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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Afghan police detain ISIS terrorist Sanaul Islam, who hails from Malappuram

An Islamic State (IS), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist, was detained in Afghanistan. Incidentally, he is Sanaul Islam, a native of Ullattupara, Malappuram. According to reports, he was arrested by the Afghan Investigation Agency. He is currently lodged in Kandahar Jail.

It is indicated that Islam is a suspect in several terrorist attack cases. He came to Afghanistan through Tajikistan. Intelligence agencies had received information that he had crossed the border.

Islam is suspected to have reached Afghanistan to become a part of the Islamic State of Khorasan (ISKP). ISKP was established in 2014 by a group of defectors from various organisations, such as al-Qaeda, the Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP), and former Taliban terrorists from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Islam was reportedly apprehended by police in Kandahar, Afghanistan. “He was not able to explain the purpose of his visit to Kandahar”, an official of the General Director of Intelligence (GDI) from the Afghan Interim Govt said, “he belongs to Kerala in India and has arrived in Afghanistan via Tajikistan which made him a suspected Islamic State affiliate”.

Islam was handed over to GDI for further interrogation. As per official sources, at least 11 identified Bharatiya nationals who were ISKP affiliated have been killed or apprehended in Afghanistan since 2014. A majority of them were from Kerala.

ISKP is a regional chapter of Islamic State, named after the province in which they are most active. An ancient territory now part of Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia and Pakistan is called Khorasan.

The ISKP follows the fundamental ISIS doctrine, which states that the establishment of a transnational caliphate is the ultimate aim. Despite its name suggesting that it is only active in the Khorasan region, it seems they have roots in Kerala. 

Afghan agencies have released Islam’s pictures as well. According to Bharatiya intelligence agencies, further steps related to the arrest and transfer of the terrorist to Bharat are being discussed with the Afghan agencies.

This episode is similar to that of Abdul Rashid Abdullah, who travelled to the same area in the company of twenty-one Kasargode, Kerala residents in 2016. Islam’s arrest draws attention to the complicated routes taken by people who want to join terror groups.

HinduPost had reported how Rashid and a bunch of Christian converts to Islam (including women) went to Syria from Kasargode and joined the terrorist organisation ISIS. The men are believed to have been killed by US bombings/bomb vests in Afghanistan, and the ladies are in jail.

Rashid, who hailed from Pala, Kottayam in Kerala, was the ring leader of the Kasargode IS module and the main conspirator who oversaw the IS recruitment in Kerala. Rashid, Sonia Sebastian (32), alias Ayisha, and their two-year-old child left to join the Islamic State in 2016. After Rashid died, Ayisha surrendered in Afghanistan. She was identified as a resident of Kasargode. 

Ayisha was reportedly identified among the 600-odd Islamic State members, including 225 men, 190 women and 200 children, who surrendered in late 2016 in Afghanistan. The whereabouts of her child remains unknown.

Before leaving for Afghanistan, Rashid was a teacher at Peace International School in Kozhikode. Yasmin Mohammad Shaheed, his second wife, was also a teacher at the same institution. Yasmin was found guilty in 2018 of enlisting young people from Kerala for the Islamic State.

In March 2020, a video surfaced of Ayisha and Hindu doctor Nimisha. Nimisha married a Christian man, Bexon, both converted to Islam, and Nimisha assumed the name Fathima. Both these women were converted to Islam during their college days.

Ayisha wanted to live an Islamic life, but as per her, the ‘caliphate’ in Afghanistan was not ‘Islamic enough’. Men didn’t go to pray in the masjid routinely, she lamented.

 These ISIS brides wanted to return to Bharat but lay shocking conditions. Fathima said she would like to visit her mother’s place, provided she is not arrested by the state police, imprisoned or tortured. They expressed a desire to stay in a land ‘governed by the ideals of the Sharia’. 

Their views on Islam and life revealed the depth of brainwashing they were subjected to from an early age. Even after losing everything, they remain emotionally attached to Islamist doctrine. Non-Muslims questioned whether we are ready to absorb women who have spent four years amongst terrorists. Our government refused to take them back, and their current status remains unknown.

How many terrorists like Islam remain embedded in Kerala society, too, remains a mystery. How strong are our counter-terrorism policies?

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