Indonesia, Australia vow to ‘choke off’ terror funding
Indonesia and Australia on Thursday pledged to “choke off” funding to terrorist groups planning attacks, as fears grow in both countries that Islamic State group supporters may be hatching new plots.
There have been a series of IS-inspired assaults and foiled plans in the neighbouring countries in recent years as the appeal of IS spawns a new generation of extremists in the region.
Indonesian and Australian ministers meeting in Jakarta pledged to halt the flows of illicit money used to fund attacks, while financial intelligence agencies from both countries signed an agreement to tackle the scourge.
“We know that one of the most effective ways to combat the surge of terrorism is to attack the funding and the movement of money,” Australian Attorney-General George Brandis told reporters after the talks.
Indonesian Chief Security Minister Wiranto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, said the discussions focused on “how we can choke off funding routes”.
Indonesian militants fighting with IS in the Middle East are suspected of sending money to finance plots in recent years, while radicalised Indonesian domestic workers in wealthier parts of Asia, such as Hong Kong, have also been accused of transferring funds to extremists back home.
There have also been indications that money to fund extremist activities has been flowing between Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, and Australia.
In 2015 Indonesia’s financial intelligence agency said it suspected that six billion rupiah ($450,000) linked to terrorism had been transferred from Australia to Indonesia.
The agreement announced by the intelligence agencies is a seven-year collaboration that includes sending Australian IT specialists to help the Indonesian side and workshops on counter-terrorism financing.