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Terrorism: Why Nigeria should be on ‘red alert’ as Taliban grabs power in Afghanistan

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After the takeover of Afghanistan by an Islamic militant group, the Taliban, security experts have advised the Nigerian government to tighten its belt and be on a red alert.

On August 15, the Taliban took over the capital city of Afghanistan, Kabul, where it once controlled some 20 years ago.

The Afghanistan government led by Ashraf Ghani collapsed when the United States (US) government withdrew its military forces from the country after several years of presence.

According to the latest Global Terrorism Index (GTI) ranking, Afghanistan is the most terrorised country globally.

Afghanistan is closely followed by Iraq and Nigeria, both of which have been facing incessant killings attributed to Islamist terrorist groups.

There are indications that the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban group poses security implications for Nigeria and other West African countries that are battling with terrorism activities poised by Islamic terrorist groups.

For more than a decade, Nigeria and other West African countries have been caught in the fight against Boko Haram, a terrorist group that opposes western education and ideologies.

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A faction of Boko Haram, the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP), linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), has also carried out several attacks in West Africa.

During an interview with The ICIR on Wednesday, a Security Expert, Jackson Lekan Ojo said there were many reasons for Nigeria to be worried because its security situation had not gotten out of hand when the Taliban were under the control of the US.

He said following the takeover; the Boko Haram and ISWAP operating in Nigeria have now been ‘tactically empowered’.

“It is a case of when you are swimming in a pool of about three feet, and you are still struggling with it, and now that pool has been flooded to almost 12 feet.

“Now that they have taken over properly, it means that they have been fully empowered, and each of their branches or anybody that has sympathy for them across the globe will be highly empowered now,” Ojo said.

He said that many people in the Middle East were ‘technically supporting’ Taliban due to Islamic religion.

A security expert, Ben Okezie, said the Taliban has terrorism affiliations and could be linked to such organisations in Nigeria.

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“They are in one way or the other linked with ISIS, and ISIS is linked with ISWAP and ISWAP is linked with Boko Haram, which is a network. Al-Qaeda is also there.

“Terrorist organisations have a network; they know and relate with each other,” Okezie said.

He said the mission of the terrorist organisations was to penetrate their area of operation and take over power from the government, which could pose a major concern for Nigeria also.

The Chief Executive Officer of Agent-X Security Timothy Avele said the Taliban does not have many connections with terrorists’ groups in Nigeria and West Africa more than sharing and fighting for a similar ideology of enforcing pure Islamic rule.

However, he warned that the Taliban takeover poses lots of implications for Nigeria and West Africa.

“Foremost is the likely increase of attacks and rise in recruitment of volunteer fundamentalists as fighters. The idea is that if the Taliban can do it, then we can do it,” Avele said.

He also said that another implication was that there would likely be more terrorists support in terms of funding and logistics from the locals, highly placed politicians and foreign interests.

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“Despite that, I do not see any take over of the federal government by the terrorist groups in the foreseeable future. But can’t rule out Bornu State take over, if the Nigerian government is not careful because that has been their main target,” Avele further said.

What Nigerian government should do

The security experts said the Nigerian government must take immediate actions to ensure that it is not affected by the Taliban situation.

Ojo urged the government to rise and take security actions to avoid the implications of the Afghanistan takeover.

“Nigeria should be very careful now and tighten our security belts because we are almost into another decisive crisis now because this people (Boko Haram/ISWAP) have been tactically empowered,” Saka noted.

He also advised that the FG should develop the moral, political willpower and readiness to fight insurgency and its affiliates decisively.

Avele charged the Buhari administration not to underestimate the power of the terrorist groups nor treat them with ‘kid gloves.

“The government must be careful how it relates with some foreign governments; it’s a known fact that Russia, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia etc, provided some form of support and logistics to the Taliban, and so are others providing for Boko Haram and ISWAP,” Avele said

The security experts also said the government must strengthen the intelligence gathering and analytical capabilities of the military and law-enforcement agencies, especially the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via [email protected], on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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