Sri Lanka's focus on LTTE affects its attention to ISIS: US report
US said Sri Lanka maintained a strong military presence in post-conflict areas and continued to voice concern about re-emergence of LTTE sympathisers.
Colombo: Sri Lankan security services' focus on a possible LTTE resurgence has affected the government's attention to emerging terror threats like its nationals joining ISIS, according to a US report on global terrorism.
The US State Department's terrorism report for 2015, released yesterday, also said that although the Sri Lankan government maintained a comprehensive counter-terrorism stance, counter-terrorism cooperation and training with the US last year was limited.
The report said the Sri Lankan government maintained a strong military presence in post-conflict areas and continued to voice concern about the possible re-emergence of pro-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) sympathisers.
However, the Maithripala Sirisena government, which came to power last year, has emphasised its commitment to seek political reconciliation with the Tamil community, including through talks with the Tamil diaspora, the report said.
"Sri Lankan?security establishment's focus on a possible LTTE resurgence affected the government's attention to emerging threats, such as reports of Sri Lankan foreign terrorist fighters joining the ISIL," it said.
The report said that in July, Sri Lanka saw the first confirmation that Sri Lankans had joined ISIS when social media announced the death of Sharfaz Shuraih Muhsin, an ISIS fighter from the country, after he was killed in coalition airstrikes in Syria.
Thauqeer Ahmed Thajudeen Muhsin's brother-in-law and fellow Sri Lankan national was later identified as a member of IS in Syria.
Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi had said that although there were reports of Sri Lankans joining ISIS, there was no concrete evidence to suggest the group was operating in Sri Lanka.
On the financing of terrorism, the report said although Sri Lanka is neither an important regional financial centre nor a preferred centre for money laundering, the country remained vulnerable to money laundering and terrorism finance.