New Delhi: The arrest of chief recruiter of the Islamic State Jammu & Kashmir Aijaz Ahangar, the terrorist who was arrested 25 years after he vanished from Kashmir, has a strong link with Pakistan's Sialkot region, media reports said.
The Apr 4 raid by Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security (NDS) was crucial as it led to the arrest of Islamic State Khorasan Province chief Aslam Farooqi. He had taken responsibility for the attack on Sikh Gurudwara in Kabul last month which claimed 25 lives.
Ahangar was also arrested at that time.
Ahangar managed to hide his identity in the early rounds of questioning. The investigators did not suspect when he identified himself as one Ali Mohammed from Islamabad, reported Hindustan Times.
The HT report said the counter-terror officials both in India and Afghanistan were surprised at the discovery. The interrogators were able to unmask his true identity during the course of investigation but the series of events that led to the revelation was not known, added the report.
Ahangar went to Pakistan via Bangladesh, avoiding the more risky LoC, indicating his connection with Pakistani extremists, a counter-terror official said, stated the report.
He was settled in Islambad by Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence and later joined Al Qaeda briefly. Finally, he joined Islamic State Khorasan Province.
Meanwhile, a link with Sialkot region has also been established in these developments around Ahangar.
Notably, Ahangar is also the father-in-law of Huzafa al Bakistani, a resident of Sialkot, an online recruiter of ISKP and later ISJK, who was killed in a US drone attack in Nangarhar in Afghanistan on July 18, 2019, reported The Week.
Intelligence reports claimed that Ahangar and Rukhsana clandestinely travelled to Pakistan in 1995 via Bangladesh and were settled in Islamabad by ISI, which further cemented his Pakistani identity by solemnising his marriage with PoK resident Aishay alias Saira in 2008, the report said.
It is learnt through intelligence reports that Aishay had two brothers, Abdul Wahid alias Zubair and Amir, both associated with Al Qaeda, with Abdul Wahid being the head of the unit of Miran Shah (south Waziristan), reported the Indian magazine.
Counter terror officials revealed that in 2009, Ahangar, facilitated by ISI, left Islamabad for South Waziristan along with second wife Aishay. Subsequently, with the help of Aishay's brother, Rukhsana and her children joined him in 2010. It is in South Waziristan that he joined the ISIS and later ISKP in 2015 at the behest of the ISI, The Week further said in its report.
"Since then, Ahangar was actively involved in the activities of ISJK along with his son-in-law Huzafa al Bakistani. Sialkot-based Bakistani and Ahangar have deep links with the Lashkar-e-Taiba, said a counter-terror official, adding that this establishes the ISI's multiple terror proxies in the south-asian region," it said.
Ahangar's father-in-law Ghazali was found murdered at a mosque in Jammu and Kashmir's Srinagar region on Feb 13.
Investigations into the case revealed that he had been murdered by one Ghulam Moiudeen Dar, reportedly over a dispute over the distribution of terror funds being pumped into the Valley by the ISI, reported The Week.
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