As India recalls 11/26, Turkey’s role in terrorist financing needs to be watched closely

New Delhi: While social media is abuzz with various hashtags related to the Mumbai terrorist attacks that took place that day in 2008, there are enough clues to suggest that the illegal money may have poured in in greater quantities in India and Southeast Asia via the Hawala canals in recent years. months in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic.

In addition, the nebulous political framework in India’s neighborhood as well as the decision of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to add the already existing Turkey and Pakistan to its gray list are a wake-up call, said sources from security agencies. The hashtags NeverForgetNeverForgive, MumbaiTerrorAttacks, among others, were all the rage as Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Tribute to those who lost their lives in the horrific 11/26 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

The FATF’s decision to graylist Turkey as an international anti-money laundering watchdog only signifies Istanbul’s failure or willful inability to control terrorist financing. The country’s proximity to Pakistan, Syria and Lebanon has also raised concerns for the global community.

Just Security, an online forum for analyzing national security and foreign policy in a recent report, said that due to economic sanctions against the Taliban and limited financial connectivity in Afghanistan, the hawala system is currently in use. main financial lifeline for the country. This system is also widely used for trading with Pakistan.

The United States and the international community must strengthen mechanisms related to monitoring anti-money laundering and terrorist financing activities in and around Afghanistan, especially since terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda and the Haqqani network have close ties to the Taliban.

“Terrorist activities require substantial resources and therefore funding is a critical area to watch. The terrorist attack of 11/26 in Mumbai was well planned and could not have been possible without the transfer of large sums of money to sleeper cells across the country, especially in Maharashtra, ”said BK Singh, retired CP member (commissioner) at Delhi Police. Story from India.

Following increased terrorist threats, experts said coastal security, especially in the Karachi and Mumbai belt, needed to be further strengthened.

According to the European Foundation for South Asian Studies, continued efforts to understand the changing landscape of terrorism, including from an organizational perspective, remain essential to maintain the effectiveness of counterterrorism efforts by run and keep the threat at bay.

Recently, authorities in Bangladesh reported that the incidents of violence against minorities in the South Asian nation and the attacks on the Durga Puja pandals were the work of the Pakistan-backed radical Jamaat-e-Islami group. Not just that. Violence also erupted in the country during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Dhaka in March. Even then, Bangladeshi authorities said the incidents were due to Pakistan-backed groups.

The FATF has already warned that terrorist groups “continue to pose a serious threat to international stability, security and peace”. The FATF also noted that since 2020, ISIL and Al Qaeda have increasingly turned to new payment technologies to raise, move and deploy funds.

“As a result, the use of virtual assets by terrorists remains a risk. In addition, the risk emanating from the expansion of ISIL and Al Qaeda affiliates has increased in recent years, ”the terrorist financing watchdog said.

ISIL, for example, has about $ 25 million to $ 50 million in reserves. These funds help the group to support certain activities and to look for a possible resurgence.

Singh added that state governments across the country must work in synchronization to prevent any major or minor terrorist attack. “Tracking suspicious transactions will be essential,” he said.

“Vigilance is important in a rapidly changing environment and now that the FATF is graylisting Turkey, India needs to further strengthen coordination between state governments and security authorities,” Singh said.

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