Pakistani key recruiter for Islamic State in Kashmir killed in drone strike in Afghanistan

Pakistani key recruiter for Islamic State in Kashmir killed in drone strike in Afghanistan

A Pakistani commander of the Khorasan wing of Islamic State (IS), who played a key role in efforts to radicalise Kashmiri youngsters to join the terror group, was killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan, people familiar with developments said on Saturday.

The death of Huzaifa al-Bakistani in the drone strike in Khogyani district of eastern Nangarhar province on July 18 was confirmed by the media channel of IS. The statement announcing his death claimed he had given “sleepless nights to Indian agencies”. Huzaifa, a well-known online recruiter, was a Pakistani national who joined Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) after completing his engineering degree. He handled LeT’s media department before joining IS, the people cited above said.

He was the son-in-law of ljaz Ahangar alias Abu Usman al-Kashmiri, a resident of Nawakadal in Srinagar who went to Pakistan in 1995 to join jihadi groups. Ahangar worked for Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen (TuM) and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) before joining the Khorasan wing of IS in Afghanistan.

“Huzaifa and Ahangar were the masterminds behind activities of the Islamic State in Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK) and played an instrumental role in radicalising and encouraging Kashmiri youth to join ISJK,” said a person who didn’t want to be identified.

“Huzaifa was also instrumental in the formation of the Wilayyah Hind of IS in May,” the person added.

The people said Huzaifa’s death in Afghanistan established the complicity of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency in sending cadres of Pakistan-based terror groups such as LeT and TuM to join activities of the IS chapters in Jammu and Kashmir and Afghanistan.

Apart from contributing cadres to IS, the LeT has been found working closely with the Taliban and Haqqani Network in Afghanistan against the interests of India the coalition forces led by the US, the people said.