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Indian Firms part of supply chain to ISIS: EU study

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ISIS
An Islamic State flag hangs amid electric wires over a street in Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, near the port-city of Sidon, southern Lebanon January 19, 2016. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

Highlights of this EU-mandated study:

  1. As many as 20 countries are involved in supply chain of components that are used by ISIS as weapons. 
  2.  A total of 13 Turkish firms were found to be involved in the supply chain, the most in any one country. That was followed by India with seven.

By Dasha Afanasieva

ANKARA (Reuters) – Companies from 20 countries are involved in the supply chain of components that end up in Islamic State explosives, a study found on Thursday, suggesting governments and firms need to do more to track the flow of cables, chemicals and other equipment.

The European Union-mandated study showed that 51 companies from countries including Turkey, Brazil, and the United States produced, sold or received the more than 700 components used by Islamic State to build improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

IEDs are now being produced on a “quasi-industrial scale” by the militant group, which uses both industrial components that are regulated and widely available equipment such as fertilizer chemicals and mobile phones, according to Conflict Armament Research (CAR), which undertook the 20-month study.

Islamic State controls large swathes of Iraq and Syria. NATO member Turkey shares borders with both countries and has stepped up security to prevent the flow of weapons and insurgents to the hardline Sunni group.

A total of 13 Turkish firms were found to be involved in the supply chain, the most in any one country. That was followed by India with seven.

“These findings support growing international awareness that IS forces in Iraq and Syria are very much self-sustaining — acquiring weapons and strategic goods, such as IED components, locally and with ease,” said James Bevan, CAR’s executive director.

The sale of these cheap and readily available parts, some of which are not subject to government export licenses, is far less scrutinized and regulated than the transfer of weapons.

The study found that Islamic State is able to acquire some components in as a little as a month after their lawful supply to firms in the region, suggestion a lack of oversight in the supply chain.

“Companies having effective accounting systems to establish where the goods went after them would act as a deterrent,” Bevan said.

‘REFUSED TO COOPERATE’

Bevan said the Turkish government refused to cooperate with CAR’s investigation so the group was not able to determine the efficacy of Ankara’s regulations regarding the tracking of components.

Turkish government officials did not reply to requests for comment.

CAR gained access to the components through partners including the Washington-backed Kurdish YPG in Syria, the Iraqi Federal Police, the Kurdistan Region Security Council and forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

The components were recovered during major battles around the Iraqi towns of al Rabia, Kirkuk, Mosul, and Tikrit and the Syrian town of Kobani.

The report’s authors said they attempted to contact the companies linked to the components, adding the firms did not respond or were not able to account for where the goods went after they left their custody.

Seven Indian companies manufactured most of the detonators, detonating cord, and safety fuses documented by CAR. Those were all legally exported under government-issued licenses from India to entities in Lebanon and Turkey, CAR found.

Companies from Brazil, Romania, Russia, the Netherlands, China, Switzerland, Austria and Czech Republic were also involved, the report found.

(Additional reporting by Orhan Coskun; Editing by David Dolan)

Next Story

ISIS Announces New India and Pakistan Provinces

The "Islamic State Pakistan Province," in communiques issued via its global propaganda mouthpiece Amaq News Agency, took credit for killing a Pakistani police officer

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ISIS, New India, Pakistan, Provinces
FILE- An Islamic State flag is captured in this photo illustration. VOA

The Islamic State group says it has established a “province” in Pakistan, days after the terrorist organization used the name “Hind Province” for an attack it claimed in the India-ruled portion of the disputed Kashmir region.

Both of the divisions formerly fell under the “Khorasan Province” or ISKP — the name the Middle East-based terrorist group uses for its regional operations launched in early 2015 from bases in the border region of Afghanistan — according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist threats.

The “Islamic State Pakistan Province,” in communiques issued via its global propaganda mouthpiece Amaq News Agency, took credit for killing a Pakistani police officer this week in Mastung, and it reported shooting at a gathering of militants linked to the outlawed Pakistani Taliban militant group in Quetta.

Both the districts are located in violence-hit Baluchistan province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran. Several separatist Baluch groups and sectarian organizations also are active in the province.

ISIS, New India, Pakistan, Provinces
FILE – Rescue workers and army soldiers gather at the site of a blast at a vegetable market in Quetta, Pakistan, April 12, 2019. VOA

There was no immediate reaction available from the Pakistani government.

Islamabad maintains there is no “organized” presence of IS in the country. Pakistani military officials say an ongoing nationwide military-led “intelligence-based operation” is primarily aimed at denying space in Pakistan to extremists linked to any terrorist groups.

The group released no details about the boundaries of the territory it is now claiming. In previous Islamic State propaganda, all of Afghanistan and most of Pakistan, parts of modern Iran and Central Asia make up the so-called Khorasan Province. IS also has spoken about creating its own chapter for the Indian subcontinent.

Marketplace expolsion

IS also took responsibility for last month’s suicide blast in a marketplace in Quetta city that killed 20 people and left nearly 50 injured. The targets of the attack were members of the ethnic Hazara Shiite Muslim community.

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On Friday, IS declared in a statement via Amaq the creation of “Hind Province,” while taking responsibility for clashes with Indian forces in Amshipora in the Shopian district of Kashmir.

IS has increased attacks lately in the region, including taking credit for the group’s Easter Sunday first-ever bombings in Sri Lanka that killed more than 250 people.

Observers say altering its provincial structure and fragmenting the “Khorasan Province” by IS could be aimed at bolstering its credentials after losing its “caliphate” in Syria and Iran, where the terrorists at one point used to control thousands of miles of territory.

“As ISIS [one of several acronyms used for IS] seeks to build and restructure foundations of insurgencies across the globe after its losses in Iraq and Syria, it is attempting to recruit also from Pakistan, a country with an existing jihadi militant population,” tweeted Rita Katz, the director of the SITE Intelligence Group.

ISIS, New India, Pakistan, Provinces
the terrorist organization used the name “Hind Province” for an attack it claimed in the India-ruled portion of the disputed Kashmir region. Wikimedia Commons

The suspected rebranding of ISKP comes as the United Nations earlier this week designated the “Khorasan Province” as a global terrorist, noting the group was formed in January 2015 by former members of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) who pledged allegiance to Abu Baker al-Baghdadi, leader of the ISIS/ISIL.

The United States has already blacklisted ISKP as a foreign terrorist organization, and American troops are conducting regular airstrikes against the group’s bases in Afghanistan with the help of local forces, killing thousands of militants.

Analysts say American counterterrorism airstrikes and clashes with the Afghan Taliban have prevented ISKP from expanding its regional influence and the rebranding strategy could have stemmed from those challenges.

“Khorasan chapter has been struggling to establish a footprint in Afghanistan and the region in general, and they may be following al-Qaida’s strategy to create regional affiliates,” says Muhammad Amir Rana, who heads Islamabad-based Pakistan Institute for Peace and Studies (PIPS). (VOA)