Counter Terrorist Trends and Analyses
Building a Global Network for Security
The Counter Terrorist Trends and Analyses (CTTA) carries articles with in-depth analysis of topical issues on terrorism and counter-terrorism, broadly structured around a common theme. CTTA brings perspectives from counter-terrorism researchers and practitioners with a view to produce policy relevant analysis. Launched in 2009, Counter Terrorist Trends and Analyses is the journal of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. The CTTA has a circulation of more than 11,000 subscribers.
Articles in this Latest Issue
Volume 13, Issue 04 (September 2021): Taliban’s Return in Afghanistan – A Boon For Transnational Terrorism?
The Taliban’s dramatic return to power in Afghanistan in the wake of the US’ military withdrawal, has sparked concerns of a global resurgence of transnational terrorism and extremism. Pro-Al Qaeda jihadist networks around the world, many with historical ties to the Taliban, have celebrated the latter’s return. As the Taliban solidifies its control, the prospect of Afghanistan reemerging as a safe haven for transnational jihadist groups, to regroup and plan terrorist attacks around the world, including in Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East, looms large.
Expectedly, jihadist groups have responded in contrasting ways to the Taliban’s return. Al-Qaeda and its affiliates worldwide have framed the Taliban’s victory as their own and feel emboldened. The Taliban’s win reinforces their belief in the jihadist doctrine of strategic patience towards the end goal of establishing a global Muslim caliphate. In contrast, the developments represent a setback for the Islamic State (IS) and its affiliates, which are trying to portray the Taliban as “nationalists” and “compromised” jihadists.
At the same time, in today’s fractured, diffused, localised and low intensity threat environment, the modus operandi of jihadist groups has shifted from obsessing with terror spectaculars to lone-actor attacks, in part due to reduced operational capabilities. As jihadists’ ideological narratives, operational tactics, and strategic focus have evolved, global, regional and local responses should also adjust accordingly. With concerns around far-right extremism in the West, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and great power competition assuming greater salience, the agenda of the jihadist extremists will also interact with these emerging threats in novel ways, producing new complexities and complications.
Against this backdrop, the current issue features five articles focusing on the global threat landscape and its evolution, two decades on from the September 2001 attacks. The first article by Raffaello Pantucci and Abdul Basit takes stock of the global threat picture on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, amidst the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan. The authors note that while the Taliban’s victory is also a symbolic win for Al-Qaeda’s brand of jihadism, the present threat landscape is qualitatively different from 2001. Hence, while a morale booster for Al-Qaeda’s worldwide affiliates, it is unlikely to materialise in September 2001-like attacks. Both Al-Qaeda and the IS lack the operational capability to execute large-scale coordinated attacks against the West. Their focus is also more on regional conflicts in different parts of Asia and Africa. The authors map the jihadist landscapes of South, Southeast and Central Asia and the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America.
In the second article, Chayanika Saxena outlines India’s delicate position after the ouster of the Afghan government backed by the West and New Delhi. The US and India have long-held differences over their respective Afghan policies, especially the US’ partnership with Pakistan in its global war on terror, and the role Islamabad has played in shaping developments in Afghanistan. According to the author, the recent US withdrawal has dealt a significant blow to Indian geostrategic and security interests, which will compel Delhi to quickly adapt its policies to the new regional dynamics and shifting alliances to secure Indian interests, including in the counterterrorism sphere. While cordial relations with the Taliban regime are extremely unlikely, India might have to stave off its long-standing reluctance to engage directly with the group, to better safeguard Indian interests.
In the third article, Sitara Noor outlines the likely implications of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s return to power from Pakistan’s perspective. The author argues that Pakistan expects the Taliban to fulfil their commitments of granting rights to Afghan women and other political and ethnic minorities, alongside addressing the international community’s counter-terrorism concerns. She cautions that the Taliban’s failures to fulfil these demands would destabilise Afghanistan, negatively impacting Pakistan. She outlines an uptick of terrorism, the influx of refugees and the intensification of regional proxy wars, as the potential outcomes of an unstable Afghanistan for Pakistan.
In the fourth article, Iftekharul Bashar looks at the security implications of the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan for Bangladesh. Much like the rest of South Asia, Bangladesh has a history of Islamist extremism and terrorism, and is likely to face an uptick in terrorist activity. Developments in Afghanistan will rejuvenate terrorist groups in Bangladesh that share a common ideology with the Taliban, and are seeking to establish ties with the new regime. The author argues there could be increased attempts by Bangladeshi militants to travel to Afghanistan for combat or operational training, or indirectly benefit from the lawless situation in the latter. As such, proactive monitoring, effective border security, and regional and international collaboration will be required to manage the evolving threat.
Finally, Suraj Ganesan discusses the Islamic State (IS)’s strategy in Afghanistan and the region after the Taliban takeover. His article taps into information in encrypted social media platforms such as Telegram, to gain insights into the IS’ anti-Taliban propaganda and related activities. According to the author, IS frames the Taliban’s openness to Afghan nationalism, acceptance of some minorities and its formal engagements with other states, as policies which render its Islamist credentials questionable. IS’ push via its propaganda efforts, which are aimed at keeping sectarian and conflict tensions running, and operational advances, as it seeks to maintain a presence in the territory, could spur the Taliban to engage in more violence as a consequence.
