Poppy Crops Thrive in Daish dominated areas of Afghanistan

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On Friday, May 6, 2016 Daily Times has reported that Brigadier General Charles Cleveand, a senior spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan has expressed fears that Afghan Poppy Crops Could Fuel New Taliban Attacks. I’am sharing my Story, which I did in January 2015 from Jalalabad, Capital of eastern Nagarhar province of Afghanistan.

Naimat Khan

JALALABAD: New crops of poppy have been cultivated in districts of Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan amid growing influence of the Islamic States – locally known as Daish – in the area, locals living in the eastern districts say.

A resident of Haska Mena district of Nangarhar province – who met this scribe in the provincial headquarter Jalalabad – told The Frontier Post on the condition of anonymity that new crops have been massively cultivated in eight districts of the province bordering Pakistan.

“All eight districts are situated on the border area,” source said, adding it was the highest cultivation over the last few years.

These districts, local sources informed, included Haska Mena, Achin, and three districts of Khugirani, Nazian, De Bala, Sherzad, Bachi Raga and Speen Ghar.

Most of the districts are resided by Shinwari tribe of Pashtun, who live on both sides of the border, they say.

Security situation in these districts is all time worst and it is almost impossible for the Afghan security forces to enter into these areas.

Security analysts and experts having close eye over the issues in these eastern districts say the hike in poppy cultivation was seen with the rise of militant of Islamic States, who after occupying the areas have asked the locals to cultivate the poppycrops.

“The hike in poppy cultivation and growing influence of ISIS are interlinked.”

“The ISIS militants, unlike Afghan Taliban, have encouraged the cultivation, which will become a market for the drug sellers in USA,” a security expert told on the condition not to be named due to security threats.

According to previous reports opium production in Afghanistan is growing like a weed — and nothing, not even billions of dollars of U.S. money, has been able to quell it.

Earlier the United Nations had claimed in its reports that the war-torn nation provided 90 percent of the world’s supply of opium poppy, the bright, flowery cropthat transforms into one of the most addictive drugs in existence.

“Afghanistan has roughly 500,000 acres, or about 780 square miles, devoted to growing opium poppy. That’s equivalent to more than 400,000 U.S. football fields — including the end zones,” John Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, said in a speech in May last year.

However, locals say a large number of youth in Nangarhar province, especially its head office, Jalalabad, has also been addicted to heroin and other deadly drugs.

When this author contacted the spokesperson of provincial governor, he said the reports were exaggerated, however, he didn’t rule out the cultivation of poppy cropsin the restive districts.

Published in The Frontier Post, Peshawar 

Abandoned by families, youths become vulnerable to terrorist inclinations

Alienated Youths vulnerable to terrorist inclinations, say experts 

KARACHI: Although the youth’s growing inclination towards extremism and terrorism is widely believed to have a direct link with hate literature and poverty, at least three young men from Karachi have had other reasons, which pushed them towards radicalization.

“The letters written by Saad Aziz, a former IBA graduate and prime suspect in Safoora Goth massacre and Sabeen Mahmud murder case, reveal the fragile relationship he had with his family members, which led him, closer to the militants,” says Raja Umar Khattab, a senior counter-terrorism officer who unearthed a group of highly educated terrorists in the city.

As if Saad’s breakup with his girlfriend was not enough, his sister’s continuous squabbles, and apathetic behaviour of his mother further alienated him, thus becoming vulnerable for the terrorists to enfold him in their circle, adds Khattab.

According to Aziz’s writings, his father had no or little say during family fights, and he was getting disillusioned by the day. There was no one to listen to his point of view, he told investigators.

Aziz, during interrogation, confessed to have killed Mahmud – director of popular cafe – the Second Floor Café (T2f) – in city’s Defence area.

But Aziz is not the only case highlighting how important family bonds are to keep the youths away from extremist inclinations.

On October 11, Karachi police held two men – Bilal Rind and Zain Shahid after the latter’s failed attempt to fly to Turkey and then Syria to join the Islamic State – in their fight against Bashar Al Assad – the Syrian ruler.

Police say there is no local presence of IS, and both the men were recruited through Twitter. Both, recruited separately, were introduced to each other before they left for Iran with a human trafficker.

Shahid and Rind were arrested in a remote Iranian town along the Turkish border. They were later deported by Iran and handed over to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) which handed over them in the detention of the Sindh police’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD).

However, since they had so far done no harm to anyone, and regretted their decision because of being fully ‘brainwashed’, were released on probation.

Bilal, who settled in Karachi in 2013, was born in Dubai in 1986 and had got his education the American University in Dubai in 2006. Zain was born in Saudi Arabia and upon his return to Pakistan got his bachelor degree from Iqra University.

With no Madrassah or Pakistani educational background the economically sound youths were living in families least concerned about their kids, investigators say. “During examination by forensic psychologists it emerged that lose family bonds and indifferent attitude of the family was a major cause of the drastic shift in their lives” the police officer said.

According to the police, Bilal Rind was a ‘party boy’ and had spent his life abroad. Even a young preacher can bring a  180 degree shift in their thoughts, says Khattab, adding as soon as Rind was contacted by IS men, he was abandoned by the family, and it took him no time to become a Mowlvi.

Shahid’s case is no different, adds the counter-terrorism officer.

“Broken families that are not with separated parents but still their mornings start with squabbling, affect the teens, pushing them towards destructive thoughts”, says Dr Fateh Muhammad Burfat – founding chairman of the department Criminology University of Karachi.

