unit in Kilo Village, Poso, Central Sulawesi, in an operation known as Op MADAGO RAYA. Earlier, SATGAS had arrested a member of MIT, named Suhardin @ Hassan Pranata, in a previous Poso raid. 

A Facebook user posted a video on 22 Nov 22 depicting a guy slapping a veiled girl in Kasaragod, Kerala, India, when the girl was on her way to a religious school. Some Facebook users have criticised and urged for other Muslim terrorists to take revenge against Hindus in India, as well as urged Muslims to slaughter Hindus in Bali, Indonesia.

On 7 Dec 22, one policeman was killed and 10 others were injured in an explosion in the lobby of the Astana Anyar police station in Bandung, Indonesia. The perpetrator of the suicide attack was also killed when he armed himself with a knife, entered the police station, and then blew himself up. The perpetrator, identified as Agus Sujatno or Abu Muslim bin Wahid, is a member of the JAD group who was imprisoned on charges related to terrorism and was released in April 2021.

The last MIT member pursued by the SATGAS unit in Op MADAGO RAYA was Askar @ Jiad @ Pak Guru. The death of Askar shows that the MIT movement has been completely paralysed in Poso, Sulawesi. Following this operation, Indonesian authorities will concentrate on activities such as propaganda dissemination and the narratives of MIT supporters who are still active on social media. This monitoring is critical in limiting the activities of recruiting new MIT members and funding sources in order to prevent the rise of MIT 2.0 in the future


After the 15th GE, the emergence of religious extremists and the doctrine of assabiyah require special consideration. Indicators of extremism and bigotry have proliferated rapidly throughout multiple social media platforms, but they have received little attention due to the anticipation of a political shift. Among the narratives that are propagated are anti-Chinese calls, questioning the Muslim status among the Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN) supporters, the May 13 call, declaring fellow Muslims as infidels, PH supporting the Jewish movement, and a Christianization agenda in Malaysia.

What Can Be Expected

The skirmishes between the BIFF group and the Philippine security forces demonstrate the BIFF’s continued threat in Maguindanao Province. The assault on Philippine security personnel demonstrates the group’s strategy, which is to exert pressure on military troops taking part in the Focused Military Operation (FMO), which is centered in the Southern Philippines. The two bomb makers’ arrests, meanwhile, are generally a positive development for the Southern Philippines. Despite the fact that the group’s threat has diminished significantly since 2020, the arrest of these two people offers Philippine security forces hope that they will be able to stop any significant attacks. In addition, numerous BIFF and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) militants have turned themselves in to Philippine security forces since 2020. DI has refrained from giving up because it still intends to create an Islamic caliphate in the Southern Philippines. The group’s attempts can be thwarted by the security forces’ continuing operation in the Southern Philippines.

It is believed that the recent conflict between the Philippine military and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has facilitated the creation of new militant groups such as the Jund Tauhid Wal Jihad Mindanao. In addition, groups such as the Maute Brothers obtained funding from Daesh in Syria using this mode of operation in 2015. Interestingly, the Islamic Caliphate of Daesh has been crushed since 2017, and its recent commander was first reportedly detained by Turkish authorities in October 2022, but lately, he has reportedly died. Therefore, the new organisation is believed to be oblivious to the present situation in Syria. Nonetheless, the appearance of Jund Tauhid Wal Jihad Mindanao suggests that some elements are attempting to carry out Marawi Siege 2.0 in the Southern Philippines.

Historically, pro-ISIS militant groups in the southern Philippines have discouraged women from directly participating in jihad. The most recent trend, however, indicates that women are being given a greater role in direct combat, including taking up arms and even becoming suicide bombers, as in Iraq and Chechnya. The opportunity to participate in this essential jihad is also designed to provide women whose husbands were killed on the battlefield with the chance to exact revenge for their husbands’ deaths. Several suicide assaults carried out by women who had recently lost their husbands provide significant evidence of this trend in the Southern Philippines in 2018. Additionally, Boko Haram, a group that works with Daesh, employs this strategy. Even though the Philippines are quite successful in their Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE) programs in the South, however, the increase of women in terror-related activities needs to be taken seriously because there are more and more female jihadists in this area, and it is very challenging for security authorities to identify them.

In India, racial-based politics is not a new phenomenon. Thus, this element of hatred is exploited by interested parties, such as Daesh sympathisers, to inflame religious sentiment. There is evidence that the user of this Facebook account has repeatedly propagated religious sentiments to attract the attention and support of Daesh adherents. Nevertheless, it appears that Daesh sympathisers in Indonesia have responded to this messaging. The instigation of an attack on Bali is believed to elicit a favourable response, given that the island is revered by Hindus and that the 2012 Bali incident garnered international attention. The “global village effect” could drive extremists to target Hindu places of worship, despite the fact that Indonesia is thought to be able to deal with this type of threat.

The most recent attack on police officers by JAD members occurred in November 2021. The JAD began attacking Indonesian police officers in 2015, after pledging allegiance to Daesh. Terrorist groups in Indonesia have been practically destroyed by sanctions and the enforcement of anti-terror laws. Nonetheless, the dissemination of terrorist narratives and ideologies by groups such as Daesh is still prominent in Indonesia, resulting in lone-wolf attacks in the country. The phenomenon of the lone wolf arises frequently among JAD supporters who are passionate and zealous in their jihad endeavors. As JAD adherents continue to target security personnel for retribution, the POLRI will continue to face attacks in the future.

Even if the Malaysian opposition party’s false narratives have been corrected by individuals using the stereotypical justification that “their words were reported out of context,” the damage has already been done. All of the aforementioned campaign materials are still available on social media, specifically Facebook and TikTok. The Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) has thus far made a few arrests relating to the dissemination of hateful narratives, and various leaders of the opposition party have been probed for the statements they have made. If this extremist culture is allowed to continue, it will breed radicalism in society.


Overall, the threat of terrorism that concerns the international community, such as the threat posed by Daesh, is regarded as having diminished significantly. Particularly for the year 2022, the threat of terrorism is only concentrated in conflict-affected regions. Developments in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa are now viewed as local crises that do not pose global risks. Although Daesh militants still exist in Syria, the current threat is a domestic uprising. In addition, it is believed that the deaths of two Daesh leaders in 2022, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi in February and Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi in October, contributed to a reduction in the threat level in 2022. The level of threat was established by the success of large-scale events, such as the burial of Queen Elizabeth II in the United Kingdom and the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, without terrorist-related incidents. It indicates conclusively that the threat of terrorism in 2022 was low.

Following the 15th GE in Malaysia, the rise of religious radicals and the assabiyah doctrine deserve special attention as multiple signs of extremism and racism propagate on various social media platforms. Often, irresponsible parties play narratives such as anti-Chinese, the culture of infidelity among Muslims, and the Christianization agenda. These issues could have a negative impact on the country’s political stability, which could hinder the country’s progress and socioeconomic development as well as foreign investment opportunities. Moreover, the current state of affairs in the country may serve as a magnet for extremist, radical elements and external terrorism

The threat of extremism and terrorism in Malaysia is still moderate and manageable, thanks to the anti-terrorism laws and the hard work of many security agencies like the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) and the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP). 

Quarterly Report: Terrorism Events And Developments In The Third Quarter of 2022

The third quarter of Terrorism Watch 2022 examines the latest events and developments in terror-related incidents in Southeast Asia and key incidents worldwide from July to September 2022. There has been a shift in the dynamics of terrorism, with it becoming more concentrated in regions and countries suffering from political instability and conflict. For example, the security situation in Afghanistan is rapidly deteriorating with more attacks conducted by the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP), a Daesh affiliate in South Asia.

On the other hand, the Abu Sayaf Group (ASG), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and their affiliates continue to engage in illegal activities to sustain their agenda and terror operations, despite the growing acceptance of the Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE) effort to dismantle terrorist networks in the Southern Philippines. Some reports also indicate that local supporters of Daesh have been sharing and uploading information about the militant training of local terrorist groups in order to promote jihad and solicit assistance from local Filipinos and FTFs from Indonesia.

Indonesia is consistently devoted to anti-terrorism efforts. At the national level, Indonesia employs a comprehensive anti-terrorism policy that mixes hard and soft approaches. Despite these attempts, local radicals continue to support terrorist networks online in a covert manner, with some of them getting funding from local sympathisers. From January 2022 to September 2022, no terrorists were apprehended in Malaysia, and the terrorism situation remained moderate. Local authorities will continue to monitor and strengthen surveillance to ensure terrorist networks in Malaysia pose no threat.

Global Trend

Despite a rise in terrorist activities in 2022, the impact of terrorism continues to decline. Afghanistan has the highest rate of terrorist assaults, with Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) attacks against civilians and mosques occurring continuously for the past three months. Then followed the African continent, specifically Somalia, with notable terrorist strikes by the Al Shabaab organisation. Recent observations indicate that terrorist organisations will continue to exploit societal disintegration and weak governance to acquire power through violence. They will boost their propaganda and disseminate radical ideologies via cyberspace. Global jihadist organisations are possibly the largest and most persistent transnational menace, as well as a threat in their home countries. They are able to exploit vast areas of ungoverned or poorly governed territory in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, thanks to a twisted jihad ideology that promises a millenarian future through strong organisational structures and the ability to exploit vast areas of ungoverned or poorly governed territory in these regions.

The following are the highlights of  terrorism-related occurrences around the world:


The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) detained 300 Daesh fighters on 19 September 22 during an Operation Security and Humanity operation in Al-Hol, Northeast Syria. The organisation released eight women after holding them captive for months. Following allegations of violence and the presence of Daesh sleeper cells in the Al-Hol camp, the SDF launched an offensive on 25 August 22, which lasted until 17 September 22.


Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second leader of Al Qaeda, was killed by an American drone strike at his home in Kabul, Afghanistan on 31 July 22, leaving behind his children and wife, who survived the attack. His killing may not affect the actions of Al Qaeda branches, but it will undermine the central organisation based in Afghanistan, as its commanders and other high-ranking individuals have been.

