A number of hardline groups operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan have already announced support for the group headed by Afghan Taliban. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID
PESHAWAR: In a bid to extend its influence in the South Asian region, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, (ISIS), commonly known as Daish, distributed pamphlets in Peshawar and border provinces of Afghanistan as well.
The booklet titled Fatah (victory) is published in Pashto and Dari languages and was distributed in Peshawar as well as in Afghan refugee camps on the outskirts of the city. The logo of the pamphlet has the Kalma, the historical stamp of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and a Kalashnikov assault rifle. Some copies were also mysteriously sent to Afghan journalists working in Peshawar.
On the last page of the pamphlet, the editor’s name appears to be fake and where the document has been published cannot be ascertained. Since long, Afghan resistance groups, including Haqqani Network, Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan and Tora Bora group have been publishing similar pamphlets, magazines and propaganda literature in Peshawar black markets.
The ISIS, introducing itself as Daulat-e-Islamia (Islamic State) in the pamphlet, has made an appeal to the local population for supporting its struggle for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate.
A number of hardline groups operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan have already announced support for the group headed by Afghan Taliban. Among them, Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost and Maulvi Abdul Qahar, stalwarts of Saudi Arabia-backed Salafi Taliban groups operating in Nuristan and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan, have already announced support for the self-styled caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Besides distribution of its literature and pamphlets, some of the ISIS supporters have also made wall chalking, asking locals to join and support the group. Some cars and vehicles also have ISIS stickers pasted on them.
Meanwhile, recently established Ahrarul Islam, a faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is already working on the lines of ISIS. Similar is the status of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), also known as Hizb-e-Islami Turkistan.
Ahrarul Islam doesn’t believe in boundaries between Islamic countries, therefore, it is working for the establishment of a network throughout South and Central Asian regions. The group doesn’t recognise al-Baghdadi as the caliph, but considers Mullah Omar as ‘commander of the faithful’ chief, like TTP.
A number of local and foreign militant groups recently displaced from North Waziristan also claim that they want to “strive for the enforcement of Islamic Shariah not only in Pakistan and Afghanistan but throughout the world.”