The Islamic State commander in Pakistan allegedly confessed to having received funds routed through the United States to operate the jihadist organization and recruit militants to fight in Syria.
“Yousaf al Salafi revealed that he was getting funding – routed through America – to run the organization in Pakistan and recruit young people to fight in Syria,” an anonymous source told Pakistan’s The Express Tribune, which is affiliated with the International New York Times.
“Al Salafi also confessed that he – along with a Pakistani accomplice, reportedly imam of a mosque – was recruiting people to send them to Syria and was getting around $600 per person from Syria,” added the Pakistani news outlet.
Citing anonymous intelligence sources, Reuters reported on January 21 that Pakistani security forces had arrested al Salafi, believed to be the commander of the Islamic State (IS, ISIS, or ISIL) in Pakistan.
On Wednesday, The Express Tribune, also citing anonymous sources, reported that al Salafi was actually arrested in December of last year.
Al Salafi was reportedly arrested in a raid in Lahore, along with two other suspected jihadists. He was interrogated and allegedly confessed to representing ISIS in Pakistan.
Al Salafi is a Pakistani-Syrian who is believed to have entered Pakistan through Turkey five months ago to recruit fighters for ISIS. He is credited with establishing ISIS in Pakistan.
“The US has been condemning the IS activities but unfortunately has not been able to stop funding of these organizations, which is being routed through the US,” a source told The Express Tribune.
“The US had to dispel the impression that it is financing the group for its own interests and that is why it launched offensive against the organization in Iraq but not in Syria,” he added.
Sources told the Pakistani news outlet that al Salafi’s confessions have been shared with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Gen. Lloyd Austin, the commander of U.S. Central Command, during their recent visits to Islamabad.
The Pakistani news outlet noted that ISIS is reportedly recruiting fighters in Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, adding that posters and wall chalking in support of the jihadist group have been seen in various Pakistani cities.
According to the International Business Times, “Experts believe that IS receives much of its funding from donations from wealthy backers in the Middle East, and is channelled through the international banking system.”