In addition, the ISKP has diversified its attacks by targeting prominent individuals, including clergy and foreign embassies. Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani, a supporter of the Taliban, was killed on 11 August 22 by a suicide bombing on a religious school in Kabul, Afghanistan. Mullah Amir Mohammad Kabuli was assassinated on 22 August 22 by a suicide bomber at the Siddiquiya Mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan. Mujibur Rahman was assassinated by a third ISKP suicide strike on 22 September 22 at the Guzargah Mosque in Herat, Afghanistan on 5 September 22.            

On 5 September 22, two Russian embassy staffs in Kabul were among six people killed when a suicide bomber detonated explosives near the entrance of the Russian embassy. The blast injured at least 10 others. ISKP claimed to be responsible for the attack, furious about diplomatic ties between Russia and Afghanistan.   


In July 2022, Bangladeshi police arrested three ARSA members at a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. One of them was a commander. Three of them were identified as Abu Bakkar, Syedul Amin, and Nur Mohammad. Abu Bakkar, who acted as a camp leader for ARSA and used aliases to avoid arrest in the past. He was also allegedly involved in killing six Rohingya in October 2021. Syedul Amin worked as a gun runner, while Mohammad was chairman of ARSA’s fatwa committee. Amin had undertaken weapons training in Myanmar for six months.


On 17 July 22, Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for a VBIED attack at Nur-Doob Hotel in Jowhar, Somalia. At least two were killed and more than 15 others were wounded in the attack. Meanwhile, on 19 August 22, the group launched two car bomb attacks targeting Hotel Hayat in Mogadishu, Somalia. The attacks caused 33 deaths and 100 people injured at the scene

Terrorism Trends in Southeast Asia

The Philippines

The terrorism-related issues involving the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) are as follows:

On 30 July 22, about 100 former members of ASG surrendered to the Philippine government and underwent the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) designed for the former extremist members. The former ASG members and supporters will be integrated back into their communities with their families. They also received support and financial benefits for their livelihood, including food packs worth P5,000 each and monetary assistance.

The terrorism-related issues involving Maute are as follows:

On 30 August 22, two combatants of the Maute group surrendered to the Iligan City Police Office (ICPO). They are believed to be remnants of Dawlah Islamiyah, once headed by the Maute brothers. The two surrendered a .45 caliber firearm, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and ammunition.

The terrorism-related issues involving Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) as follows:

On 30 August 22, the Philippines National Police (PNP) claimed the BIFF group for the murders of Lieutenant Reynaldo Samson, the police chief of Ampatuan town in Maguindanao province, and his assistant. A small group of BIFF led by Abdulnasser Sabtulah Guianid and Commander Boy Jacket was responsible for the attack. Other members were Sala Tunda, Johari Abdulbasser Guinaid, Phepe Saptulah, Abdulrah Sapal, and Bobot Kamsa. The outfit is known as the BIFF Karialan faction. The police are still searching for these offenders in Maguindanao to prevent them from murdering other PNP officers.

A media organisation associated with the Islamic State’s East Asia Province (ISEAP) released a video in July 2022 showing footage of terrorists engaging in physical training and gunfights. The East Asian Knights (EAK) distributed the 6-minute video entitled “Believer Jihad in East Asia” via their Hoop Messenger account.

On 14 July 22, there were selfies circulated on Daesh social media posted by Daesh supporters. The selfies were believed to be from the Southern Philippines, where terrorist groups such as ASG, BIFF, and ISIS East Asia Province (ISEA) have emerged from. Such photos were intended to generate support for jihad locally. Since 2021, there has been a rise in the number of terrorists in the Philippines who post selfies.


On 25 July 22, anti-terror squad Densus 88 arrested 17 suspected terrorists in North Sumatra and Riau. There were the members of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and Jamaah Anshorut Daulah (JAD). They were detained for being involved in weapons training, fund-raising, and aiding a suicide bombing at a police station in Medan in 2019. 

In August 2022, a member of JI and a bomb maker, Umar Patek, was said to be released early this year after the latest reduction in his sentencing. He was sentenced to a 20-year jail term by an Indonesian court in 2012 after he was found guilty of mixing bombs that caused the 2002 Bali bombings. During the Indonesian Independence Day, Patek received a 5 month reduction for good behaviour and could walk free from Porong Prison in East Java province if he gets parole.

Also, in August 2022, Indonesian Daesh supporters celebrated the death of renowned Taliban preacher Rahimullah Haqqani by the ISKP in Afghanistan, praising the attack and its perpetrator while pledging to continue battling Daesh’s enemies. Facebook users expressed their joy over the operation and death. Others referred to the assailant as a martyr and prayed that God would accept his sacrifice. Share News OK (SNO), a Daesh-aligned media organisation that actively promotes Daesh propaganda, published a banner commemorating what Daesh fans referred to as a martyrdom action.

On 22 August 22, an Indonesian pro-Daesh media group continued to print posters carrying incitements to engage in armed jihad and commit suicide attacks, in addition to posters containing broad Islamic teachings. The media known as “Milisi Tauhid” uploaded jihadist propaganda images and films to a Facebook page that was apparently formed and enabled on 7 June 22. The messages included incitements to engage in violent jihad, suggestions for women to cover their bodies and adopt key roles in their children’s education, pleas to avoid polytheistic activities, and instructions for actions during Dhu al-Hijjah.

An Indonesian charity that has been raising money to help the families of jihadi fighters who are in jail or who have died has created a new unit to spread the word about its good works. Since March 2022, the Muhzatul Ummah charity has conducted its fundraising activities through a new entity named Al-Matsaali. The charity work of the new group is the same as that of Muhzatul Ummah. Its main goal is to raise money for wives, children, and convicted jihadists. The donations are given out in many different ways, such as cash, daily supplies, school and medical supplies, and more.

What Can Be Expected

Daesh-affiliated groups such as the ASG and BIFF, who coordinate with local terrorist groups to carry out terror attacks, continue to engage in terrorist activities. To attain a minimum level of credible deterrence in accordance with the FMO strategy, the AFP will continue to expand and improve its defence capabilities. The government of the Philippines made the National Action Plan on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (NAP-PCVE) to deal with the growing radicalisation in the country. The plan calls for addressing the causes of extremism in places where it tends to grow, such as certain neighborhoods, schools, prisons, and social media. The ECLIP program is part of the effort to help former terrorists reintegrate back into society, reconnect with their families, and begin new, regular lives.

Indonesia is currently totally committed to deradicalization and counter radicalisation initiatives. The National Counterterrorism Center has set up the Deradicalization Blueprint and a Deradicalization Center for terrorist prisoners. In accordance with the Blueprint, deradicalisation programmes involve rehabilitation, reintegration, and re-education for terrorist inmates by empowering religious leaders and psychologists to offer counter-narratives. Despite the fact that the BNPT and Densus 88 have been successful in arresting and demobilising terrorist networks throughout the country, the effort still faces obstacles. These include a lack of capacity to respond to rapid technological and ideological improvements, which have led to changes in the recruitment patterns and narratives employed by terrorist organisations, the majority of which recruit over the internet. In addition, the current anti-terrorism legislation has not been able to control the influx of Syrian deportees or the use of encrypted social media and programmes that spread radical ideologies.

Malaysia’s terrorism threat remained at a moderate level. Even though there are no terrorism-related issues in Malaysia, the presence of Malaysians at the Al-Hol camp in Syria remains a big concern for the country. But law enforcement officials are also keeping a close eye on ISKP’s plans to make Afghanistan an Islamic Caliphate.


Extremists in the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia continue to support Daesh, making it the preeminent terrorist organisation in these regions. Daesh supporters in Southeast Asia continued to translate Daesh material into local languages in order to radicalise susceptible communities in the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesian. Even when there was no new propaganda propagating Southeast Asians to join ISKP or go to conflict zones, extremist networks still used social media to express their desire to join terror groups in Afghanistan or the Middle East.

In Southeast Asia, there have been no noteworthy terrorist events. With the addition of arrests in Indonesia and the Philippines, the terrorist threat level remains moderate. With the killing of prominent terrorists, including their leaders and commanders, law enforcement has substantially restricted terrorist networks’ activity. In addition, military operations, such as those in the southern Philippines and Indonesia, have made it more difficult for FTF to remain in these nations.

Even though there have been no terrorist attacks in Malaysia since January 2022, the country has kept an eye out for extremism and terrorism and has been ready for unplanned events that could put its security at risk.

Quarterly Report: Terrorism Events And Developments In The Second Quarter of 2022

The second quarter of Terrorism Watch 2022 examines the latest events and developments in terror-related incidents in Southeast Asia and key incidents worldwide from April to June 2022. Terrorism continues to be the primary asymmetrical concern. With the reopening of borders in numerous nations in 2022, the threat posed by foreign terrorist organisations is anticipated to intensify. This includes the movement of Daesh recruits to Afghanistan, which contributes to an increase in attacks in the country in an effort to demoralise the Taliban in order to undermine the regime’s ability to protect the Afghan people, primarily the minority groups.

Militant activity in the southern Philippines appears to have declined dramatically. Additional terrorists surrendered to the local authorities. Due to the decline in KFR activity, terrorist organisations such as Daulah Islamiyah (DI) and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) have resorted to extortion as a means to ensure their source of income. In Indonesia, the year 2022 may see a rise in the number of arrests of individuals accused of belonging to terrorist and extremist groups. Recent events have demonstrated that extremist organisations such as the Negara Islam Indonesia (NII) and Jemaah Khilafatul Muslimin have posed new challenges to the Indonesian government, as both organisations seek to persuade locals to support their ambition and vision to replace Pancasila ideology with Syariah Law. From January 2022 through June 2022, no arrests were made in Malaysia. Currently, the emergence of extreme Malay-language websites and chat groups that support Daesh is of special concern. This could also increase the likelihood and severity of self-radicalisation and lone-wolf terrorism.

Global Trend

The threat of terrorism has begun to take prominence in 2022. The drastic increase in numbers relating to extremism and terrorism shows how terrorists are adapting to new norms. The second quarter of the year significantly puts Afghanistan under the spotlight for many terror-related attacks. The Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) has been responsible for the deaths and massacres in Afghanistan in 2022, and the group is becoming more dangerous as they increase attacks on minority groups and places of worship. Since its emergence in 2015, ISKP has viewed the Taliban as both its strategic and ideological rival. ISKP has repeatedly denounced the Taliban’s efforts to form an emirate which directly opposes ISKP’s objective of a global Caliphate in Khorasan province. With the Taliban eager to engage the international community to gain international recognition and future economic assistance, ISKP is likely to sabotage and exploit the opportunity, using it to lure extremist militants including foreign fighters from neighbouring Syria and Iraq, as well as from central Asia and Southeast Asia, to conduct more widespread terror attacks. Thus, the security situation in Afghanistan remains precarious.