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- Noorita Mohd Noor Senior Editorial Advisor
- Amresh Gunasingham Editor
- Abdul Basit Associate Editor
- Kalicharan Veera Singam Assistant Editor
- Okkie Tanupradja Design and Layout
- Dr Jolene Jerard Adjunct Senior Fellow, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
- Dr Rohan Gunaratna Professor of Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
- Dr Kumar Ramakrishna Associate Dean (Policy Studies), Head of International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research & Research Adviser to National Security Studies Programme, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
- Dr John Harrison Associate Editor Journal of Transportation Security
- Dr Marcin Styszynski, Assistant Professor, Adam Mickiewicz University, Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies
- Dr Fernando Reinares Director, Program on Global Terrorism, Elcano Royal Institute
Professor of Security Studies, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain
- Dr Stephen Sloan Professor Emeritus, The University of Oklahoma Lawrence J. Chastang, Distinguished Professor of Terrorism Studies, The University of Central Florida
- Dr Hamoon Khelghat-Doost, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Uskudar University
Call for Contributions
Counter Terrorist Trends and Analyses (CTTA) welcomes contributions from researchers and practitioners in political violence and terrorism, security and other related fields.
Issue Calendar 2021
The Counter Terrorist Trends and Analyses (CTTA) series for 2021 welcomes topical, timely and relevant policy-oriented articles that allow readers to gain an in-depth understanding of the overall global and regional threat landscape. This could include strategic counter-terrorism issues, regionally focused articles as well as specialised topics.
Themes of Interest:
- Rise of right-wing extremist movements in North America, Europe, Australia and other regions.
- Analysis and policy responses to ethno-nationalist, separatist and non-Islamist extremist/terrorist organisations.
- Developing areas including cyber terrorism, cyber security, innovative policing techniques and evolving counter-terrorism responses.
CTTA Submission Guidelines/ Editorial Style and Policy
Please email your submissions to [email protected].
Submission deadlines: The CTTA is published quarterly; submissions are accepted each month for consideration.
Preferred file format: MS Word document. Please do not submit in PDF format.
Originality: The author should only submit her or his original work. The author should not submit concurrent manuscripts (or manuscripts essentially describing the same subject matter) to multiple journals. The author must first seek editorial permission, if he or she would like to submit an article which has previously been published elsewhere.
Editors are entitled to request the author to provide the raw data for her or his research for convenience of editorial review.
Manuscript title: The title should be limited to 15 words or less; the title should be a brief phrase describing the contents of the paper.
Abstract: The abstract should summarise the manuscript content in 70-100 words. The abstract should be informative and self-explanatory, and should state the argument of the article and its major conclusions. Standard nomenclature should be used, and if abbreviations are used they must be defined at their first mention.
Word length: We publish articles within three different categories with varied word lengths. This includes, (i) commentaries: between 1,000 to 1,500 words, (ii) regular articles: between 2,000 to 3,000 words, and (iii) in-depth feature articles: between 4,000 to 5,000 words.
Structure: Please divide your article into subtopics with subheadings.
Style: British spelling and language style are used for the CTTA (as with other publications of ICPVTR and RSIS).
References and citations: Chicago Manual of Style (Footnoting system) is used.
If the author has used work, ideas and/or words of others, appropriate citations are required within the text of the article. Author should provide a list of references to indicate all sources that have supported the research at the end of the article.
Author information: Please include complete names and affiliation/ and or experience of author(s) in a few lines at the end of the article; contact email address of author(s) can be included.
The author should give due acknowledgement to all individuals who have made contributions to the research, and those who have contributed significantly to the research should be listed as co-authors. The author should ensure that all co-authors have affirmed the final version of the paper and have agreed on its final publication.
Copyright: The copyright of a published article will remain with the author(s); the author(s) agree to require that the Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis (CTTA) journal be given credit as the original publisher in any republication of the article authorised by the author(s). Such credit shall include a proper citation to the article’s publication in the CTTA, including the author(s), the journal, the volume and issue numbers, the year of the article’s publication in the journal and the internet address for the issue.
The Editorial Team reserves the right to make changes to the content of submissions for publication and/or reject a submission at its discretion.
Please contact us at [email protected] if you have any queries pertaining to the CTTA submission guidelines or editorial style and policy.
- Volume 12 Issue 05 (September 2020)
- Volume 12 Issue 04 (June 2020)
- Volume 12 Issue 03 (April 2020)
- Volume 12 Issue 02 (March 2020)
- Volume 12 Issue 01 (January 2020)
- Volume 11 Issue 07 (September 2019)
- Volume 11 Issue 06 (June 2019)
- Volume 11 Issue 05 (May 2019)
- Volume 11 Issue 04 (April 2019)
- Volume 11 Issue 03 (March 2019)
- Volume 11 Issue 02 (February 2019)
- Volume 11 Issue 01 (January 2019)
- Volume 10, Issue 11 (November 2018)
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- Volume 10, Issue 08 (August 2018)
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- Volume 4, Issue 11 (November 2012)
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- Volume 4, Issue 1 (January 2012)
Last updated on 13/09/2021