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Political vacuum in Afghanistan could bolster existing terror groups in Africa

Terror activities increase in Africa

Just about a week ago, Ghana’s Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said that terror activities in West Africa could increase. Nkrumah even said that the terror outfits are recruiting in Ghana.

"I am sad to say that our security situation in West Africa is getting precarious. Terrorism and piracy are our biggest threats in West Africa," he told Asaase radio according to Ghana Web.

Experts said that the political vacuum in Afghanistan which has led to a rapid comeback of the Taliban will only bolster these terror groups in Africa.

Also read: Once known as tourist paradise, has Maldives become a safe haven for local and international terror groups?

“There is a power vacuum in Afghanistan, created by the US. We are already seeing how the Taliban is making a comeback. This is a fertile time for terrorism to bloom once again and especially in Africa since it is economically weak,” BK Singh, former joint commissioner of Delhi Police, told India Narrative.

“In fact the Taliban may invite splinter groups to join them – a move that would help in creating a pan Islamic impression,” Singh added.

If immediate action is not taken, the new hub for terror outfits will only give them a platform to carry out activities across the world.

Terror activities have increased all over Africa. In March, Palma in Mozambique was ripped by a massive terror attack, which forced French energy giant Total SE to pull out of the $24.1 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in the country.

India’s state owned ONGC Videsh which also has a stake in the project has adopted a wait and watch mode.

Also read: By pulling out troops, is France handing over Africa to China and the Islamic State?

A recent United Nations report noted that Africa has been hit the most by terror related activities in the first half of 2021. Along with the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan, which has facilitated the comeback of the Taliban, the French military mission, present in West Africa has also started to pull out.

BBC, last month in a report noted that “both the Islamic State group and its rivals in al-Qaeda have taken a strategic decision to make Africa their new priority.”

“If chaos, violent extremism and insecurity become the norm in Sahel nations like Mali then we are likely to see two things emerge: firstly, a new geographic base from which jihadists can plot attacks around the world and secondly, an increased flow of migrants and refugees making the perilous journey north to Europe to escape from their own countries,” Frank Gardner, BBC’s security correspondent wrote.

“The African countries and the leaders are aware of the challenges that terrorism bring about. They are ready to do the needful and deal with the problem but they do not have the required resources to fight this alone. Countries across the globe must come together to support Africa in dealing with this challenge,” Pradeep S Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International told India Narrative.

 Increased terror activities in Africa have raised concerns for the locals as well as countries including China outside the continent. China, which has been caught in a storm over gross human rights violations in relation to the Uighur Muslims, has made huge investments in Africa. Recently, nine Chinese nationals were killed in a bus blast – a handiwork of terror outfits– in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.