RealNews

Terror Group May Have Been Born Out of Afghan Jihad

From the moment Jemaah Islamiah leapt into the spotlight last October with its attack on two Bali nightclubs, the predominant view has been that the terrorist group was formed by Indonesian radicals chased into exile in Malaysia by former president Suharto. But a report released by a leading expert yesterday finds the Islamic group may have its genesis in a tight-knit band of Indonesians that battled for jihad in Afghanistan. It may even be tied to a single battle in 1987 in which JI leaders fought alongside Osama bin Laden. Moreover, JI has evolved into an “extended family” where members marry each other’s relatives and leaders play an active role in picking subordinates’ spouses. The report is by Sidney Jones, an American analyst who heads the Brussels-based International Crisis Group’s Jakarta office and has built a reputation for rare access to people close to JI. She labels the group “active and dangerous” despite recent victories by police. Full Story

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