Dhaka, September2 (NIA): The death of the second most important Islamic State leader, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, in an American air strike near the town of al-Bab in Northern Syria on Tuesday, may result in the weakening of the Islamic State’s representatives in Bangladesh, Dhaka Tribune says in a commentary.
How important was al-Adnani (real name: Taha Subhi Falaha) for Bangladeshi ISIS jihadis? An indication of that can be found in an infamous ISIS video featuring three Bangladeshi Jihadis in Raqqa, the ISIS capital.
In that video, which was recorded at an intersection of a shopping street just two blocks away from the ISIS headquarters, Bangladeshi ISIS fighter Abu Issa al-Bengali (real name: Tahmid Rahman Shafi) refers to al-Adnani as “our Sheikh.” According to Issa al –Bengali, the gruesome slaughter of foreign nationals and Bangladeshis at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka “was just a glimpse” of a global war envisioned by the Sheikh.
As al-Adnani was the the chief spokesman and propagandist of the group, he was often described as “the voice of ISIS.” However, as Rukmini Callimachi of The New York Times notes on Twitter, “[al-Adnani] was far more than the mouthpiece of IS. He was head of the Emni, the secret service of IS which plotted external terror attacks.”
There are indications that al-Adnani was indeed the principal patron or sponsor of ISIS operations in Bangladesh. This was first revealed by Callimachi as she interviewed Harry Sarfo, a former ISIS member now serving a prison sentence in Germany.
Sarfo told Callimachi that a regional division of the Emni was responsible for plotting and executing the “recent café attack in Dhaka, Bangladesh.”
It is also highly likely that Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury – the alleged mastermind of the Gulshan attack – was sent to Bangladesh by al-Adnani himself or one of his deputies overseeing the “Asian affairs division” of the Emni.
Chowdhury left Canada sometime in 2012 or 2013 and received training in Syria before being deployed as an ISIS coordinator in Bangladesh. He was recently killed by a special police unit in Narayanganj , Bangladesh.
These deaths – al-Adnani’s in al-Bab and Chowdhury’s in Narayanganj – will certainly have a crippling effect on ISIS operations in Bangladesh, Dhaka Tribune swears.
But Callimachi points out on Twitter: “I would caution people not to see this as a blow ISIS cannot recover from. The organization is built to survive deaths.”