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Isis, al Qaeda intensify online propaganda; FATF flags concern

Isis and al Qaeda are present in Afghanistan that has been annexed by the Taliban following the collapse of its government in mid-August


The Isis and al Qaeda have increased online propaganda to incite unaffiliated individuals to launch attacks and to raise since last year and the risk of “self-financed, radicalised lone actor terrorists” is significant, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has warned.

The multilateral watchdog expressed “grave concern” over a series of terror attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq and regions of Africa and southern Asia, in a special statement issued at the conclusion of its plenary meeting on 21 October.

The plenary is the decision-making body of FATF, and delegates representing 205 members of the Global Network and observer organisations, including the International Monetary Fund and the UN, participated in the hybrid meeting.

“The threat of terrorism remains serious in many regions of the world,” the statement said, adding that the recent terror attacks, claimed either by Isis or Da’esh and its “affiliated groups or conducted by lone attackers inspired by them”, had killed or injured hundreds, mostly civilians.

“Since 2020, both Isis and al Qaeda have increased their online propaganda, either to incite unaffiliated individuals to launch attacks, or to raise funds. The risk of self-financed, radicalised lone actor terrorists remains significant,” the statement said.

FATF concluded that both groups have “increasingly turned to new payment technologies to raise, move and deploy funds”, and the use of virtual assets by terrorists remains a risk.

“In addition, the risk emanating from expansion of affiliates of Isis and al Qaeda has been increasing over the past years,” the watchdog said.

Both Isis and al Qaeda have a presence in Afghanistan, which was taken over by the Taliban following the collapse of the elected government in mid-August. In a separate statement also issued on 21 October, FATF had warned “about the current and evolving money laundering and terrorist financing risk environment” in Afghanistan.

The territorial defeat of Isis in 2019 had significantly impacted its ability to generate revenue, but the group is “still able to raise and receive funds, through legal and illegal sources, and maintains roughly $ 25-50 million in reserves”, FATF said.

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