Islamic State-Khorasan Province member from Kerala killed in Afghanistan

Updated on Mar 11, 2022 09:22 AM IST
The Islamic State-Khorasan Province has claimed some of the most brazen attacks in Afghanistan in recent months, including the suicide attack on Kabul airport on August 26 last year
ISKP member Najeeb Al Hindi. (HT Photo)
ISKP member Najeeb Al Hindi. (HT Photo)

NEW DELHI: An Indian member of the Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISKP) has died fighting in Afghanistan, apparently in a suicide attack, according to the latest issue of a publication of the group.

Voice of Khurasan, the ISKP’s publication, identified the Indian fighter only by his nom de guerre, Najeeb Al Hindi, and described him as 23-year-old “engineering (M.Tech) student from Kerala” in an article about his death.

The article didn’t give further details about Najeeb or state exactly when he was killed, or the specific circumstances of his death.

The article compared Najeeb to Hanzala Ibn Abi Amir, one of the companions of Prophet Mohammed, because he was killed hours after getting married to a Pakistani woman. Hanzala died in the Battle of Uhud at the age of 24 after leaving for the battlefield on his wedding night.

The article stated Najeeb had come to Khorasan – the area of Afghanistan where ISKP is based – “all the way from India” on his own. “It was very difficult to make hijra on (sic) those days,” the article said. He also met other fighters “who came from his own place” and lived as a bachelor in a guest room.

“He was very quiet and spoke when needed, with always a smile on his face,” the article said. “Never complaining about the difficult life of mountains, the only thing going on in his mind was Shahadah.”

After several months, Najeeb’s friends forced him to get married and there was a proposal from a Pakistani family on behalf of a young woman who was within the ISKP fold.

On the date set for Najeeb’s wedding, the article states, the “kuffar” (non-believers) “began to advance in our area and bombardment started”. The article does not identify exactly who had attacked the ISKP. However, there have been numerous clashes between the Islamic State and the Taliban since the latter assumed power in Kabul in mid-August 2021.

Najeeb initially declined to get married and said he wanted to go for “inghimasi” (a suicide attack). Following pressure from the bride’s father, the marriage went ahead, but soon after, an ISKP member came and sought suicide attackers for an assault. Najeeb volunteered to go to the battlefield and died fighting, the article said.

Several dozen men and women from Kerala are believed to have joined the ISKP in recent years. A few have died in fighting or by US drone strikes. During an operation against the group by Afghan forces in Nangarhar province in later 2019, at least 25 Indian nationals – 13 fighters and the rest women and children – were captured.

Scores of ISKP cadres held in prisons in Kabul and other cities were freed during the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and the fighters returned to the group. The ISKP has claimed some of the most brazen attacks in Afghanistan in recent months, including the suicide attack on Kabul airport on August 26 last year that killed more than 180 people.

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