On the other hand, in Europe and the United States of America, hate crimes and extremism have begun to attract media attention. Europe has been dealing with foreign extremists who are struggling to adapt to new cultures in the west. While the US is facing an ongoing debate on the constitutional rights of firearms possession and the rise of public shootings that have taken away many innocent lives lately.

The threat in Southeast Asia is gradually increasing. There are groups that depart themselves from ideologically-based activities to profit-orientated activities such as extortion. At the same time, the re-emergence of religious-nationalist groups to challenge the Indonesian national identity seems to be intensifying. The second quarter of 2022 will reveal a Malaysian who plays an important role in streaming Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) from this region to Afghanistan.

The following are the highlights of  terrorism-related occurrences around the world:


On 16 June 2022, a senior Daesh leader and bomb-maker, Hani Ahmed al-Kurdi @ Wali of Raqqa, was captured in northern Syria. Al-Kurdi was a bomb-maker who could have become one of the terror group’s most influential leaders in Syria. The arrest of al-Kurdi would affect Daesh’s leadership crisis because many of the group’s potential leaders have been killed or captured in operations led by the US.


For the past three months, there have been a string of terrorist attacks perpetrated by the ISKP in the country. More than 50 casualties and 150 injuries were reported, where most of the victims were from the minority groups, particularly the Hazara-Shiite Muslims and one Sikh. The continuing attacks indicate the Taliban have done less in mitigating the threat of ISKP despite the fact that many ISKP members have been arrested. ISKP is trying to build up a momentum of insecurity to weaken the Taliban so that the regime will be seen as a failure in providing protection to the minorities. The series of terrorist attacks are as follows:


19 April 2022Explosions at the Abdul Rahim Shahid Secondary School625
29 April 2022Bomb attack at the Khalifa Aga Gul Jan Mosque1020
25 May 2022Bomb attack at the Hazrat Zakaria Mosque515
11 June 2022Bomb blast on a minibus4
18 June 2022Sikh Temple2


21 April 2022Bomb attacks on the vehicles brought Taliban mechanics418
22 April 2022Bomb attack at the Khanaqa-e-Malawi Sikandar Mosque3343
17 June 2022Bomb attack at the Alif Bardi Mosque17


21 April 2022Bomb attack at the Soh Dokan Mosque1250
25 May 2022VBIED attack9


20 June 2022Vehicle Attack at the nearest bazaar428


On 26 May 2022, Turkey claimed that the local authorities had arrested Daesh’s leader, Abu Al-Hassan Al-Hashimi Al-Qurashi, in Istanbul. He is the third leader of the group after the death of the second leader, Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashimi Al-Qurashi, in a raid in Idlib, Syria on 3 February 2022. Even though there was no official confirmation of this development, Daesh followers could possibly use it as an excuse to retaliate and intensify attacks on his behalf.


On 8 June 2022, Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) threatened to carry out attacks in India in the backdrop of the controversial statements regarding the Prophet by two members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). A statement purportedly by the AQIS has called for attacks in Delhi, Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. Despite this development, AQIS capabilities are assessed as still weakened due to its decreasing strength as a result of preemptive action by the Indian authorities against its members. Until now, AQIS has not conducted any terrorist attacks in India as compared to Pakistan and Bangladesh. The suicide threat is merely its propaganda and narratives to ensure its existence remains intact.


On 19 April 2022, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) armed group claimed responsibility for an explosion that killed three and injured 19 people at a market in the rural town of Iware, Taraba State in North Eastern Nigeria. The attack was believed to be due to the selling of alcohol in the market. Meanwhile, on 5 June 2022, the group was blamed for bombing and gun attacks at the St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, in southwestern Nigeria. The assault killed 40 churchgoers. These attacks have demonstrated that ISWAP has expanded its attacks elsewhere besides Borno State. The expansion is also caused by its rivalry with Boko Haram in Borno State, another dominant force in the state. Both groups, who were once allies, are now competing and battling for territorial supremacy in Northern Nigeria.


On 13 May 2022, five people were wounded after an assailant attacked them with a knife on a passenger train in Herzogentrath, Germany. The suspect, who was an Iraqi asylum seeker, was detained by police. The man was radicalised during his time living in a refugee shelter.


On 24 June 22, two people were killed and more than 20 were injured in a shooting incident in a gay bar in Oslo, Norway. The perpetrator was identified as Zaniar Matapour, from Iran. He was arrested immediately after the incident. Matapour arrived in Norway with his family from a Kurdish part of Iran in the 1990s. The authorities seized two weapons that belonged to him, including a handgun and an automatic weapon. The Norwegian security service called the incident an Islamist terror act.

Terrorism Trends in Southeast Asia

The Philippines

The terrorism-related issues involving the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) are as follows:

a.         On 30 May 22, the Philippine National Police (PNP) arrested four terrorist suspects for links with two bombings outside a fast food restaurant, Jollibee and at D’Biel Transportation in Barangay La Pieded. Both incidents occurred in Basilan. The AFP suspected these attacks were perpetrated by ASG.

The terrorism-related issues involving Dawlah Islamiyah (DI) are as follows:

a.         On 10 May 2022, a 53-year-old with the name Omar bin Harun and a Malaysian passport was denied entry into Manila for terror links. The man who flew in from Kuala Lumpur to Manila was not only linked to Abu Sayyaf’s kidnapping activities under the leader Radulan Sahiron but also served as a facilitator for Malaysian militant, Dr Mahmud Ahmad. His Filipino name is Airola @ Satar and he was listed under the Terrorism Screening Centre of the Federal Bureau of Investigations.  He used a Malaysian passport to hide his real identity.

b.         On 25 May 2022, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) exploded on a Yellow Bus Line bus in Koronadal City, South Cotabato, wounding three people. The attack was believed to have been conducted by the DI-Hassan Group. This group has been involved in extortion and was responsible for the previous bus attacks in Cotabato areas.

c.         On 6 June 2022, an alleged spokesperson of the DI, identified as Abdulfatah Omar Alimuden @ Abu Huzaifah, was killed during the military operation in Maguindanao. He was also in charge of the financial transactions of the DI-Philippines to the Daesh group in Syria. His neutralisation is a big blow to DI on their capability to make more bombs.

The terrorism-related issues involving Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) as follows:

a.         On 1 April 2022, a Facebook account user identified as Abdullah K, who is suspected to be a Filipino Daesh supporter, released a 28-minute and 12-second video by one of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) leaders, Esmael Abdulmalik @ Abu Toraifee. The leader praised Daesh, pledged allegiance to Abu Al Hassan Al-Hashimi Al-Qurashi (Daesh leader) and advocated suicide attacks in Mindanao.


The terrorism-related issue involving the Eastern Indonesia Mujahidin (MIT) is as follows:

a.         On 16 May 2022, 24 followers of East Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) were arrested in the republic. In all, 22 individuals were arrested in Central Sulawesi and another two were arrested in Bekasi, West Java and East Kalimantan. In the raid police seized a revolver, 10 air guns, an arrow, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and 26 machetes in the raid. These individuals supplied weapons and food to MIT militants in the jungle and have hidden information about them from the authorities. 

Other terrorism-related issues are as follows:

a.         Until April 2022, Detachment 88 arrested more than 15 suspected members of the homegrown militant network Indonesia Islamic State, or Negara Islam Indonesia (NII), during recent operations in West Sumatra and West Java. Besides recruiting youth and minors, they have regularly conducted paramilitary training and acquired weapons. The operations were launched to dismantle the movement as they were believed to be planning to overthrow the legitimate government and replace the national ideology of Pancasila with Syariah Law.

b.         In May 2022, five Indonesian nationals had their assets frozen by the United States for allegedly financing Daesh militants and recruiting local teens to fight in Syria. Two of the suspects are in Indonesia, while the other three are at Camp Al-Hol in Syria. They played a key role in facilitating the travel of extremists to Syria and other areas where Daesh operates. They were identified as Dwi Dahlia Susanti, Rudi Heryadi, Ari Kardian, Muhammad Dandi Adhiguna and Dini Ramadhani. Two of them had been apprehended. The Indonesian authorities are also seeking help from Interpol to track down another three who have stayed overseas.

c.         In June 2022, about 16 members of Jemaah Khilafatul Muslimin were arrested in Lampung, Brebes, Krawang and Cimahi. This included the supreme leader of the organisation, namely, Abdul Qadir Hasan Baraja. This arrest began when members of the organisation carried out a convoy wearing green-coloured clothes, distributing pamphlets and posters that read ‘Welcome to the Rise of the Islamic Caliphate’. The Jemaah Khilafatul Muslimin movement has 14,000 members spread across the country. The movement is promoting an ideology akin to that of banned Islamic organisations such as Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), which all seek to establish an Islamic Caliphate in Indonesia.


a.        In April 2022, a 29-year-old Singaporean national, Radjev Lal Madan Lal, was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) after he became self-radicalised and planned to travel to conflict zones to undertake armed violence. Radjev’s path to radicalisation began in 2013 when he was introduced to the online sermons of Imran Hosein, a foreign radical preacher from Trinidad and Tobago. He was also susceptible to prophecies of the imminent “end of times” and the rise of the Black Flag Army (BFA). In 2014, Radjev planned his travel route to Syria to join Daesh and he also supported the Taliban. His detention is vital as this action signifies Singapore will take firm action against anyone who allegedly supports, promotes, undertakes or makes preparations to undertake armed violence.

b.        In April, Mohamed Hassan bin Saynudin a senior member of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) network, was detained under the ISA after being deported from Indonesia. In 2008, he was imprisoned in Indonesia for planning a terrorist attack. In 2001, Hassan was also planned a plot with another former JI member, Mas Selamat bin Kastari, to hijack an airplane from Bangkok, Thailand to crash into the Changi Airport Control Tower in retaliation against the OSA arrests of JI members. The incarceration of Mohamed Hassan could prevent his followers and JI members from launching terrorist attacks in Singapore.


