New Delhi: Pakistan has officially sought from Afghanistan the custody of Aslam Farooqi, the arrested chief of the terror organisation Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP).
The ISKP is accused of planning the Kabul gurdwara attack last month that killed over 25 people.
Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) had detained Farooqi, believed to be Pakistani national Abdullah Orakzai, from an unknown location in an operation on 4 April.
While Farooqi’s terror group has allegedly carried out numerous terror attacks in Afghanistan targeting scores of civilians besides security forces, Pakistan’s Foreign Office has claimed that he is wanted in their country.
“Farooqi was involved in anti-Pakistan activities in Afghanistan, he should be handed-over to Pakistan for further investigations,” it said in a statement issued Thursday night.
The statement was released after Pakistani authorities had summoned the Afghan ambassador regarding the request.
The NDS had earlier said that Farooqi has been associated with the proscribed Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and then the Tehreek-e-Taliban terror groups.
Farooqi replaced Mawlawi Zia-ul-Haq aka Abu Omar Khorasani as the ISKP chief in April 2019.
Pakistan’s request has met with derision in Afghanistan.
Former NDS director, Rahmatullah Nabil, took to Twitter to mock the request.
“PAK military & ISI thinks that #AFG is in their territory.They never complied with AFG government’s request for handover of Mullah Baradar, Sadar Ibrahim, Mullah Daoud,Mawlawi Mirahmad Gul, Mullah Abdul Salam and dozens of high ranking Taliban, who were arrested in PAK,” he tweeted.
1- PAK military & ISI thinks that #AFG is in their territory.They never complied with AFG government’s request for handover of Mullah Baradar, Sadar Ibrahim, Mullah Daoud,Mawlawi Mirahmad Gul, Mullah Abdul Salam and dozens of high ranking Taliban, who were arrested in PAK. https://t.co/lvkBSYgRy5
— Rahmatullah Nabil (@RahmatullahN) April 9, 2020
Along with Farooqi, four Pakistani nationals and ISIS members — Masoudullah from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Khan Mohammad from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Salman from Karachi, and Ali Mohammad from Islamabad — were also arrested in the special operation.
Ploy by Pakistan to save its man
Sources in the Indian security establishment told ThePrint that Pakistan’s formal request is an attempt to save the man supported by the country’s intelligence agency, the ISI.
Refusing to comment on whether they think Afghanistan will grant the request, a top Indian official said, “He is wanted for terror activities in Afghanistan. He is responsible for the killing of so many Afghans”.
This was the second ISKP attack on the minority Sikh community in Afghanistan. The first was the 2018 suicide bombing of a convoy of Hindus and Sikhs in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province, which killed 19 people.
Indian security forces have always maintained that the ISKP is nothing but just another terror group propped up by the ISI.
The ISKP has been on its back foot in recent months following continued operations by US forces and separately by the Taliban.
Al Jazeera reported that in November 2019, Afghan officials said the ISKP was completely defeated in Nangarhar, one of the key eastern provinces where it first sought to establish a stronghold in 2015.
The terror group emerged in Afghanistan in 2015, following Pakistan’s operation against armed groups in North Waziristan, close to the Afghan border, which displaced more than one million people, Al Jazeera said.