Authorities in several Southeast Asian countries are on high alert, fearing that the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan and a deadly Islamic State attack at Kabul airport have emboldened terrorist groups.
In Indonesia, the Densus 88 counterterrorism unit of the national police started monitoring social media and other sources for Taliban sympathizers.
Boy Rafli Amar, the head of Indonesia’s National Counterterrorism Agency, said that groups sympathize with the Taliban.
“There are groups in this country who sympathize with the Taliban,” he said.
Meanwhile, in response to the Kabul attack, Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said his country is always looking for homegrown extremist groups.
“Taliban or no Taliban, we have always considered local extremism as a big concern,” Lorenzana told the Philippine News Agency.
“Afghanistan is not the only country that could provide encouragement or inspiration to local terrorists,” he added.
According to Lorenzana, the Philippines has entered into agreements with its immediate Southeast Asian neighbors to secure its southern borders and share terrorist movements.
“We have agreements with Indonesia and Malaysia regarding securing our borders proximate to each other and to share information on terrorist movements with each other,” he said.
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