Shabwa elite forces Commander Mohammed al-Qamishi said on Thursday that Qaeda operations targeting his forces are the toughest challenge faced in the Yemeni province. The leader also pointed out that most of these attacks have been thwarted.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Qamishi explained that the war against terrorism comes in two—“first confrontations on battlegrounds, and secondly on media platforms.”
He added that what challenged his forces was Qaeda militiamen resorting to unconventional means to spread terror in hopes of frustrating security measures and efforts, anchoring themselves in the region with mines and propaganda.
Qamishi also pointed fingers towards countries and media platforms that back terrorism – whether directly or indirectly – for jeopardizing regional security and stability.
“Their attempts have failed, despite the massive media campaign launched,” said Qamishi.
Qamishi also pointed to the terrorist organization's attempts to garner public sympathy among village and small-city dwellers.
Qaeda propagandists have “falsely promoted structural work in Shabwa through offering alleged service projects, politicized humanitarian assistance and Qaeda-instilled security".
The terror group hopes to gain support as it paints itself the false image of guardian of society and protector of locals.
Qamishi also highlighted the main driver for young people to join Qaeda enlisting is the staggering rates of unemployment, poverty, and falling into the terror group’s tempting propaganda.
Qaeda promotes itself as the sought out salvation to care for communities left behind.
"This is the main reason behind attracting youth is poverty, unemployment and absence of job opportunities," said Qamishi.
The commander also threw suspicion on assistance that arrives to Shabwa directorates on behalf of dubious charities controlled, through which people receive aid in the name of al-Qaeda.
"Terrorist organizations seek various means to gain citizen acceptance and compromise their position through publishing self-tailored religious lectures as well,"Qamishi added.
"Their truth shows the opposite of what they claim," he condemned the campaign.
Qamishi considered the battle to purge Azzan of Qaeda presence as the most demanding battles fought by his forces.
He attributed this to intense "military tasks, raids and pursuits which resulted in the arrest of a number Qaeda agents, soldiers and spies, including warlords and intelligence elements."
He stressed that his forces continue their military campaigns to hunt down terror pockets and cells "and will strike with an iron fist all those who begrudge or dare encroach on security and stability in the Shabwa province."