By March, 2015, the United States had flown 12,000 strike sorties against the ISIS. The mission was to drop bombs and fire missiles at sensitive ISIS locations, paralyzing their infrastructure and weapons cache. Astonishingly, only one out of four, 25%, actually dropped bombs. The rest returned without any action.
America is endangering the lives of its fighter pilots by sending them on missions without any clear cut orders. Moreover, if the US wants to be effective in its fight against terrorism, it has to fight it out in the middle, on the ground.
The strike force’s hands are tied. The nature of the fight has taken a different turn in the recent past. The ISIS forces, instead of fighting like an army, in group formations, have now begun to deploy covert means. They are blending in with the population, making it extremely difficult for the fighter pilots to drop bombs. The civilian casualty would be too high. The rules of engagement are restrictive, and therefore ineffective.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi-led Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is attempting to carve out a caliphate in the Middle East, and they have been unstoppable till date. Now, their tentacles are looking to establish its roots in India.
The ISIS is not made up of a bunch of street fighters. They are highly organized, sophisticated, educated and extremely motivated. They have more than enough money to fund their jihad, and their numbers are swelling by the day. The whole world recognises that no country is safe from ISIS’ influence. It’s a concern India needs to share more pro-actively now.
I am a Delhi girl and up until a few months ago, believed I was safe from ISIS. This is the capital, the flagship city of India. How can a handful of terrorists breach our city? I am more circumspect in my opinion now. I am a little scared, too.
Suddenly, there is hurried movement, a flutter in the corridors of power. The Indian Government is in a huddle and it appears we have finally woken up to the clear and present danger.
The Home Ministry is formalising a strategy to neutralise extremist ideologies propagated by ISIS. The Islamic fundamentalists have so far successfully converted hundreds of thousands around the world, poisoning their minds with wrongful messages in the name of Allah! The elders of the community need to play a much bigger role. They need to keep a close watch on the mannerisms and behaviour patterns of their adult children.
We need to reinforce and strengthen the police force through special training programmes. We need to analyse and identify the numerous social media platforms that are reportedly run by terrorists. In Telangana, 17 youths have been prevented from travelling to Syria and, recently, four from Maharashtra were also stopped from travelling to the Middle-East.
Special effort must be made towards gaining the confidence and trust of the Muslim community.
There is threat from other quarters, too.
Al Qaeda chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, announced the creation of a branch of his terror network for the Indian subcontinent. Several Indian men from Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have also gone to Syria and Iraq to fight with ISIS. This is a disturbing trend, one that needs to be dealt head on, without any further delay.
The problem has already arrived at our door. India has already identified 25 potential Indians with direct or indirect link to the terrorist outfit.