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Arrested for Kabul attack, Faroqi could prove IS-K links to Pakistan: Afghan vice president

Afghanistan's Vice President Amrullah Saleh said Aslam Faroqi might prove to be a "treasure of intelligence" given that he is a Pakistan national who operates from Peshawar.

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New Delhi: Afghanistan Vice President and former intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh Sunday said the capture of Aslam Faroqi, the Islamic State (IS) leader behind the recent gurudwara attack in Kabul, will prove to be a “treasure of intelligence” on Pakistan.

“I congratulate @NDSAfghanistan & my brother Director Zia Seraj for capturing ISIS-K leader Aslam Faroqi. He is a Pakistani national … I am sure he is already singing & will sing more to the dismay of his patrons in & out … Make him talk,” Saleh posted on Twitter.

Faroqi, aka Abdullah Orokzai, is the leader of the Islamic State of Khorasan (IS-K), the Afghanistan outfit of the IS which also serves as the terror group’s Central Asian province.

Faroqi and 19 others were arrested Saturday during “a targeted and sophisticated operation by National Security forces”, said a statement issued by the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the country’s intelligence agency.

The IS-K had claimed responsibility for the 25 March attack on a gurudwara in which 25 people were killed, including an Indian national.

Faroqi, who is based out Peshawar in Pakistan, is believed to have plotted the attack. He was appointed as IS’s “shadow governor” in Afghanistan, according to TOLO News.

Saleh has been warning about the increasing footprints of IS-K in Afghanistan for several months now, much before the US-Taliban peace deal was signed on 29 February. He also alleged that Pakistan’s spy agency, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), is supporting the IS-K to destabilise Afghanistan with international troops beginning to move out.

“The presence of ISIS in Afghanistan is not genuine. It is an intelligence game played by some of our neighbours,” Saleh had stated at the 2018 Tehran Security Forum.


Also read:In Afghanistan, a new ‘great game’ with ISIS, ISK and Pakistan is on with a vengeance

IS-K footprint in Afghanistan

The Islamic State of Khorasan Province, also denoted as ISKP or ISIS-K, has been active in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the last five years.

The US Department of Defence, in a report to Congress last June, had stated that America’s efforts against IS-K in Afghanistan are part of the global endeavour to defeat the IS.

“ISIS-K poses a threat not only to Afghanistan, but also to the West, which it continuously seeks to target for terrorist activity. In addition to the internal threats, powerful regional actors surround Afghanistan. These powers have varied interests in the political, military, and economic future of Afghanistan,” the report said.

IS-K claims to operate from Central Asia, most of India and some parts of Iran, the report said.

According to a report by the Afghan Institute of Strategic Studies, Pakistan is supporting IS-K as part of a “hedging strategy” and that the grouping has no “blueprint” for Afghanistan.

“The Taliban is also particularly clear in its ideological motivations and the type of emirate it aims to establish. IS-K, by comparison, has given little indication of how it plans to apply the ISIS blueprint to Afghanistan, further weakening its recruitment narrative,” the report said.

Also read: Youth from Kerala’s Kasargod could be among gunmen who attacked Kabul gurudwara


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