After Palma: Assessing the Islamic State's Position in Northern Mozambique

Austin Doctor

Nexus Report || August 25, 2022

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Executive Summary

  • ISIS-Mozambique is well positioned to execute a focused, violent, and disruptive guerrilla campaign in a bid to outlast the current coalition of Mozambican and regional forces. Government officials and local civilians should be prepared for an uptick in the group’s operational tempo.
  • Despite the group’s recent promotion to wilayat status, ISIS-Mozambique faces substantial constraints in the form of heightened counterinsurgency pressure and targeted operations against its regional support network. In the near term, the group will struggle to capture and hold territory on a pre-2022 level.
  • The core propellant of the insurgency in northern Mozambique remains local horizontal inequalities associated with the exploitation of resource wealth in the region and continued governmental abuse and neglect.
  • The jihadist global-local nexus offers needed insight into the nature and scope of the threat presented by the group today and in the near future. The group will communicate and coordinate with the Islamic State’s leadership, but its centers of gravity are deeply local. The majority of the group’s engagement with the ISIS transnational network will occur through other affiliates on the African continent.


Austin Doctor



About the Author

Austin Doctor is the director of counterterrorism research initiatives at the National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology, and Education Center (NCITE) and an assistant professor of political science at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He is also a fellow with the Modern War Institute at West Point and the National Strategic Research Institute. 

View his full bio here. He tweets @austincdoctor.