ISIS pushing into Af-Pak-India region `Khorasan': report

31 January 2015

The Islamic State jihadist group is reported to be making a push into what they call as Khorasan, a region that covers Afghanistan, Pakistan, parts of India, and some surrounding countries.

''We bring the mujahidin the good news of the Islamic State's expansion to Khorasan,'' Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, who claims to be spokesman of the Islamic State, made the announcement in an audiotaped speech posted on jihadi forums.

He also announced the appointment of former Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander Hafiz Saeed Khan as governor of the province in Khorasan. Abdul Rauf Khadim, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee and former Taliban commander in southern Afghanistan has been named deputy governor.

The news of the expansion of ISIS caliphate into the so-called Khorasan comes barely four months after al-Qaeda declared the formation of a new branch in the Indian subcontinent.

Both Al Qaeda and IS are trying to gain a foothold among Pakistan's numerous terror groups and Khadim is reported to have been carrying out operations on behalf of ISIS in Afghanistan's Helmand province along the Pakistan border.

NBC News interviewed some of the ISIS commanders fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan, and two with the TTP, including Swati and Khan who were among six high-ranking TTP members to announce that they had defected to ISIS.

Swati is reported to have claimed that 10,000 fighters had joined the cross group's ranks and training camps had been established throughout the region, but could not provide any evidence to back up these claims.

Members of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban acknowledged that the new branch had attracted fighters, but said the number of adherents was in the hundred not the thousands. Most of the defections have come from the TTP, the NBC report quoted the two commanders in the field as saying.

"Our people are now getting frustrated and asking us why did we fail in getting a space in Afghanistan to implement Shariah, despite the loss of thousands of people in their war against the US and its allies."

"A few hundred militants affiliated with their commanders had joined Daesh," one TTP commander said, using the Arabic name for ISIS.

Pakistani officials would not publicly acknowledge the presence of ISIS on their territory, but one who spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity said that a military offensive had been launched to eliminate the group.

Last year, NBC News had revealed ISIS plans to create a 10-man strategic planning wing with a master plan on how to wage war against the Pakistani military, and was trying to join forces with local militants.

And in late September, a pamphlet apparently made by the self-proclaimed caliphate was distributed among Afghan refugees in Pakistan exhorting them to pledge allegiance. It lashed out against "America and the rest of the infidels."

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