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Pak militant with ISI link held in Afghan for ISIS-claimed terror attack on Kabul gurdwara

PTI, Apr 5, 2020, 2:24 PM IST

Kabul: Afghanistan’s intelligence has arrested an ISI-linked Pakistani ISIS militant who was the mastermind behind the attack on a Kabul gurdwara last month that left 27 people including an Indian citizen dead.

Abdullah Orakzai alias Aslam Farooqi, a key leader of ISIS’ Khorasan branch, was arrested along with 19 of his associates during a “complex operation” by the National Directorate of Security (NDS) in the country’s southern province of Kandahar on Saturday, TOLO News reported.

A native of Pakistan’s restive northwestern Orakzai agency, he was “enjoying close relations” with Pakistan-based terror groups such as the Haqqani network and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the NDS said in a statement.

Farooqi was appointed as ISIS’ shadow governor in Afghanistan after the killing of Abu Saeed Bajawri, according to the statement.

He was operating as the commander of ISIS’ military wing in Peshawar and was deployed in Abdul Khel valley of Achin district of the eastern province of Nangarhar, it said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an NDS official told AFP that Farooqi was the mastermind behind an ISIS-claimed attack on the gurdwara in Kabul last month.

The attack claimed the lives of 27 people including an Indian citizen.

The NDS further said that Farooqi has confessed to having links with “regional intelligence agencies”, a reference to Pakistan’s spy agency ISI which has been regularly blamed by Afghanistan of carrying out terror attacks in the country.

Nearly 150 people were inside the gurdwara when the attack took place.

Tian Singh, a resident of Greater Kailash Part-1 in New Delhi, was also killed in the attack whose responsibility was claimed by banned Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), an offshoot of ISIS.

India’s premier investigation agency the NIA on April 1 registered its first overseas case and will probe the terror strike on the gurdwara.

An NIA spokesman has said that according to the preliminary investigation, Mohammed Muhsin (28), a resident of Thrikaripur town in Kerala’s Kasargod district, and others who had joined ISKP, are suspected to have been involved in the attack.

His parents had claimed that they received a message from the ISIS confirming his death during the attack, the official said.

A school dropout, Muhsin is believed to have landed in Afghanistan as a member of ISIS in the Khorasan province, the official added.

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