In June 2022, the identity of Khairul Anuar (Abu Hamza Al-Malizi), a 28-year-old Malaysian Daesh fighter and deputy of the East Asia Mujahideen group led by Sayfullah, an Indonesian militant, was revealed. The East Asia group is based in Afghanistan. Khairul Anuar made his first appearance for the announcement of terrorist attacks in Malaysia and other ASEAN countries by the Japanese embassy stationed in Kuala Lumpur last year. He incited Daesh and East Asia Mujahideen adherents to commit suicide attacks against non-Muslims, namely the Chinese, Indians, and Jews. Prior to joining Daesh, Khairul Anuar was a member of Ajnad Al-Sham, a pro-Al Qaeda organisation in Syria.

What Can Be Expected

Terrorist activity in the Southern Philippines is declining but has not disappeared. Some terrorist groups are still staging smaller-scale attacks or planning retaliation against the security forces. With the appointment of Abu Al Hassan, Daesh’s new leader, terrorist groups such as BIFF streamlined their support to Daesh leadership for financial support from Daesh central.

The present mode of operation of terrorist organisations such as BIFF demonstrates that terrorists are changing from ideologically motivated terrorism to criminal activity. The military campaign in the terrorists’ stronghold compelled them to resort to extortion to ensure their preservation. The new shift implies that terrorists are also battling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Targets for rapid cash are likely to be established businesses.

In Indonesia, the emergence of particular movements like the NII and Khilafatul Muslimin led the authorities to closely monitor these groups. They are promoting Syariah law and the Caliphate to replace the state ideology, which is Pancasila. The direct challenge to the state gives an indication that terror-related arrests could increase in the coming months. Although these groups have yet to pose any kind of terrorist attack, the Indonesian government would remain vigilant as groups such as the Khilafatul Muslimin may potentially threaten Indonesia’s security in the long run. This is because such a group may become a risk to their nation if it fails to address the extremism, radicalism, and income disparity among their local community.

The threat level in Malaysia remains moderate, with the likelihood of an imminent attack. As for the current Malaysian foreign fighter in Afghanistan, he was motivated by the deceased characters like Ustaz Lotfi Ariffin (Ajnad Al-Sham) and Muhammad Wanndy Mohd Jedi (Daesh). Khairul Anuar also seems to be recruiting Muslims to join ISKP to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. Other motivating factors that may drive Malaysians to join militant groups include the romanticization of jihad, moral and ideological considerations, and hatred towards the government.


The epicenter of terrorism in the second quarter of 2022 has shifted from the Middle East and North Africa to South Asia, especially Afghanistan, where there has been an increase in terrorist attacks recently. Groups like ISKP have been escalating attacks by targeting minority groups such as the Hazara-Shiite and Sikh to demoralise the Taliban. At the same time, the regime is not protecting the minority groups as well as it should.

Increasing arrests of suspected terrorists in Singapore, the Philippines, and Indonesia suggest that Southeast Asia’s terrorism situation remains moderate. There have been no significant terrorist attacks in the region over the past three months. Authorities must continue to monitor the dissemination of extremist narratives through cyberspace by radical preachers and terrorist members and supporters. Terrorists and radicals who support them may learn from one another and exchange the most effective strategies for achieving their aims, even if they do not attack.

Quarterly Report: Terrorism Events And Developments In The First Quarter of 2022

The first quarter of Terrorism Watch 2022 examines the latest events and developments on terror-related incidents in Southeast Asia and key incidents worldwide from January to March 2022. Extremist movements and terrorist networks are undoubtedly seeking new opportunities to see what this year has in store. Daesh’s domain is not only limited to the crumbling caliphate in Iraq and Syria or Afghanistan and Pakistan but increasingly stretches into some parts of Africa and maintains influence in Southeast Asia. Additionally, threats in Southern Philippines are mainly from Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), Dawlah Islamiyah (DI) – Maute, Hassan Group and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). Following their resilience to survival and the emergence of a new Emir, the Focused Military Operation (FMO) will continue to ensure the terrorist networks in the Southern Philippines.

Meanwhile, in Indonesia, there were fewer terror-related incidents. However, extremist and Daesh followers actively operate in cyberspace to reach followers and sympathisers. Malaysia has recorded no arrests in the first-quarter report. The opening of Malaysian borders for tourism would require the law enforcement agencies to be vigilant and continue to work with international partners to detect terrorists.

Global Trend

The ninth edition of the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) has highlighted several key points that will help to give a glimpse of what 2022 will bring in terms of terrorism. In summary, the overall threat and death caused by terrorism fell fairly compared to previous years especially pre COVID-19 years. Significantly, GTI highlights that there was a shift in the dynamics of terrorism where it is becoming more concentrated in regions and countries suffering from political instability, such as the Sahel, Afghanistan and Myanmar. The report has supported its analysis of the shift based on the statistics showing that politically-motivated terrorism has overtaken religiously motivated terrorism over the last five years.

The decline in terrorism over the past two years coincides with the COVID-19 pandemic. The restrictions on movements, gatherings, and national borders’ closure may have contributed to the decline. The COVID-19 pandemic has also become a political propaganda tool where the opposition uses the government’s mismanagement and failure to contain the virus to undermine the government. The points regarding the shift in terrorism motivation correspond with the reality in many countries. With many countries reopening their borders, more terrorism-related development will be expected to catch media attention soon.

The Daesh affiliated groups, especially the Islamic State of the Khorasan Province (ISKP), were the deadliest terrorist group in 2021, and it is expected to achieve the same milestone in 2022.  Meanwhile, the Daesh network has shifted resources and attention to its affiliates and branches beyond Syria and Iraq to remain relevant and steadily gained momentum. In terms of terror tactics, we should expect terrorists to continue to seek out emerging technologies to enhance the lethality of their attacks.

The announcement of the new Daesh leader, Abu Al-Hassan Al-Hashemi Al-Qurashi, on 10 March 22 has encouraged other Daesh branches in the Middle East, South Asia, Africa and Southeast Asia to pledge allegiance to Daesh’s third Caliph, reinforcing unity among Daesh networks. The leader is expected to lay his new vision and directions to achieve what his predecessors envisioned Daesh.

The following are the highlights of  terrorism-related occurrences around the world:


a.         Daesh attacked the Al-Sina’a prison in the Ghuwayran area of Al-Hasakah city, Syria, from 20 to 30 January 22. The attack was meant to free its 3000 fighters, including Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF) and child soldiers known as the Cub of Caliphate.  On 30 January 22, the Syrian Defence Forces (SDF) regained full control of the prison and the surrounding neighbourhoods. The incidents resulted in more than 400 casualties, including SDF soldiers and Daesh members. The attack was the largest attack committed by Daesh since it lost its last key Syrian territory in 2019.

b.         On 3 February 22, U.S. Special Operations Forces carried out a raid that led to the death of Daesh leader Abu Ibrahim al Hashimi Al Qurashi, @ Hajji Abdullah, in the Syrian village of Atmeh in Idlib province, Syria. The slain leader who refused to surrender detonated a suicide vest that killed himself, his wife and children. Abu Ibrahim was the third terrorist leader to die in a U.S. operation. In 2011, President Barack Obama deployed U.S. Navy SEALs to Abbottabad in northern Pakistan to capture the late Al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden. Osama died at his compound during the raid. In 2019, President Donald Trump sent Special Forces to hunt Daesh’s first leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in northern Syria.  Abu Bakr blew himself up during the operation to avoid being captured. 

c.         On 10 March 22, Daesh announced that Abu Al Hassan Al Hashimi Al Qurashi was the new leader of Daesh after confirming the death of Abu Ibrahim Al Hashimi Al Qurashi. He is the elder brother of the late Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi and was chosen by Abu Ibrahim Al Hashimi to lead Daesh. The term ‘Al-Hashimi and Al-Qurashi’ indicates that he claims to be a descendant of the prophet Muhammad, belonging to the Hashim clan of the Quraish tribe.


a.         In February, the US has set a bounty of USD 10 million for information leading to the location or identification of Sanaullah Ghafari, the leader of the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP). Sanaullah Ghafari was responsible for approving all ISKP operations throughout Afghanistan, including the 2021 Kabul International airport suicide attack and his role in raising funds for the group.


a.         On 4 March 22, at least 63 people were killed and 196 wounded after a blast inside a Shiite mosque in Kochar Risaldar, Peshawar in Pakistan. The attack happened during the Friday prayers, aimed at the worshippers. The ISKP in Pakistan had claimed responsibility for the suicide attack.


a.         On 11 February 22, five United Nations workers were abducted by members suspected to be Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) in Abyan, Yemen, after the workers completed a field mission. The group requested USD 5 million for the release of the UN workers. However, the negotiation conducted by local tribal figures failed and ended in deadlock while the UN officials and the local Yemeni authorities refused to pay ransom for their release.


a.         On 18 February 22, Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for a suicide attack in a restaurant in Beledweyne, Mogadishu. The attacks had killed 15 people, including a parliamentary election candidate and injured 30 others. The incident occurred on the eve of the first round of voting for 25 parliamentary seats in the Beledweyne constituency. The killings were allegedly aimed at disrupting the elections.

Terrorism Trends in Southeast Asia

The Philippines

The terrorism-related issues involving the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) are as follows:

a.         On 6 March 22, security forces arrested Nursitta Mahalli Malud, also known as Kirsita Ismael, for allegedly possessing explosives and bomb-making materials in Barangay Tulay, Jolo. Kirsita Ismael is the second wife of bomb maker, Mundi Sawadjaan. She is also in charge of his finances and the procurement of IED materials.

