India’s intelligence agencies believe the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) might spread its caliphate and horror into India as they inch closer to Afghanistan/Pakistan held territories.
“The Indian concern is that Nangarhar province sits on the mouth of the Khyber pass, which has been the route to enter into the Indus Valley and the Gangetic plains,” explained one senior official. “Also, Farah province shares borders with Shia Iran. If IS manages to spread in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia, then India faces a serious security threat.”
Only 16 children have been documented to have left India to join ISIS, but “over 4,000 youth have joined the extremist group from Central Asian Republics, particularly Uzbekistan.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he placed this topic on his agenda when he visits the region between July 6-13.
“The Indian agencies knew that ISIS might spread its hold on India as well,” declared Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman GVL Narasimha Rao. “Since the time the NDA Government came to power, we have made sure that this never happens. Our security and intelligence agencies are keeping a check on all such activities. ISIS will not be able to gain a foothold in India.”
Lieutenant General K.H. Singh told the press that “200 to 225 militants in 36 launch pads across the Pir Panchal range waiting to infiltrate into the Indian side.” He also claimed ISIS owns numerous training camps in the area.
“Whatever inputs we have, the IS has not taken in a major way, but they are definitely trying to gain foothold in the area (PoK),” he said.
Afghan sources told The Associated Press that ISIS exists in Helmand province, which is in southern Afghanistan on the Pakistan border.
“Islamic State group is active in the south, recruiting fighters, flying black flags and, according to some sources, even battling Taliban militants,” reported AP.
Reports from the past year state quite a few Taliban fighters joined ISIS. Taliban allies Hezb-e-Islami also joined ISIS. Supporters released propaganda materials last September in the region. Taliban terrorists pledged allegiance to ISIS in a video released in January. Former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid, who already swore allegiance to the Islamic State in October, appears in the video with at least fifteen other militants. To prove their loyalty they beheaded a Pakistani soldier.