Extremists exploiting local grievances: US official
America’s undersecretary for civilian security, democracy and human rights said extremists in Pakistan’s tribal badlands also blamed weak and unpopular governments for creating feelings that encouraged terrorism.
Sarah Sewall, in a presentation on the long-term US strategy for combating terrorism, said over the past 13 years violent extremist movements had proliferated around the globe.
Speaking at the School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, she observed: “Increasingly, they have sprung from within conflicts worldwide.”
Sewall noted weak, illegitimate, and repressive governments inadvertently created opportunities for terrorists to capitalise on popular resentment.
In a repressive milieu, the official argued, extremists made common cause with local insurgents and criminal networks and operated in poorly governed territory.
She cited examples of these dynamics in the Pak-Afghan region, where the TTP has long traded on local grievances to keep itself alive and perpetuate its activities.
Al Qaeda network fighters blended with militants from the Council of Islamic Courts in Africa to create Al Shabab.
In Libya, Ansar al-Sharia exploited post-Qadhafi factional violence. The Islamic State group dramatically expanded its reach by exploiting Sunni political disenfranchisement in Iraq.
She continued: “Violent extremist groups have been expanding their control and resonance in South Asia, the Sahel, the Maghreb, Nigeria, Somalia, and in the Arabian Peninsula.”
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