Violence imperils coronavirus response in conflict zones around the world
The Islamic State is calling on loyalists everywhere to capitalize on the chaos, according to its media channels. The Taliban is launching major attacks in Afghanistan while handing out masks, gloves and soap.
In conflict zones across the globe, the threat of airstrikes, ambushes and roadside bombs is blocking health-care workers from patients, medical experts say, and national security forces — newly tasked with enforcing strict lockdowns — are stretched thin.
“If you were a rebel leader right now, you’d probably find fewer troops against you,” said Roudabeh Kishi, research director at the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, which tracks international unrest.
Some armed groups, though, have taken steps toward peace in Colombia, Cameroon and the Philippines, signaling a desire to stop fighting as the contagion spreads.
Extremist media outlets, meanwhile, are framing the coronavirus as a “punishment from God,” said Emily Estelle, senior analyst at the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.
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[Source: Washington Post]