The terrorism-related issues involving Dawlah Islamiyah (DI) are as follows:

a.         On 15 January 22, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) killed the alleged leader of the DI-Hassan Group, Norodin Hassan, and three other members in a military operation. They were reportedly involved in the bus bombing attack on 11 Jan 22 in Cotabato. Troops had recovered M14 and M1 Garand rifles, ammunition and magazines for various firearms, analogue cellphones, solar panels, handheld radios and other subversive documents with high intelligence value.

b.         On 1 March 22, troops launched close air support on DI-Maute Group strongholds in Lanao del Sur, Mindanao. This operation was conducted to hunt DI-Maute leader Faharudin Hadji Satar @ Zacaria @ Abu Zacariah @ Omar @ Jer Mimbantas, who is believed to be the new Emir of Daesh in Southern Philippines. After the clashes between both sides, troops recovered two .50-caliber machine guns, a .30-caliber machine gun, an AK-47 assault rifle; an M16 rifle, an M14 rifle; a Garand rifle, three rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), 22 improvised explosive devices (IEDs), hundreds of assorted ammunition, several anti-personnel mines and bomb components. The operation killed seven members of DI-Maute while Zacaria managed to escape.

For the Daesh media and propaganda in the Philippines are as follows:

a.         In January 2022, a Tausug from Basilan, identified as Ibn B, released messages on Facebook calling for Muslims to take arms and unite against the enemies of religion. The account owner, believed to be a supporter of Daesh and Al Qaeda, called for the unification of Muslims against government forces operating in Mindanao.

b.         An alleged Daesh Filipino female supporter, known as Al U, urged other female followers on Facebook to covertly assist militants. Al’s account has been active since 16 November 21.


The terrorism-related issue involving the Eastern Indonesia Mujahidin (MIT) is as follows:

a.         On 4 January 22, a member of MIT, identified as Ahmad Ghazali @ Ahmad Panjang was gunned down in Parigi Moutong, Poso in Sulawesi. After the shootout, security forces confiscated a homemade bomb, a bottle containing gunpowder, a machete and other evidence. The new death has reduced MIT members to three. 

The terrorism-related issues involving the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) are as follows:

a.         On 22 January 22, the Indonesian court sentenced a JI member, Aris Sumarsano @ Zulkarnaen (58 years old), to 15 years in prison after finding him guilty of hiding information about terrorist activities involved in the 2002 Bali bombings and harbouring terrorist members. He was detained in December 2020 in Sumatera after eluding capture for 18 years. He was among the first Indonesian militants to go to Afghanistan in the 1980s for training and later became an instructor at a military academy there for seven years.

b.         On 9 March 22, Detachment 88 shot down a high-ranking member of the JI network identified as the initial SU in Sukoharjo, Central Java. He served as Amir Khidmat, where he acted as deputy for da’wah and information on the network.

The terrorism-related issue involving the Daesh is as follows:

a.         On 7 February, National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) announced since 2011, more than 2,158 Indonesian citizens joined Daesh in Iraq and Syria, while between 10,000 to 20,000 individuals had attempted to join Daesh but were arrested. Most of them were believed to have been radicalised through the internet and social media.

The terrorism-related issue involving the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) is as follows:

a.         On 8 and 9 February 22, three suspected terrorists from the JAD group were arrested in Riau and Yogyakarta. The trio had pledged allegiance to late Daesh chief Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi and planned to conduct Amaliyah (suicide) terrorist attack on the police station. According to the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC), more than ten suspected terrorists believed to be from the Merauke cell of Daesh and JAD were arrested in Merauke, Papua. All of them were non-Papuans and came from Sumatra and Java Island. They were targeting Papua for recruiting and militant training activity. The existence of the Merauke cell has displayed how extremist ideology spreads through social media, marriage and migration.

The Daesh media and propaganda in Indonesia are as follows:

a.         On 17 January 22, Indonesian users on Daesh-linked Telegram groups discussed potential migration routes from Indonesia to the Philippines via Malaysia. They called on potential migrants to disguise their physical appearance as religious preachers to minimise suspicion. Users shared maps showing the Philippines and Indonesian territory and suggested crossing from Borneo, Indonesia, to Sabah, Malaysia.

b.         On 2 February 22, an alleged female Daesh supporter, Ummu Azzam Hurairah, called on Indonesian jihadists, through Telegram message, to migrate to Sulawesi provinces to join MIT. Ummu Azzam, who claimed to have written the text from Syria, also urged Indonesian supporters to migrate to Syria, Iraq and the Philippines to seek martyrdom. She insisted that women should replace male combatants unwilling to join the armed jihad.

c.         On 25 February 22, An-Najiyah Media Center issued threatening posters on the murder of the Indonesian Minister of Religious Affairs Yaqut Cholil Qoumas to his statement allegedly comparing Azan to the sound of dogs barking. Jihadists and Daesh supporters continued to incite the minister’s assassination and disseminate derogatory memes about him via social media platforms.


The Eastern Coast Security Command (ESSCOM) has released a new list of five most wanted terrorists. They are Ahadin Hussein, Ellam Sajirin, Ismurah Jirah, Majdid Said and Mundi Sawadjaan. However, Mundi Sawadjaan has appeared to be the ESSCOM’s most wanted terrorist due to his involvement in the 2019 suicide bombings at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo. Besides coordinating suicide attacks, he also facilitates the movement of FTFs, mainly Indonesians, into Sabah either through maritime routes or across the shared border between Malaysian and Indonesian Borneo. He is reportedly alive and may continue to recruit FTF for the ASG operations in the Southern Philippines.

What Can Be Expected In 2022

Terrorism trends and developments in times of the COVID-19 pandemic show that the year 2022 may project an apparent sharp decline in terrorist-related activities in Southern Philippines. This is due to the AFP’s ongoing Focused Military Operation (FMO) to overrun militant strongholds. The operation managed to pressure, defeat and force many militants, particularly from the BIFF and ASG, to surrender.

The new Emir of DI, Fahrudin Hadji Satar @ Abu Zacariah, may spark a new security concern in the Southern Philippines. Abu Zacaria, who is also the leader of the DI-Maute group, active in recruiting locals, mainly in Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte, to join the group. The new appointment would encourage Abu Zacaria to emulate the 2017 Marawi city siege. However, his new appointment may not be well accepted by ASG and BIFF as these groups have prospective leaders who are more credible than Abu Zacaria.

In Indonesia, the number of plots and terrorist attacks by local terrorists and militant groups has declined over the past two years. In 2021, Densus 88 arrested 370 suspected terrorists, where the percentage is higher than the 2020 arrests. However, based on the current trends, aside from targeting the police, terrorists and Daesh local supporters also aim at high profile individuals, such as the assassination threats against the minister of religious affairs. The latest development is attributed to the increasing activity of disseminating hatred through online means by Daesh local media operation. Such activity requires little expertise, mainly in editing and translating from Daesh – English propaganda version to Malay narratives and vice versa. Daesh media operation is another strategy to indoctrinate local supporters to call for a lone wolf attack during the holy month of Ramadhan.

The threat level of terrorism remained moderate, with the likelihood of an imminent attack. However, in 2021, only one case was reported involving a local woman who was deported from Syria and jailed upon her return for joining Daesh. In contrast to other countries that have refused to repatriate their nationals and have even deprived them of their citizenship, Malaysia has made a concerted effort to bring its citizens home. Repatriation of FTFs from Syria and Iraq is critical for domestic threat containment. Returning them to the country would enable the country to prosecute and dismantle their local networks. Malaysia and other countries, therefore, continue repatriating their citizens. Otherwise, their further exposure to other Daesh supporters within the camp may put them at risk of radicalization and forming networks with other Daesh followers.


Countries are beginning to cope and live with the COVID-19 pandemic. With the opening of countries’ borders, transmigration and cross-border activities are expected to resume their business. The decline in terrorism-related incidents was because of the restrictions imposed to contain the virus. Those restrictions have affected terrorists’ movement, training and meeting outside one’s country. Regionally, the Southern Philippines and several islands in Indonesia, especially Sulawesi, may become a possible destination for a terrorist to set foot.

As mentioned in the introduction, the GTI report sets the base to expect what 2022 will have in terms of terrorism. Based on the current development, terrorism will remain a serious threat in 2022. Additionally, geopolitical issues such as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and other domestic crises have tickled the need to revisit the definition of terrorism. Lately, terrorism has become a widely used term in analysing incidents and attacks. Regardless, the current development promises that terrorism-related incidents will continue to be the primary events in 2022.

Quarterly Report: Terrorism Events And Developments In The Fourth Quarter of 2021

The fourth quarter of Terrorism Watch 2021 examines the latest events and developments on terror-related incidents in Southeast Asia and key incidents worldwide from October to December 2021. The Islamic State of the Khorasan Province (ISKP) remains the main actor in Afghanistan by attacking minority groups. Whereas in Europe, the United Kingdom and France are threatened by self-radicalised lone-actors. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) continues to eliminate the local terrorist groups under the Dawlah Islamiyah (DI) banner, notably Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF)through its Focused Military Operation (FMO). Terrorist supporters have intensified media propaganda in the Philippines to garner Southern Philippine terrorist sympathisers. Meanwhile in Indonesia, local authority has gradually crippled Neo-Jemaah Islamiyah (Neo-JI) financial support. The group is trying to regain their strength by conducting social programmes comprising charity, education and Usrah activities aiming to cultivate the sympathy of locals by winning their hearts and minds. Meanwhile, the group has also been preparing a plot to attack during Christmas eve in Indonesia.

Global Trend

The year 2021 has passed and the world continues to struggle against COVID-19 and the advent of new varieties such as the Omicron. Similarly, terrorism is a recurring issue for which many governments are unable to find a solution since terrorism continues to be used to attain political goals. Terrorism has not abated globally, and the pandemic has really not deterred terrorists from spreading fear among the public.

The end of the year is usually significant, and the security apparatus may indeed be alerted to be more watchful. Terrorist groups such as Daesh have not shied away from carrying out assaults during the Christmas and New Year holidays. Several Daesh-affiliated websites, online magazines, and social media accounts have issued warnings and encouragement to strike on these dates. Apart from spreading the attack, the internet and social media have also been utilised to publicise their existence and recruit new members.

The coverage of Afghanistan’s security concerns, which have created a permissive atmosphere for terrorists, will not be complete at the completion of the year. The Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) is constantly posing a serious threat to Afghanistan and its population. By intensifying attacks in the country, the ISKP continues to confront the Taliban authority. Due to a lack of personnel (estimated at 2000-3000), the group has gained traction in Afghanistan by adopting guerilla tactics in small groups. ISKP group used Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and suicide strikes on minority civilian targets, security forces and Taliban troops on a regular basis.