“An anti-crime society has to be developed to eliminate the menace of extremism for which proactive families – where the kids share every problem with their parents and elder brothers – and education based on societal ethics is to be ensured”.

Published in The Frontier Post 

No established ISIS network in Sindh, investigators

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: A senior Investigator, who is fighting different terror groups for more than a decade now, was surprised over the “startling revelations” by none other than his boss – Inspector General Sindh Police Ghulam Hyder Jamali, and subsequent reports regarding the presence of lethal terror outfit Islamic State in southern Pakistani province.

While briefing a meeting of the Standing Committee on Interior in Islamabad IGP Sindh Ghulam Hyder Jamali had claimed that the militants targeted a bus carrying Ismaili community members in Karachi earlier this year belonged to Daesh – Islamic State. He further divulged that the suspects of Safoora attack had been getting instructions from one Abdul Aziz in Syria.

Two days later a section of media claimed that the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of the Sindh police had prepared a list of 53 terrorists, who are affiliated Islamic State.

According to reports Abdullah Yousuf alias Abdul Aziz and also Saqib is the Ameer of Daesh – also known Islamic State – , while another suspected terrorist has been identified as Shahid Khokhar, who hails from Hyderabad.

Reports further said that the third terrorist is Bilal who is affiliated with Daesh and hails from Mirpurkhas.

However, on Wednesday a spokesman for the Sindh police said the news reports claiming that Sindh police had issued or prepared any list of 53 Islamic State (IS)-\’inspired\’ militants are incorrect.

The spokesman in his statement issued to media categorically denied issuance of such a list by any department working under Sindh police.

When this scribe contacted a senior police officer, he on the condition of anonymity told IGP Sindh’s either wrongly reported or was misreported in media. He said that no link between the attackers of Safoora incident and IS could be proved.

“Instead, they were inspired of the style of IS” he told while talking to The Frontier Post. He said the persons who carried this savage attack and those planning and implementing the killings of Ismailis had proven association with Al Qaeda Indian Subsequent (AQIS).

“Had the Islamic State have any network in Karachi they would haven’t deluded Zain Shahid and Bilal Rind” the Karachi youths through twitter”, he said, adding direct contact through the existing network could be their preferable step. No local link between Zain and Bilal and the ISIS could be found either, the police officer opines.

According to their interrogation report, a copy of which is available with The Frontier Post, Zain Shahid and Bilal Rind told interrogators that they were deluded through twitter by the terrorists based in Syria but they failed to cross Iran into Iraq and Turkey in a bid to reach their final destination. Both misled youths were later released on probation and the police are now closely watching their activities, police official said.

Both the arrested persons did not know each other but they were brought in contact and first met at the mosque of Boat Basin, a report said. “They were told to reach Turkey from Iran and from there they were offered by Daesh members to be taken to Syria” they told investigators.

Originally Published in The Frontier Post

IS set for Pakistan launch, offers leadership roles

After Al-Qaeda, IS also picks Punjabi for Pakistan Chief

Both Maulana Umar Asim of Al-Qaeda and Abid Kahot of IS had association with Punjabi Taliban

IS eyes at Punjab’s Lahore for making its headquarters

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Naimat Khan

KARACHI: The Islamic State (IS), formerly known as Islamic State of Iraq & Syria (ISIS), is all set to launch its Pakistan wing as the global terror outfit has made offers to local militants amid the reports of announcements by five Taliban commanders, including former TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid, to join the international terror organization.

The Frontier Post on Tuesday reliably learnt that one of the group’s leaders, Waleed Al-ama of Uzbekistan has offered Abid Kahot of Kahota, district Rawalpindi to become Amir of Daish (SI) in Pakistan and make contacts with disgruntled militants of Tehreek-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Sipahe Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) to join SI.

According to credible sources, the local militant, who had been active in TTP before meeting with Islamic State’s leader, has also been directed to find recruits within the local terror groups for full scale launch in Pakistan. Sources told this scribe that Al-ama also met with two persons, who are the Afghanistan Trained Boys (ATBs) and asked them to find a suitable place around Raiwind Markaz to establish the office of ISIS, Pakistan chapter.

The crime mentoring cell of the Sindh home department informed the offices of Director General Sindh Rangers and Inspector General Police Sindh on 9th of October 2014 that the during the Waleed’s meeting with two ATBs, Abid Kahot was also present who according the sources was a facilitator.

This report, though five-day old, has emerged when five top leaders of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, including its spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid joined the ISIS. According to the reports, the TTP leaders who joined ISIS are Orakzai Agency Ameer, Kurram Agency Ameer Dolat, Ameer Fateh Gul Zaman Khyber, Mufti Hasan Peshawar and Khalid Masood. The TTP’s hardliner Mehmund chapter has already announced to support the international terror group had been able to seize various Iraqi areas, including oilfields. Though it could not be confirmed by sources whether Abid Kahot has accepted the offer and would be announced as Pakistan Chief of IS, the joining of TTP heavyweights have certainly provide the terror group further choice to choose its Pakistani head. It is pertinent to mention that the news of IS making inroads in Pakistan were downplayed by experts due to the announcement of Al-Qaeda south Asian chapter, which was considered an alternate for local militants believing in international concept of Jihad.

The only noticeable activity of the group witnessed was the distribution of pamphlet “Al-fateh” (victory) in Pashto and Dari languages in two of the Afghan refugees’ camp in south of Peshawar, provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Interestingly, one of the major camps ‘Shamshato’ is alleged to be headquarters of Gulbudin Hikmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami, a group being considered anti-Taliban.

This is the updated version of my news story published here