US confirms Pakistan origin of Pathankot terrorists

Two months after asking Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the 2016 Pathankot terrorist attack to justice, the US has now provided evidence confirming that the attack on the Pathankot airbase did in fact come from Pakistan.

On 2 January 2016, a heavily armed group attacked the Pathankot Air Force Station, part of India's Western Air Command, killing six Indian security personnel.

India blamed Pakistan-based jihadi group Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) for orchestrating the brutal assault.

According to The Times of India, The US informed India's National Investigation Agency that IP addresses of Facebook accounts of JeM handlers who masterminded the attack, and the IP address of the website of the outfit's financial arm, Al Rahmat Trust, are located in Pakistan.

The probe also found that Facebook groups accessed by friends of JeM handler Kashif Jaan were related to jihad, and JeM had photos of the four killed terrorists - Nasir Hussain, Hafiz Abu Bakar, Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayum.

"The US has confirmed that all these websites and IP addresses originated in Pakistan and the photos were uploaded around the time of the Pathankot attack," the report said quoting an official.

The Jaish-e-Mohammed leader who gave directions over the phone to the terrorists during the attack on the Pathankot airbase, has reportedly managed to flee to Afghanistan from Pakistan.

"The alleged JeM handler who communicated by telephone over two-dozen times with the terrorists in Pathankot before they carried out the attack on the airbase on January 2, has managed to cross into Afghan border," a member of the Joint Investigation Team probing the attack said.

The attack occurred just days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a surprise visit to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on his birthday on 25 December and the occasion of his granddaughter's wedding - a move that appeared to bring the promise of better ties between the two countries in the future.

However, despite the Pathankot visit of the five-member Joint Investigation Team team of Pakistan's Punjab government headed by CTD Additional Inspector General of Police (IGP) Tahir Rai, no progress has been made in the investigation so far.