The Islamic State’s Khorasan wing is committed to “expanding to Kashmir to fight the cow-worshipping Hindus and the apostates from factions allied to the idol-worshippers of Pakistan, such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba”, its in-house magazine Dabiq has reported.
“The Khilafah is a thorn — rather an axe — in the necks of disbelievers and in this region,” it quotes IS regional chief Khan Saeed as saying. Saeed’s claims come against the backdrop of the NIA investigating over a dozen Indian men, led by Mumbai resident Mushtaq Shaikh, who are alleged to have formed an IS cell planning strikes across the country.
Three other Indian men were deported from the United Arab Emirates last week. They are also alleged to have been operating under the command of Shafi Armar — a former Indian Mujahideen operative from Karnataka.
“Wilayat Khorasan has great importance to Islam and the Muslims,” Saeed told Dabiq,
referring to a sprawling territorial region stretching from northeastern Iran to the Indus, from where — as per an apocalyptic prophecy — an army will arise heralding the day of judgment.
“It had once been under the authority of Muslims, along with the regions surrounding it. Afterwards, the secularist and Shia idolators conquered some of these regions, and the cow-worshipping Hindus and atheist Chinese conquered other nearby regions, as is the case in parts of Kashmir and Turkistan,” he said.
“So the Wilayah, by Allah’s permission, is a gate to reconquering all these regions until they are ruled once more by Allah’s law,” he said.
Born in 1972 and educated at a seminary in the town of Mamozai in Pakistan’s Orakzai Agency, Saeed is believed to have joined the jihadist movement soon after the eviction of the Taliban regime in the wake of 9/11. He joined Baitullah Mehsud, the incipient leader of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, in 2007, taking command of its networks in Orakzai.
Though the group had a close relationship with the Pakistani military — with whom Baitullah Mehsud signed a peace deal in 2005 — the two sides later fell apart. In 2008, a fresh accord was signed in Orakzai, but tensions between the two sides led to fresh fighting.
In the interview, Saeed said, “The idol-worshippers of Pakistan, and specifically their army and intelligence, would exploit the various Islamic organisations on the issue of Kashmir for their despicable personal interests. They also exploited the zeal of the people of Kashmir for the sake of their own interests.”
“So when the preservation of their interests required that they cease fire, withdraw and retreat, the intelligence agencies left the people of Kashmir in the middle of the road and in the worst of situations,” he said.
“Because of this, many of the people of Kashmir and the soldiers of the factions left and made the journey to Wilayat Khorasan, For us, there’s a big opportunity, with Allah’s permission, to establish the religion of Allah there and for the Islamic State to expand to it,” he added.
In 2013, after the killing of Baitullah Mehsud’s successor, Hakimullah Mehsud, in a drone strike, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan split along factional lines. Furious at not being given an opportunity to lead the organisation, Saeed pledged allegiance to the IS in 2014. He was joined by elements of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, as well as some Indian and Bangladeshi jihadists.
Large parts of Saeed’s interview are dedicated to Taliban’s new chief, Akhtar Mansour, who he alleges has “strong and deep ties with Pakistani intelligence”. He says the Taliban under Mansour “has permitted farmers and merchants to grow and sell opium. Rather, the matter has reached the point that the movement itself harvests opium”. By contrast, he continues, the IS has “has not only banned the growth and sale of opium, but has also banned in its territory everything that Allah’s law has prohibited, such as cigarettes and similar substances”.