As the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the economic activities impacting employments, several terror groups including Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) are reportedly exploiting the crisis to ramp up its recruitment. Western anti-terror observers have indicated towards the disturbing signs of heightened terror activities as the world remains focussed on fighting the pandemic.
Dr Siegfried Wolf, director of research at the South Asia Democratic Front, opined that thousands of youth lose their livelihoods due to the pandemic and can become easy prey for terrorist organisations like LeT, JeM, and Hizbul Mujahideen. Speaking to ANI, Dr Wolf said that Jihadi groups have a long tradition of exploiting crisis situations for their activities, especially in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.
“Already facing an extraordinary challenge, like the current COVID-19 pandemic, the states and their societies are in particular vulnerable in all aspects of daily life. Being aware of this, terrorists try to exploit these conditions to produce maximum fear and to further escalate the crisis with their violent and verbal assaults,” said Dr Wolf.
Experts have warned against the infodemic that is being used by the extremist groups for their nefarious agenda. Junaid Qureshi, the director of the European Foundation for South Asian Studies, said that while it is horrific to learn about terrorists advancing their agenda during turbulent times, it not surprising since terrorist groups have an embedded character of exploitation in their modus operandi.
"They exist because they exploit; religion, uneducated people, poor people, political instabilities in regions, caste, colour, and in this case, a global pandemic," opined Qureshi.
On April 11, Jammu and Kashmir police exposed the conspiracy hatched by JeM in a surprise raid conducted inside Central Jail Kot Balwal. During the raid, which lasted for almost four hours, police recovered 3 mobile phones, 2 sim cards, 1 charger, 1 headphone and 1 memory card each from the possession of Pakistan terrorists Abdul Rehman Mughal and two of his associates.
(With ANI Inputs)