July 22, 2017
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Outsourcing battle
ISIS is making inroads into South Asia and Afghanistan

Terror groups from West Asia and North African region are slowly making inroads into South Asia and Central Asian nations in a bid to consolidate their influence and get recruits to fight for their own brand of Islam after Arab fighters are showing diminishing strength.

Some four major terror groups from WANA region are now opening their centers in various countries including India in the South and central Asian region in a bid to bridge the gap between foot soldiers and commanders.

The recent statistics suggest that all the Arab soldiers who were once the foot soldiers in their early part of the fight in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Libya and Mali have become commanders or assuming different role for themselves, mainly cushy jobs.

For example, IS commanders in Syrian cities are leaving these small jobs of cleaning, weapons handling, building roads, watchers, cook, logistics to recruits from South Asian and Central Asians who often do it either due to religious obligation or for a good salary.

The salary incentives are not huge going by Arab standards but it does not ask any documents unlike recruitment and hiring companies from the Gulf region.

Here one can just get a job if he or she can convince the seniors about their loyalty to a particular organization and love for their commanders. The ideology is the last thing.

Now, the Arabs who were foot soldiers in Libya and Egypt in the early part of Arab Spring, almost 90 per cent of them have become senior commanders who will pass orders to lower ranks and other ranks for a job to be performed.

This led to massive problems in Iraq when Sunni terror outfits found it difficult to run their activities in the battlefield due to seniority complex which were harbored by all the sides fighting Iraqi forces in 2013.

Now, the terror outfits are turning to populated nations from where it will be easy to find foot soldiers who can readily agree to obey the orders from the seniors in the war zone.

According to one Pakistani estimate, terror groups from WANA region have spread up to Indonesia and Philippines in the east where as they have spread their tentacles in Russia and Mongolia.

In June, a group of Uzbek nationals who returned from Iraq and Syria after spending two years in street fight with Al Nusra had their story about how recruits are being lured into various terror outfits who are facing acute crisis in foot soldiers.

The Uighur nationals from restive Chinese province of Xinjiang have now outnumbered Central Asians in Iraq and Syria.

Perhaps a total of 2400 Uighurs are currently deployed in the battlefield of Iraq and Syria with ISIS and Al Nusra Front.

There are two transit fronts to enter into war zone in Iraq while some can enter through Jordan, others can try Turkey route. Yet, there are more than nine different routes to enter into war zones such as Yemen and Iran.

Most South Asians prefer Yemen route as it is easy for them to first go to GCC nations under the pretext of genuine jobs and thereafter use porous Yemen border where there is no border control one can easily sneak into Iraq and Syria.

Those who are not able to get a valid work vise to GCC, they can enter into Afghanistan from Pakistan and then use Iranian territory to sneak into Iraq.

From 2014-15, a total of 1900 recruits have travelled to Iraq and Syria and joined ISIS and Al Nusra from various parts of South Asian and Central Asian nations.

But experts feel the number could be more as one can see almost all small jobs of these terror groups in Iraq and Syria are being done by South Asians and Central Asians.