ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Indonesia’s war on terror continues
Indonesia has killed or captured most of the militants responsible for the 2002 Bali bombings, but it now faces new threats from second-generation jihadists inspired by the 9/11 attacks.
Even before the strikes on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, Southeast Asian militants were using the tactics of terror in their own war to create an Islamic caliphate across much of the region.
Groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah, which was founded by Indonesian exiles in Malaysia in the early 1990s, were already blamed for several attacks including bombings against churches and the Indonesian stock market in 2000.
But it was the spectacular "success" of 9/11 and the subsequent US invasion of Afghanistan that galvanised them to join the war against what Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden called the "far enemy" - or Westerners.
The massive suicide bombings of tourist bars and restaurants on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on October 12, 2002, killed 202 people including 88 Australians.
But while jihadists celebrated, the blasts forced Indonesia, the United States and Australia to wake up to the terror threat in Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia and the southern Philippines.
US and Australian advisers began pouring into Indonesia to help the democratically elected government, still finding its feet after the fall of the Suharto dictatorship in 1998, to confront JI and its affiliates.
But despite a string of successes in the years that followed as top militants were neutralised one by one, Indonesian National Anti-Terror Agency chief Ansyaad Mbai said that if anything, the danger has increased.
"The problem of terrorism is motivated by radical ideology, so the movement doesn't automatically end with the capture and death of key figures," he said.
The Al-Qaeda-linked JI has "metamorphosized" into multiple new threats, he said.
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