Nepal has become a major playground for foreign terrorists, especially for the Indian Mujahedeen (IM), a terrorist group banned in India since June 2010, the latest US State Department “Country Report on Terrorism 2018” has stated.
“IM has also expanded its area of operations into Nepal, which is now the biggest hub for IM operatives”, the US report mentions.
Concerned agencies in Nepal should consider the report as a source of information and determine the severity of such threats, Nepal daily The Kathmandu Post quoted security analysts as saying on Friday in their responses to the US report.
Recent glaring lapses in security at Nepal’s Tribhuvan International Airport suggest that the country has emerged as a “staging point” for foreign terrorists again.
Stating that the airport security controls in Nepal are weak and inadequate, the US Country Report on Terrorism 2018 has pointed out: “Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport, Nepal’s only international airport, does not pre-screen passengers, and landing data are not entered into any database. Physical security checks of passengers are rudimentary. There is no travel document security and the airport lacks ultraviolet lights to examine documents”.
“There is no doubt that a lot needs to be done to strengthen our security at the international airport and the open border. It is the duty of our security forces to verify it”, retired Nepal Army Major General Binoj Basnyat told the daily.
“Not just the US, even India has been raising valid security issues at our international airport. Though the issue has been raised time and often, successive governments have failed to fix them”, Geja Sharma Wagle, a security analyst, added.
The Nepalese government, however, does not agree entirely with the US report, saying that security is not as bad at the airport as is being presented.
The report observes that “due to Nepal’s open border with India and insufficient security protocols at the country’s sole international airport in Kathmandu, Nepal has and could continue to be used as a transit or staging point for international terrorists”.
The US State Department report states that in 2018, most terrorist incidents around the world were concentrated in three regions: the Middle East, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
These three regions experienced about 85 percent of all terrorist incidents. The 10 countries with the greatest number of terrorist incidents in 2018 contributed 75 percent of the overall number, the US report concludes.