Terrorist caught in Afghanistan earlier this month was IS recruiter in Jammu and Kashmir
Aijaz Ahmad Ahangar from downtown Srinagar’s Nawa Kadal had been a wanted man in Jammu and Kashmir for more than two decades. He was arrested once for terror links and released. This was sometime in the mid-1990s.Updated: Apr 18, 2020, 05:00 IST
Aijaz Ahmad Ahangar from downtown Srinagar’s Nawa Kadal had been a wanted man in Jammu and Kashmir for more than two decades. He was arrested once for terror links and released. This was sometime in the mid-1990s.
Nearly 25 years later, he was arrested early this month by Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) in Kandahar. No one really paid much attention.
The NDS had been far too focussed on its prize catch, Aslam Farooqui, the chief of the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) who had claimed responsibility for the 25 March Kabul Gurdwara attack that killed 27 worshippers.
In the early rounds of his questioning, Aijaz Ahangar identified himself as Ali Mohammed from Islamabad. The sequence of events that blew away his carefully crafted cover is still not clear. Counterterror operatives in Delhi and Kabul told HT that it was much later they discovered that the April 4 raid had also netted Aijaz Ahangar, the 55-year-old chief recruiter of the Islamic State Jammu & Kashmir. “It was a surprise,” said an Afghan watcher.
Aijaz Ahangar, born in Bugam on the outskirts of Srinagar, wasn’t the only one in his extended family to pick up the gun. According to security agencies, his father-in-law Abdullah Ghazali aka Abdul Ghani Dar was a Lashkar-e-Taiba commander and had played a role in the formation in 1990 of the Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen. Aijaz Ahangar married Ghazali’s daughter Rukshsana much later.
After a brief association with the al Qaeda, Aijaz Ahangar joined ISIS. Later, he joined the Islamic State Khorasan Province.
His son Abdullah Umais joined the fighting in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar and got killed. His son-in-law, Huzafa-al-Bakistani, a top online recruiter of ISKP, was killed in a US drone attack in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar in 2019.