In addition, the lone wolf phenomenon has gained spread across Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom and France. Borderless interaction via social media is one of the major contributors to this phenomena. Individuals fall to manipulation as a result of the never-ending online propaganda and exaggerated narratives shared among closed communities. Past and contemporary events in Europe demonstrate that these sentiments have prompted immigrants to commit atrocities. The lone wolf syndrome continues to be a worldwide menace, fueling xenophobia and Islamophobia.

The following are the highlights of  terrorism-related occurrences around the world:


a.         On 3 Oct 21, the ISKP was responsible for the bombing and shooting outside the Eid Gah Mosque in Kabul. At least five civilians were killed and four others wounded in the attack.

b.         On 8 Oct 21, ISKP claimed responsibility for the suicide attack at Gozar-e-Sayad Mosque in Kunduz, killing 50 people and more than 100 others wounded. Most of the victims were the Shiite-Hazara community. The attacker was an ethnic Uyghur from the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) terrorist group. 

c.         On 15 Oct 21, ISKP attacked Fatimiya Mosque in Kandahar, another Shiite worshipping site. The incident killed more than 60 civilians and injured 100 others.

d.         On 2 Nov 21, at least 25 people were killed and dozens of others wounded in explosions and gunfire attacks by ISKP at Sadar Mohamad Daud Khan military hospital in Kabul.

e.         On 12 Nov 21, an explosion hit a Sunni mosque in Spin Ghar in Nangarhar during Friday prayers, killing at least three people and wounding 15 others. ISKP claimed responsibility for the attack.

f.          On 13 Nov 21, the ISKP group has claimed responsibility for a minibus bomb attack in Kabul that killed a journalist and wounded four others.


a.         On 1 Nov 21, a French knifeman was shot by Paris transport police after shouting, ‘Allahu Akbar, France is ruled by Islamic State’ at Saint-Lazare train station. After wielding his knife and threatening people at Saint-Lazare station, the man was severely injured.

b.         On 9 Nov 21, a policeman survived a knife attack in the French Riviera city of Cannes. The assailant, who was believed to be an Algerian, claimed that he was acting “in the name of the Prophet”.

United Kingdom

a.         On 14 Nov 2021, a taxi carrying a passenger arrived at the main entrance of Liverpool Women’s Hospital in Liverpool, England. The IED carried by the passenger identified as Emad Al-Swealmeen, a Syrian, ignited, killing him and injuring the driver. The man arrived in the UK in 2014 seeking asylum as a refugee but was denied.

Terrorism Trends in Southeast Asia

The Philippines

The terrorism-related issues involving Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) are as follows:

a.         On 23 Nov 21,  a suspected ASG bomb expert, identified as Kalmi Mustala (42 years old) linked to the deadly blast at a Jolo church in January 2019, was arrested in a village near Zamboanga. The operation was conducted against Mustala through a warrant of arrest issued by the Sulu court for illegal possession of explosives. Mustala was also involved in kidnappings targeting foreigners, including Swiss national Lorenzo Vinciguerra and Dutchman Ewold Horn.

b.         On 8 Dec 21, two members of ASG were killed during an encounter in Patikul Sulu. They belonged to Radullan Sahiron based in Jolo and were active in Kidnap For Ransom activity.

The terrorism-related issues involving Dawlah Islamiyah (DI) are as follows:

a.         On 29 Oct 21, Dawlah Islamiyah – Hassan Group, identified as Salahuddin Hassan @ Orak died in a clash with AFP in Talayan, Maguindanao. Hassan’s wife, Jehana Mimbida, who reportedly ran the group’s finances, was killed as they tried to evade arrest. Their bodies were recovered, along with rifles and ammunition magazines. Orak was also a bomb expert and protégé for Basit Usman and Marwan of BIFF group. Both are skilled in bomb-making.

b.         Subsequently, on 4 Dec 21, AFP killed another five members of the DI-Hassan group, including its emerging emir, Asim Karinda @ Abu Azim. Asim Karinda replaced Salahuddin Hassan as the new chief of Hassan Group

For the Daesh media and propaganda in the Philippines are as follows:

a.         On 4 Oct 21, members of a chat group known as Bint T posted the videos on their timeline and urged more killings and violence against infidels. The post gained positive remarks from other Daesh supporters.

b.         Another Daesh follower with Tausug language account, Rhazna A, posted a message and celebrated the deaths of the government soldiers who fought with terrorist groups.

c.         On 19 Oct 21, a Filipino Facebook user, Ghurabiya G, was detected posting an image on Facebook of a niqabi woman proclaiming an intention to fight for the Caliphate, encouraged others to condemn democracy and expressed dangerous ways to establish a Caliphate. Ghurabiya G also posted an image of a niqabi woman engaging in physical training and a 20-second video with male voice rapping promoting jihadism.


On 16 Oct 21, a video compilation featuring former (deceased) Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (MIT) chief Ali Kalora and other members and gory footage of beheadings was circulated by MIT sympathizer known as “Inti S” on social media insisting supporters to fight. The joint operation of TNI and Polri, Operasi Madago Raya, managed to kill Ali Kalora in September 2021. The operation, scheduled to end in December 2021, will be extended to 2022. The joint-operation team vowed to hunt down the last four of the remaining MIT members. 

In November 2021, 24 individuals, including Neo-Jemaah Islamiyah (Neo-JI) members were arrested in Indonesia over links to terrorism financing. Those detained included a member of the Council of Ulama Indonesia (MUI), Ahmad Zainan-Naja and his two friends, Ahmad Farid Okbah and Anung al-Hamat. These suspects collected funds for JI via two Islamic charitable foundations, Syam Organizer and Lembaga Amil Zakat Badan Mal Abdurrahman Bin Auf (LAZ BM ABA). Fourteen of them were from the LAZ BM ABA, and the rest were from the Syam Organizer. Their arrests will help the local authority investigate militant funding activities in Indonesia. The two foundations were believed to have been used as fronts for JI and had risen by more than USD 2 million. Previously, LAZ BM ABA founders Abdurrahman bin Auf and Syam Organizer based in West Java known as Firmansyah were also apprehended, leading to other arrests. Thousands of charity boxes belonging to LAZ BM ABA were also confiscated during the raid.

On 25 Nov 21, a woman and a mother of two, Ummu Subah, was sentenced to three years and six months in prison for committing terrorism-related offences. She planned to migrate to Syria to join Daesh via Rome (stayed for four days) and Turkey (bought an apartment while waiting to travel Syria). Ummu was reported to have sold her house in Pejaten for RP 10.5 billion. The lady and her family were arrested when they returned to Indonesia to sell their remaining assets.

On 13 Dec 21, five suspected terrorists were arrested by Densus 88 in Southern Sumatera and Southern Sulawesi. Four of them were the Neo-JI members apprehended in Sumatera for allegedly plotting attacks during Christmas and New Year celebrations. Meanwhile, a JAD member was also arrested in Sulawesi for links with the church bombing incident in Makassar in March this year.

For the Daesh media and propaganda in Indonesia are as follows:

a.         On 11 Oct 21, a Facebook user, Af K, posted a tutorial video of assembling a homemade stun button in English. The video with one minute 50 seconds duration featured a diagram of the structure and materials, including batteries, an on/off switch, a high voltage converter and a spark gap. Another Facebook user, Jus P, shared a video on how to turn a pen into a small pistol.

b.         ‘Amy A’, a local Facebook user, has disseminated at least 76 posts, mostly text and a few videos and images, including those taken from other pro-Daesh, calling on ‘brethren’ in Indonesia to prove their commitment to perform jihad. Amy also urged others to leave their comfort zones and hasten their movement on the real battlefield. Amy additionally displayed military outfits and weapons and promoted a video of jihadi physical training published by “Milisi Tauhid,” a pro-Daesh media group that aggressively campaigned for violent jihad.

c.         In November 2021, Voice of Hind, a Daesh online magazine has inspired Indonesian jihadists to target Hindus in the country and elsewhere. Soon after this release, Indonesian Daesh supporters spread the promotional images of publications and incited others to destroy statues in a Hindu majority island.

d.         An Indonesian Instagram user and a Daesh supporter campaigned for an island in Indonesia to become a Daesh province and labelled it a city in Central Java as ‘Mujahid’ territory. Another Daesh supporter under the username, AI M, distributed a one minute video promoting a Daesh Madura province.


Terrorism threat level in the country remains moderate. There were no terrorism-related issues reported in the last quarter of the year. However, Malaysia’s law enforcement agencies remain vigilant and prepared to overpower any forms of terrorist activities.

What Can Be Expected In 2022

The FMO has significantly affected terrorist networks in Mindanao with the killings of terrorist high profile members notably their leaders and commanders. The deaths of their leaders might degrade the morale of other remnants to surrender due to the movement limitation caused by the ongoing clashes with AFP. There is also a possibility that they might retaliate sporadically to avenge the death of their leaders, refuse to surrender and continue their struggle. The ongoing pressure from AFP has also limited the presence of FTF in the Southern Philippines. There were presences of FTFs reported in the southern Philippines. However, the continuous success of the AFP managed to break the local terrorist groups’ international networks.

Daesh’s social media activities are significant as the internet paved the way for Daesh’s success in Syria and Iraq before this. The emergence of social media activity, especially by Daesh supporters indicates that the Philippines Daesh supporters are attempting to imitate the modus operandi. However, the limited internet and mobile network coverage in the Southern Philippines may hamper Daesh’s attempt to reach its supporters via social media platforms.

The continuous arrest of terrorism-related cases in 2020 and 2021 clearly showcase Indonesia’s tireless effort to eliminate terrorism domestically. The fourth quarter of this report sees that the fundraising activities have been strongly linked to JI or Neo-JI groups. The Indonesian government detected organisations such as the Syam Organizer and Lembaga Amil Zakat Badan Mal Abdurrahman Bin Auf, which operated under such disguise to support terror groups’ agenda. The fund would undeniably be channelled to groups’ terror activities, particularly in paramilitary training, weapons, dakwah activities and sending their new recruits to conflict zones.

