Confirming their worst fears, intelligence agencies have traced the latest message of one of the missing Kerala youths to Afghanistan.
Ashfaqe Mohamed (23), missing from Kasargode in north Kerala, on Saturday sent a message to his sister informing her about his well being and requesting his relatives to join him. However, he did not disclose his location.
At least 21 persons, including six women and two children, had gone missing from the state last month sending shock waves across the country. “The message originated from Afghanistan country code 93. We suspect some of the missing persons might have reached the Tora Bora region of eastern Afghanistan,” said a senior intelligence official.
Ashfaqe had left his home on May 28 informing is parents that he was going to Kozhikkode (north Kerala) for Quran classes. A week later, he told his parents he was leaving for Sri Lanka. The parents alerted the police when they received a message a month later, saying he had “reached the final destination, abode of Allah”.
Riddled with many caves, Tora Bora is considered a stronghold of the Taliban. It was the favorite hideout of Taliban chief Osama bin Laden before he was shifted to garrison town of Abbotabad in Pakistan due to US drone attacks.
Officials feel they might have crossed over from Iran. Earlier, the agencies had tracked their travel to Tehran, seemingly by road via Iranian town of Sarbaz.
Though the MEA sought the help of the Iran government, it failed to locate them, said the official. Meanwhile, the Kerala police brought Arshid Qureshi and Rizvan Khan held in Mumbai in connection with the missing case to Kochi. Qureshi, an associate of controversial preacher Zakir Naik, was arrested in connection with the disappearance of Merin alias Mariyam, a Kochi resident.