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After Fall of Afghanistan, Indonesia on Guard for al-Qaeda-linked Activity, Arrests Key Leader

Published: September 14, 2021
Supporters of the recently arrested Jemaah Islamiyah leader Abu Rusdan chant slogans inside a courtroom in 2004. (Image: AFP/AFP via Getty Images)

According to Indonesia’s National Intelligence Agency spokesman Wawan Hari Purwanto, following the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, Indonesian officials have stepped up their counter-terrorism efforts “particularly toward terrorist groups that have links to the Taliban’s ideology and networks.”

A suspect once jailed for harboring the perpetrator of the Bali bombings, Abu Rusdan, was captured late Friday near the capital of Jakarta as part of a broader nationwide sweep. He is a convicted militant and past as well as current leader of an al-Qaeda-linked group. 

According to Ahmad Ramadhan, who is with the Jakarta police force, Rusdan was taken into custody along with three other suspects believed to be members of the Jemaah Islamiyah.

Working across 11 different provinces, Indonesia’s police counterterrorism unit, Densus 88, has captured 53 alleged members of the Jemaah over the past few weeks.

The Jemaah is a terrorist organization, according to U.S. designation, and has been behind many attacks in the Philippines and Indonesia over the past twenty years or more. The group has been banned in Indonesia since 2008.