The Daesh’s propaganda videos and posting on social media platforms shows those Daesh supporters in Indonesia lingers to imitate a Daesh siege similar to Marawi City, Southern Phillipines. The attempt to imitate such siege could only be materialised when the country has been destabilised. Daesh’s propagation to destroy Hindu statues in the country indicates their attempt to destabilise the religious harmony in the country. The current development in Indonesia and Philippines has alerted the law enforcement agencies to be vigilant for the re-emergence of Daesh’s social media propagation.

Even though the last quarter of the year looks favourable to Malaysia because no terror-related incidents occurred, the country’s law enforcement agencies should always be vigilant. The current situation in Afghanistan gives actors such as the ISKP a platform to replicate Daesh’s achievements in Syria and Iraq. As is usual, terrorist groups use cyberspace and social media to manipulate and promote their ideology. On the other hand, a lone-actor attack is possible since it is the only tool Daesh has to stay relevant globally.


The threat of terrorism is imminent. The fall of Daesh’s Caliphate has ushered in a new era of terrorism in the region, particularly with the rise of, ISKP, a Deash-affiliated group, in Afghanistan. Given that the group has already established a stronghold in Afghanistan, this might be used to recruit other extremists or terrorists groups to carry out jihad in the country based on the ideological narrative of ‘The Rise of Imam Mahdi’. Terrorist organisations such as the Daesh continue to further their goals. Daesh may quickly become involved in crisis in Afghanistan, Africa, and other Middle Eastern nations. As a result of this situation, sympathisers from Southeast Asia will be persuaded to support their cause in those conflict zones, perhaps duplicating similar inherent risks in their own countries. Terrorists and extremists can use the borderless digital age, which is facilitated by permeable sea and land borders and technological advancements, to recruit locals to their cause. Despite addressing the fundamental causes of terrorism, Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE) and Counter-Terrorism (CT) methods must be constantly reviewed and harnessed since terrorism is a constantly evolving threat.

Quarterly Report: Terrorism Events And Developments In The Third Quarter of 2021

The third quarter of Terrorism Watch 2021 examines the latest events and developments on terror-related incidents in Southeast Asia and key incidents worldwide from July through September 2021. The Taliban’s swift takeover of Afghanistan may allow global Islamist terrorist groups, particularly Al Qaeda, to flourish once more. According to recent events, Daesh and Al Qaeda may compete in terms of recruiting new adherents, getting financial backing, and spreading propaganda. In the Southern Philippines, the Focused Military Operation (FMO) has been successful in thwarting terrorist activities conducted by Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), Dawlah Islamiyah (DI) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), resulting in the continued capture and surrender of their members to the authorities. Likewise, more than 50 people have been arrested in Indonesia for ties to Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) and Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (MIT). Some of them are suspected of planning strikes for 17 August 2021, Indonesia’s Independence Day. In August 2021, the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) captured 12 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members in Beaufort, Sabah, and killed another two members of the group.  They planned to kidnap two oil palm plantation owners in Sandakan and Sukau for ransom to fund the ASG – Sulu base at Sulu, Southern Philippines.

Global Trend

As Daesh’s influence in Iraq and Syria has waned, attention has switched to other countries of the world, most notably Afghanistan. The Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) has positioned itself as the Iraq and Syrian equivalent of Daesh. The re-emergence of Taliban control in Afghanistan posed a threat to ISKP’s efforts. The Taliban’s dominance of Afghanistan has generated a new security issue and dynamic throughout the region of Southern Asia.

The first sign of antagonism between these actors came on 26 August 2021, when ISKP carried out twin bombings at Kabul airport, killing more than 180 people. In Southeast Asia, pro-Daesh groups continue to engage in violent activities in order to preserve their legitimacy and relevance. The Taliban’s control of Afghanistan since 15 August 2021 following the US troops’ withdrawal is expected to cause these security implications as follows:

  • Afghanistan could once again become a hotbed for terrorism.
  • Taliban will be providing sanctuary for militant and terrorist groups especially Al Qaeda and its affiliates.
  • An increase in threats or attacks by Al Qaeda and affiliates against western interests in order to continue their global jihad aspiration.
  • There will be a rise in clashes between Taliban and ISKP in order to gain legitimacy among radical and extremist groups globally.

While terrorism continues to pose significant threats to other parts of the world, the continuous efforts of the Southeast Asian security forces managed to weaken some of the prominent groups in the region. The following are the highlights of other notable terrorism-related occurrences around the world:

  • On 2 July 2021, an Al Shabab suicide bomber exploded himself near a cafe close to the well-known Juba Hotel and the headquarters of Somali intelligence agency in Mogadishu, Somalia. The attack killed 10 people and wounded dozens. Al Shabab took responsibility that it had targeted intelligence, police and military forces to avenge the terror campaigns against them in Somalia. Meanwhile, on 10 July 2021, Al Shabaab also orchestrated a VBIED attack targeting a government convoy in Mogadishu, Somalia which killed nine people and injured 10 others. The group wanted to overthrow the government and impose its strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia Law through violence.
  • On 19 July 2021, a suicide bomber killed at least 35 people and wounded 60 others in a crowded market in the Sadr City, Baghdad in Iraq. Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack on Telegram.
  • On 22 July 2021, a video produced by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) has shown hundreds of Boko Haram members pledging allegiance to ISWAP and Daesh. The video emerged a few weeks after the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau was reportedly died. Boko Haram is led by its new chief, Bakura Modu @ Sahaba. There are fears that ISWAP is attempting to gain control over the entire insurgency, leading to more violence against locals mainly in the northern part of Nigeria.
  • On 12 July 2021, a 41 year old male was deported from Doha, Qatar and arrested by the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) in Sri Lanka for propagating the LTTE and supporting attempts to revive the LTTE since 2019.
  • On 17 August 2021, two women identified as Mizha Siddeque and Shofa Harris were arrested in Kannur, Kerala in India in connection with Daesh Kerala Module case. Both have been accused of supporting, propagating Daesh ideology and recruiting new members over social media platforms such as Telegram, Hoop Messenger and Instagram.
  • On 15 August 2021, the Taliban freed more than 5000 prisoners, including Al Qaeda and Daesh inmates from Bagram airbase and Pul-e-Charki prison in Kabul, Afghanistan. Consequently, the Taliban executed the former chief of ISKP, Mawlawi Zia ul-Haq. Afghan security forces arrested Ziya ul-Haq in an operation in May 2020. The new ISKP chief is Shahab Al-Muhajir. The execution of Zia ul-Haq showed the group’s hatred towards Daesh because ISKP had killed Taliban members in Nangarhar, Afghanistan.
  • On 20 August 2021, a horrifying execution video of Badghis police chief, General Mullah Achakzai by the Taliban was circulated on the internet. The general was a well-known name in Afghanistan who has fought against the Taliban and other terrorist networks in Afghanistan. The killing displayed the Taliban’s retribution against its enemies, notably the former Afghanistan army and police, whom they perceived as their competitors in the race for legitimacy in Afghanistan.
  • On 26 August 2021, Daesh’s Amaq News Agency revealed on its Telegram channel that the ISKP has claimed responsibility on the twin suicide attacks and gun shots at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. The attacks killed 182 people including 13 US troops and injured hundred others. The motives behind the attacks could be the anti-US or anti-western sentiment or an attempt to cause friction between the US and Taliban on the very last days of US military withdrawal from Afghanistan.
  • On 3rd September 2021, a man attacked and wounded at least six people with a knife at the Countdown Market, Auckland in New Zealand. The perpetrator was Ahamed Aathil Mohamed Samsudeen (32 years old), a Sri Lankan national who was under police surveillance and a Daesh supporter. The attacker was shot dead by the police. Ahamed Aathil came to the attention of the police in 2016 after he expressed sympathy and comments advocating violent extremism.

Terrorism Trends in Southeast Asia

The Philippines

The terrorism-related issues involving Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) are as follows:

  • On 10 July 2021, two suspected members of ASG identified as Taupik Galbun @ Pa Wahid, and Saik Galbun @ Pa Tanda, were arrested in Taguig, Manila. Taupik is a member of ASG of the group of the late Basilan-based Isnilon Hapilon and Bakal Hapilon. Saik has a warrant of arrest for the crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention. Both were suspected to be involved in KFR activities in Southern Philippines.
  • On 30 July 2021, a non-uniformed employee of the Philippine National Police (PNP),  Masckur Adoh Patarasa, was arrested in Barangay Asturias in Jolo, Sulu for supporting ASG and Dawlah Islamiyah (DI). Masckur is also a brother-in-law of the late ASG leader Isnilon Hapilon and had joined ASG in 2001 under the leadership of Khadaffy Janjalani, in Basilan before shifting to ASG senior leader Radullan Sahiron in Sulu.
  • On 9 August 2021, nine ASG members surrendered to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Indanan, Sulu. Some of them involved in previous KFR activities including the Sipadan kidnappings in 2000. Those who yielded will undergo long-term rehabilitation and enrol in livelihood programs.

The terrorism-related issues involving Dawlah Islamiyah (DI) are as follows:

  • On 2 July 2021, a suspected terrorist believed to be from the DI-Hassan faction, Muslimin Kulas Tagal, was killed in a clash with the army in Barangay Salman, Ampatuan in Maguindanao. This heavy skirmish lasted for 30 minutes and several weapons belonged to the group were seized.
  • From 15 to 24 August 2021, AFP encountered around 30 members of DI-Maute, led by Abu Bakar/Abu Zacaria in Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte in Southern Mindanao. The clashes forced more than 2000 villagers to evacuate to safer ground in Lanao del Norte. The fighting started in Madalum, Lanao del Sur after the locals reported the presence of the terrorist group in their vicinity.

For BIFF, there were 11 suspected members of BIFF group including a subleader known as Mulawin from Karialan faction yielded to the AFP in Barangay Kuloy, Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao on 14 August 2021. Until now, it is believed that more than 100 members of the BIFF and its sub-groups have surrendered since January 2021.

Overall, local terrorist groups continue to play a key role in undermining security in the southern Philippines. Based on their sporadic atrocities and continued IED, KFR-related activities, there is a higher likelihood that local terrorist groups will pursue more hostile endeavours. The groups also appear to be relying on their inter-group alliances and support networks in areas outside of their traditional strongholds.

