South Asia

After Syria and Iraq, AfPak on Islamic State radar

This undated image posted by the Raqqa Media Centre, a Syrian opposition group, on June 30, 2014, shows fighters from the Islamic State group during a parade in Raqqa, Syria. IS is trying to expand its influence in Pakistan, with pamphlets being distributed in Peshawar and border provinces of Afghanistan, seeking support for jihad.

This undated image posted by the Raqqa Media Centre, a Syrian opposition group, on June 30, 2014, shows fighters from the Islamic State group during a parade in Raqqa, Syria. IS is trying to expand its influence in Pakistan, with pamphlets being distributed in Peshawar and border provinces of Afghanistan, seeking support for jihad.   | Photo Credit: Uncredited

The dreaded Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is trying to expand its influence in Pakistan, with pamphlets being distributed in Peshawar and border provinces of Afghanistan, seeking support for jihad.

A booklet titled Fatah (victory) in Pashto and Dari languages was distributed in Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, as well as in Afghan refugee camps on the outskirts of the city, the Express Tribune reported.

The logo of the pamphlet has Islamic text, a historical stamp of Prophet Muhammad and a Kalashnikov assault rifle.

Some copies were also mysteriously sent to Afghan journalists working in Peshawar, the paper said.

On the last page of the pamphlet, the editor’s name appears to be fake and where the document has been published cannot be ascertained, it said.

Since long, Afghan militant groups, including the Haqqani Network and the Hizb-e-Islami, have been publishing similar pamphlets, magazines and propaganda literature in Peshawar black markets.

Formerly known as the ISIS, the group introduced itself as Daulat-e-Islamia (Islamic State) in the pamphlet and made an appeal to the local population for supporting its jihad (struggle) for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate.

A number of hardline groups operating in border areas have already announced support for the outfit. Among them, Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost and Maulvi Abdul Qahar, stalwarts of Saudi Arabia-backed Salafi Taliban groups operating in Nuristan and Kunar Provinces of Afghanistan, have extended support to the self-styled caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Besides distribution of its literature and pamphlets, some of the ISIS supporters have also made wall chalking, asking locals to join and support the group. Some cars and vehicles also have ISIS stickers pasted on them.

Recently established Ahrarul Islam, a faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, is already working on the lines of ISIS. Similar is the status of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement , also known as Hizb-e-Islami Turkistan.

Ahrarul Islam doesn’t believe in boundaries between Islamic countries, therefore, it is working for the establishment of a network throughout South and Central Asian regions.

The group doesn’t recognise al-Baghdadi as the caliph, but considers Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar as ‘commander’.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 10:12:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/after-syria-and-iraq-afpak-on-islamic-state-radar/article6376654.ece

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