Ban Ki moon warns against ISIS spread in South Asia

United Nations: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned of the danger of the Islamic State terror group spreading its tentacles to South Asia through organisations like the Tehreek-e-Khilafat in Pakistan.

“The recent expansion of the ISIL sphere of influence across West and North Africa, the Middle East and South and South-East Asia demonstrates the speed and scale at which the gravity of the threat has evolved in just 18 months,” Ban said in a report to the UN Security Council.

In Afghanistan and Pakistan, ISIL continues to develop a network of contacts and sympathisers who carry out attacks in its name, Ban said in his report which was submitted to the Security Council by Jeffrey Feltman, the Under-Secretary- General for Political Affairs during a debate on the threat posed by ISIL also known as Daesh to international peace and security.

On 13 January 2016, the ISIL group ‘Khorasan province’, which operates in Pakistan and Afghanistan, issued a statement claiming credit for an attack on the Pakistani Consulate in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, he said.

The complexity of recent attacks and the level of planning, coordination and sophistication involved raise concerns about its future evolution, said the Secretary General.

“Moreover, other terrorist groups, including the Islamic Youth Shura Council and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Libya Province (Derna) in Libya, the Mujahideen of Kairouan and Jund al-Khilafah in Tunisia, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Tehreek-e-Khilafat in Pakistan and Ansar al-Khilafah in the Philippines, are sufficiently attracted by its underlying ideology to pledge allegiance to its so-called caliphate and self-proclaimed caliph,” Ban said.

In his report, Ban said ISIL has also benefited from the arrival of a steady stream of foreign terrorist fighters, who continue to leave their communities to replenish its ranks.

The return of these fighters from the battlefields of Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic and other conflict zones is a further major concern, as returnees can extend the presence of ISIL to their States of origin and use their skills and combat experience to recruit additional sympathisers, establish terrorist networks and commit terrorist acts, the Secretary General said.

The report further analyses ISIL’s finances, highlighting the group’s capacity to mobilise vast resources rapidly and effectively.

Its main sources of financing included the exploitation of oil and other natural resources, “taxing”, confiscation and the looting of archaeological sites, as well as external donations and use of the Internet and social media to raise funds.

The report recommends member states to criminalise travel by foreign terrorist fighters, in accordance with relevant resolutions and take measures to strengthen border-management regimes.

The United Nations, for its part, should step up capacity-building assistance in that context, he said, asking Member States to strengthen their tools for disrupting ISIL’s capacity to plan and facilitate attacks.