New York: A UN committee on counter-terrorism said that terrorists and violent extremists have started exploiting pandemic-related socio-cultural restrictions and are now employing virtual platforms for recruiting and radicalizing thus pointing to the new challenges that emerged during the prevailing pandemic period.
Notably, the report by the committee quotes the most recent report concerning Da'esh, Al-Qaida and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities and cautions all countries, especially those facing the threat of terrorism, reported The Geneva Daily.
The committee report quotes the most recent report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team concerning ISIL (Da'esh), Al-Qaida and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities suggests that "where pandemic-related restrictions have artificially and temporarily suppressed the threat of terrorism, their easing may result in an increase in terrorist violence".
The December 2021 report of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) titled 'The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on terrorism, counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism' is published by the UN Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee.
It says terrorist groups across ideological spectrums "are already seeking to exploit social alienation and grievances rising from pandemic-related measures and perceived State excesses by weaponizing those divisions".
As new pandemic-related social restrictions result in closures of educational institutions, reduced employment and entertainment opportunities, and curtailed community programmes, "there are concerns that resilience against violent extremism conducive to terrorism in fragile communities might be reduced, thereby making individuals more vulnerable to radicalization to violence in such settings".
"It suggests that the threat of terrorism is only temporarily suppressed due to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions and once the restrictions are eased up, it will, in fact, result in an increase in terrorist violence", said the report, as reported by The Geneva Daily.
Furthermore, the report notes that the coronavirus "pandemic has exacerbated many pre-existing issues and challenges that shape the terrorist threat landscape" and terrorists and violent extremists have sought to "exploit pandemic-related socio-cultural restrictions, including their efforts to recruit, radicalize, and organise via virtual platforms", reported The Geneva Daily.
The report suggests, "Existing policies and measures should therefore be adapted in order to ensure an adequate response to evolving challenges."
According to the report, "Entire regions have suffered severe setbacks, risking the reversal of socio-economic progress. These economic impacts have also increased humanitarian needs, while travel restrictions have simultaneously curtailed humanitarian access and outreach. These economic impacts have also necessitated the diversion of existing resources from counterterrorism training and other capacity-building measures in some States. Decreased funding risks a retrenchment in counter-terrorism measures and security assistance, creating further challenges for States most at risk from terrorism, which typically requires such assistance. Further, in fragile States already facing governance challenges, terrorist recruitment strategies based on economic factors may have an increasing impact."
The report also says that the unequal distribution has left millions still vulnerable to the virus.
"Vaccine nationalism, growing transnational and domestic vaccination divides (often fuelled by misinformation and conspiracy theories) have continued to drive local and regional outbreaks. The resulting inequities could be exploited by terrorists and violent extremist groups in the future.", it added.