The ASG is primarily a small, violent Muslim terrorist group operating in the southern Philippines. Some leaders allegedly fought in Afghanistan during the Soviet war and are students and proponents of radical Islamic teachings.

The ASG engages in kidnappings for ransom, bombings, beheadings, assassinations and extortion. The group’s stated goal is to promote an independent Islamic state in western Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago (areas in the southern Philippines heavily populated by Muslims) but it primarily has used terror for financial profit.

Recent bombings may herald a return to a more radical, politicized agenda, at least among certain factions. The group’s first large-scale action was a raid on the town of Ipil in Mindanao in April 1995. In April 2000, an ASG faction kidnapped 21 people, including 10 Western tourists, from a resort in Malaysia. Philippine authorities say that the ASG had a role in the bombing near a Philippine military base in Zamboanga in October 2002 that killed a U.S. servicemember.

Strength: Estimated to have 200 to 500 members.Location/area of operation: Founded in Basilan province and operates in the neighboring provinces of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in the Sulu Archipelago. Also operates on Mindanao and Jolo, and members occasionally travel to Manila. Expanded operational reach to Malaysia in 2000 when it abducted foreigners from a tourist resort.External aid: Largely self-financing through ransom and extortion; has received support from Islamic extremists in the Middle East and may receive support from regional terrorist groups.Jemaah Islamiyah organizationJI is responsible for numerous high-profile bombings, including the bombing of the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Aug. 5, 2003, and the Bali bombings on Oct. 12, 2002, that killed more than 200. Members have been implicated in the Sept. 9, 2004, attack outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. In December 2001, Singaporean authorities uncovered a plot to attack the U.S. and Israeli embassies and British and Australian diplomatic buildings in Singapore. In June 2003, authorities disrupted a plan to attack several Western embassies and tourist sites in Thailand.

JI also is responsible for the coordinated bombings of numerous Christian churches in Indonesia on Christmas Eve 2000 and was involved in the bombings of several targets in Manila on Dec. 31, 2000. The capture in August 2003 of Indonesian Riduan bin Isomoddin (aka Hambali), JI leader and al-Qaida Southeast Asia operations chief, damaged the JI, but the group maintains the ability to target Western interests in the region and recruit through a network of radical Islamic schools.

Strength: Exact numbers are unknown and estimates vary from the hundreds to the thousands, but Southeast Asian authorities continue to uncover and arrest JI elements.Location/area of operation: JI is believed to have cells spanning Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.External aid: Investigations indicate JI is fully capable of its own fundraising, though it also receives financial, ideological and logistical support from Middle Eastern and South Asian contacts, organizations, and other groups.Source: U.S. State Department

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