Countering Terrorism: Azerbaijani Authorities Thwart Afghan Citizen’s Plot to Destabilise National Security

Afghan terrorist in Azerbaijan
A screenshot of the video which shows Fawzan Mosa Khan planning his terrorist attack in Baku (Credits: Azerbaijan State Security Service )

Geopolitical Report ISSN 2785-2598 Volume 32 Issue 4
Author: Giuliano Bifolchi

The Azerbaijani State Security Service recently detained an Afghan citizen who had been planning a terrorist attack within the country. This alarming development highlights the ongoing global threat of terrorism and the importance of maintaining public stability and security.

Key Findings

  • The arrest of the Afghan citizen in Azerbaijan has showed that the Caucasian republic might be at risk of violent attacks.
  • The security forces must exercise vigilance concerning individuals arriving from the AfPak region and the Middle East because of the increase in terrorist activities and propaganda within this macro area.
  • Claims that the Embassy of Israel was the intended target underscore the sensitivity of Tel Aviv’s diplomats and official institutions abroad, particularly given recent events in Jenin.

Information Background

The Afghan citizen in question, identified as Fawzan Mosa Khan, born in 1990, was found to be collaborating with others in a plot to destabilise public order in Azerbaijan.

The objective was to create panic among the population, influence decision-making processes by both state authorities and international organisations, and ultimately execute a terrorist act involving an explosion, fire, or similar events. This act aimed to cause fatalities, inflict harm on individuals’ health, lead to substantial material damages, and trigger other socially dangerous situations.

Through the investigation, it was discovered that Fawzan Mosa Khan entered Azerbaijan from a foreign country, specifically targeting Baku, the capital city, as the location for conducting these criminal acts. During his stay, he closely monitored the embassy building of a particular state, presumably to identify the exact coordinates of the embassy’s territory.

According to Israeli sources referring to a video published by the Azerbaijani State Security Service, the Afghan citizen was probably targeting the Embassy of Israel. Within the video footage, Fawzan Mosa Khan can be seen conversing with an Azerbaijani officer in Arabic, while elucidating a sort of a map he sketched on a notepad.

Fawzan Mosa Khan established connections with accomplices to engage them in the planned terrorist act. Furthermore, he sought financial support to acquire weapons and explosives, showing the seriousness and premeditation of his intentions.

Following his detention at the scene of the crime, the Main Investigation Department of the State Security Service initiated a criminal case against the Afghan citizen. The charges brought against him fall under Articles 28, 214.2.1, and 28, 214.2.3 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan, which pertain to the preparation and intent to commit terrorist acts using firearms and other weapons in collaboration with a group of individuals.

The court subsequently ruled in favour of his arrest as a precautionary measure and to ensure the preservation of public safety.

Risk Assessment

The recent arrest of an Afghan citizen in Azerbaijan highlights the persistent threat of terrorism faced by nations globally. This event should not be viewed as an isolated incident, as it aligns with previous security concerns within the country.

For instance, in February 2023, the Azerbaijani State Security Service arrested Salahov Mirjavad, an Azerbaijani national involved in facilitating support of individuals associated with the Islamic State.

Despite, according to the Country Reports on Terrorism 2020, the U.S. Department of State designated Azerbaijan a country free terrorism, recent developments have indicated that the country is not immune to the spread of jihadist propaganda and terrorist activities.

While Azerbaijan has made efforts to combat terrorism, the recent events emphasise the need for continuous vigilance and proactive measures to counter such threats.

If the intended target of Fawzan Mosa Khan’s planned terrorist attack was the Embassy of Israel, it could be viewed as a potential consequence of recent events in Jenin. The Israel Defence Forces’ operations in Jenin may have inflamed tensions and triggered responses from extremist elements.

Further investigation is crucial to determine with whom Fawzan Mosa Khan was in contact and coordinating the attack. The fact that Fawzan Mosa Khan possesses knowledge of the Arabic language raises concerns about possible links to terrorist groups in the Middle East.

There is an indication of a potential network that could enable the proliferation of extremist ideologies and the coordination of attacks. Authorities must thoroughly assess these connections to understand the extent of the threat and take measures to mitigate risks.

The arrest shed also the light on the current situation of Afghanistan. Indeed, after the U.S. troops’ withdrawal from the country, the Taliban took power in August 2021. Although they declared their commitment to fight terrorist groups in the Afghan territory, since their rise to power, several jihadist organisations have increased their activities and propaganda, especially the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP).

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