Besides, due to the continued military pressure, the execution of Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, and the implementation of Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE), more than 100 terrorists have surrendered to the Philippines security forces.  The PCVE programmes are also part of the local community efforts to persuade terrorists and their supporters to reintegrate into society. The Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) – Resilient Communities Conflict Affected Communities, Local Social Integration Program for the ASG, and the Tugon Project for BIFF are among the PCVE projects. These coordinated initiatives will effectively address the serious concerns that communities have about development, governance, and security, as well as assist terrorists to turn over a new leaf.


In early August 2021, a medical doctor identified as Dr Agung Rahmadi was sentenced to three years jail by Central Jakarta Court District for allegedly joining Daesh in Syria. According to the man, he travelled to Syria in 2015 to help Muslims who he believed being oppressed and discriminated against. He used to be the follower of JI in Bekasi and later, pledged allegiance to Daesh.

From 11 to 17 July 2021, three members of Mujahidin Eastern Indonesia (MIT) were killed in two raids in Palu and Poso, Sulawesi. More significantly, on 18 September 2021, the MADAGO RAYA operation, a joint military and police effort killed Ali Kalora, the most wanted terrorist and leader of the MIT in Sulawesi Island. He took over the leadership of MIT after security forces killed its previous head, Santoso @ Abu Wardah in 2016. The death of Ali Kalora might pressure the remaining four members of MIT who are still on the run. There is a high possibility that they would continue to fight security forces.

In August 2021, Densus 88 apprehended 53 suspected terrorists in several regions of Indonesia. Of all, 50 were JI members, while the remaining three were members of the JAD terror group. The Covid-19 pandemic did not halt terrorist groups’ activity. They use pandemic issues as a trigger point to motivate their groups to continue terrorism-related offences.

On 10 September 2021, a senior JI member, Abu Rusydan, was arrested in Bekasi for allegedly being involved in the fundraising scheme, notably by participating in Dawlah Syuro Neo- JI. He was arrested in 2004 for giving aid to a Bali Bombing 2002 bomber, Muchlas and participated in the paramilitary training in Afghanistan in the 1990s. His arrest signified potential retaliation by Neo-JI sympathizers and his followers against the Indonesian authority.

Despite the aggressive counter terrorism campaign, Daesh linked groups in Indonesia like the JAD and affiliates potentially continue their modus operandi and plot attacks against local authority or places of worship. They now operate independently with little coordination from their central leadership. For JI or Neo-JI, they are rebuilding the strength by collecting more funds through charity boxes, oil plantation business and crimes, and recruiting new followers and militant training. However, due to the ongoing arrest of their members and leadership, the group’s plan may seem at stake.

The movement of terrorist groups in Indonesia is also influenced by developments at the global and regional levels. Taliban’s victory may indeed revitalise terrorist groups in Indonesia, especially pro-Al Qaeda groups such as JI. Other extremist movements also rejoiced in the glory and shared the Taliban’s success strategy across social media. However, this latest outcome has not favoured Daesh affiliates, notably JAD, where the group has accused the Taliban as an apostate for having ties with the US and China.


On 19 July 2021, a Singaporean businessman, Mohamed Kazali Salleh (50 years old) was charged in court for providing financial support to a Daesh militant for terror-related activities. He was accused of lending a total of S$1,000 to Wan Mohd Aquil Wan Zainal Abidin @ Akel Zainal, a Malaysian Daesh militant  based Syria. The transaction took place prior to the terrorist’s death in March 2019. Mohamed Kazali was arrested by the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) in December 2018 and deported to Singapore on 7 Jan 19. He was also issued with an Order of Detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for supporting Daesh. The involvement of Mohamed Kazali shows that there are individuals who does not participate in an active terrorism activities but expresses sympathy by providing financial aid. Mohamed Kazali’s random act of kindness reveals that there could be many sympathizers willing sacrifice a portion of their salary for terror causes.


On 18 August 2021, there were 12 ASG members arrested in Pulau Timbang, Sandakan. Subsequently, on 20 August 2021, two ASG members were shot dead by the RMP in Bornhill Palm Oil in Sandakan. The group’s kidnapping plan was revealed by an ASG sub-leader Sansibar Bencio who was arrested with seven other ASG members at Taman Sri Arjuna, Beaufort, on 8 May 2021. They planned to abduct two oil palm plantation owners residing in Sandakan and Sukau for ransom to fund the ASG – Sulu base at Sulu, Southern Philippines.

Two Malaysian terror suspects were charged on 30 August 2021 at the United States Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for charges linked to deadly bombings in Indonesia more than 19 years ago. Mohammed Nazir Lep and Mohammed Farik Amin have been detained in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba since 2006, together with Indonesian Encep Nurjaman, also known as Hambali, who is said to be the mastermind of the bombings. The trio was arrested in Thailand by the CIA in 2003 and had undergone militant training in Afghanistan with Al Qaeda. All three were charged with conspiracy, attempted murder, murder, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, terrorism, destruction of property, and attacking civilians and civilian objects. However, the charges have been delayed due to translation and interpretation problems. As the international media once touted Hambali as the “Osama bin Laden of Southeast Asia”, he is still influential and capable of attracting support from the new generations of JI. Also, being the senior member of JI, Hambali’s release will be something that is much-awaited by its members.

On 13 September 2021, the Japanese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur had warned Japanese citizens in Malaysia over possible terrorist threats in Southeast Asia. They had issued an advisory to all of its citizens in Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar to stay away from religious facilities and other crowded areas. The warning was purportedly based on a statement by an East Asia Mujahideen militant, Abu Hamza al-Malizi, which was reportedly came from an unverified source. The Daesh supporter allegedly encouraged followers and sympathizers to stage attacks in the region. Despite the fact that the present threat level is “moderate,” there is no hint of a terrorist threat or lone wolf plot in the country when the COVID-19 overshadows the rest. Such baseless claims could welcome unwanted tension and panic not only for a specific nationality but the entire public in general. 

On 23 September 2021, a Malaysian militant, identified as Ahmad Mustakim Abdul Hamid (34 years old), was sentenced to 15 years in jail by a Somali military court in Mogadishu for conspiring with Al-Shabaab. He had reportedly entered Somalia in 2009 assisted and fought alongside the group in Mogadishu and Dhusamared. Malaysians who joined and supported terrorist groups overseas still raised a concern due to the risk they may pose to the foreign land and their homeland

What Can Be Expected

Terrorist groups are thriving mainly in Africa and South Asia. It is known that there are several factors that several factors lead to the ongoing terrorist activity, which includes competition for local resources, poor governance and also the weak governments to deliver services and provide economic opportunities to their population, especially in the interior areas. Thus, giving a chance to militant groups to take charge in the affected areas. 

In Southeast Asia, the risk of terrorism remains moderate due to the ongoing counter terrorism campaign and PCVE efforts, which has taken to another level. More and more terrorist members were annihilated and apprehended whilst their terror plots were also thwarted by local enforcement.

However, the recent development in Afghanistan might still cause concern after the Taliban victory due to the expectation of the return of its affiliates, mainly Al Qaeda and its global jihad agenda. Some local homegrown groups or extreme movements would be inspired by the victory of the Taliban’s take over Afghanistan and maintaining their ambition to establish an Islamic country based on Islamic Law. Despite the Taliban being under the spotlight, pro-Daesh groups remain the ones to watch, notably for the increased threat of ISKP in Afghanistan. The group will likely to increase their recruiting activity targeting FTF to regain strength and continue their media operation.


In summary, due to the changing trends of extremism and terrorism, the efforts to deal with these two aspects need to be explored more to keep pace with the changes. Collective political will is required to implement the various measures to counter terrorism. Existing cooperation among nations has to be harnessed and taken to greater levels.

Quarterly Report: Terrorism Events And Developments In The Second Quarter Of 2021

The second quarter of Terrorism Watch 2021 examines the latest events and developments on terror-related incidents in Southeast Asia and key incidents worldwide from April through June 2021. Military operations in Iraq and Syria continue to sustain pressure against Daesh’s presence. A shell of its former self, Daesh struggles to live up to its once-formidable reputation. Since their last lethal twin suicide attack in Baghdad in January, Daesh has been unsuccessful in launching any meaningful attacks. In the Southern Philippines, government efforts in aggressively pursuing terrorist groups show no sign of waning. The number of militant members surrendering to the authorities is encouraging. The stimulus package offered by the Philippine government has been effective in incentivising them to come forward and submit themselves and abandon a life of violence. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) group attempted to expand their modus operandi in Papua. They have also planned to attack churches and police stations in the province. For the past three months, the Malaysian security forces have arrested eight Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members in Beaufort, Sabah in May 2021. The investigation has revealed all the ASG members were seeking refuge in Sabah since March this year due to the Philippine military operation in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, Southern Philippines.   

Quarterly Report: Terrorism Events And Developments In The First Quarter Of 2021

This report examines the latest events and developments on terror-related incidents in Southeast Asia and key incidents worldwide from January through March 2021. Military forces in Iraq and Syria continue to engage in offensives against Daesh and Al-Qaeda (AQ), but Daesh shows no sign of waiving and demonstrates operational lethality through a renewed twin suicide attack in Baghdad. Meanwhile, in the Southern Philippines, government efforts in pursuing terrorist groups are still in full force. Militant members are continuously surrendering to the authorities as Philippine security forces continue to target them in a concerted counterterrorism effort. The latest attack in Makassar which occurred on Palm Sunday, bore the hallmarks of a Jamaah Anshorut Daulah (JAD) attack. This latest attack demonstrated JAD’s operational lethality and group resilience despite sustained counterterrorism pressure against them, indicating that they remain a persistent threat in the near future.   

Quarterly Report: Analysis On Terrorism Trends and Developments During The Covid-19 Global Pandemic

This report examines the latest events and developments on terror-related incidents that occurred across the globe between October and December 2020. Military actions in Iraq and Syria have reduced the impact of Daesh-related terrorism around the world. Participating governments continue to target prominent violent groups such as Daesh, Taliban and AQ. The COVID-19 health crisis has led to a decline in violence and remain at low levels. Lockdowns in Indonesia have caused pro-Daesh militants to suffer from income loss. Other groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and East Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) remain resilient. Meanwhile, the Philippines security forces continue to target militant groups in the Southern Philippines. Groups like Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) have lost ground, but they are still able to evolve and relaunch themselves.