Islamic State announces new overseas province in India for the first time

ISIS IndiaThe group calling itself the Islamic State has announced the establishment of a new overseas province in India’s Jammu and Kashmir state. The announcement was made over the weekend by Amaq, which serves as the news agency of the Islamic State. According to the news release, the Islamic State (known also as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) has named the new province “wilayah al-Hind” (province of Hind), and said it is based in the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley, which is located in one of the three administrative divisions of the Indian administered state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Amaq report surfaced following an armed clash between a group of Islamist militants and Indian security forces in Amshipora, a village in the district of Shopian, which is in the foothills of the northern Himalayan Mountains. At least one Islamist militant was killed in the armed confrontation, which reportedly lasted two hours. Indian authorities identified the dead militant as Ishfaq Ahmad Sofi, and said he had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. The Amaq statement alleged that the militants in Amshipora had “inflicted casualties” on the security forces, but the claim was denied by the Indian government. The Reuters news agency spoke with Rita Katz, an Israeli analyst who directs the SITE Intelligence Group in the United States. She said that the announcement of a new Islamic State province “should not be written off”, but added that “the establishment of a province in a region where [the Islamic State] has nothing resembling actual governance is absurd”.

Writing in the Hong-Kong-based Asia Times, Prakash Katoch, a retired lieutenant general in the Indian Army’s Special Forces, said that the announcement of a wilayah in India was a first for the Islamic State. He warned that after announcing a province in Indian Kashmir, the Islamic State “may also attempt to increase its presence in other Indian states” with a significant Muslim presence, such as Kerala or West Bengal. Katoch noted that “a number of young men and women from Kerala” had been identified as having joined the Islamic State in 2016 and 2017. Several of them even traveled to Syria to fight for the Sunni Islamist group, he added.

Author: Ian Allen | Date: 14 May 2019 | Permalink

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Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai

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Pakistan removed spy from US at CIA’s request

ISI HQ

ISI HQ

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A Pakistani intelligence officer was quietly removed from the United States last April, after the director of the CIA complained about him to his Pakistani counterpart. According to The New York Times, which aired the revelation last weekend, the then Director of the CIA, Leon Panetta, had “a tense conversation” with Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI), which led to the removal “within days” of the ISI officer. The officer in question is Mohammed Tasleem, whose diplomatic cover was that of attaché in the Pakistani Consulate in New York, but whose actual task was monitoring the political activities of the sizeable Pakistani diaspora in the United States. According to the FBI, which briefed the CIA about Tasleem earlier this year, his intelligence activities centered on pressuring politically active Pakistanis in the United States to refrain from speaking publicly on ‘controversial issues’. FBI counterintelligence reports claim that, on at least one occasion, Tasleem posed as an FBI agent, in order to extract intelligence from a member of the Pakistani community in the United States. The Times spoke to members of Pakistan’s ex-pat community who allege that the ISI systematically approaches Pakistanis speaking openly about ‘national issues’, such as the indigenous insurgency in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, the disputed Indian region of Kashmir, or Pakistan’s appalling human rights record. Read more of this post

Two US citizens charged with spying for Pakistan

Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai

Syed Fai

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
American counterintelligence officers have indicted two US citizens of Pakistani origin with trying to influence Congress and the White House on behalf of the government of Pakistan. According to court documents filed on Tuesday by the FBI in Virginia, Zaheer Ahmad (who escaped arrest and may be currently in Pakistan) and Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai acted as unregistered agents of a foreign government (legal terminology for espionage) while operating under the direction of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI). Both men were leading members of the Kashmiri American Council, a lobby group that propagates Pakistan’s territorial claim to the northwester Indian region of Kashmir. Pakistan and India fought over Kashmir in 1947 and 1967, and have been engaged in constant low-intensity conflict over the territory ever since. The Kashmiri American Council is one of three Kashmir Councils in the West, the other two being in London, UK, and Brussels, Belgium. But the FBI court affidavit claims that the Kashmir Centers are ISI front-organizations, and that the activities of their employees are directed by the ISI. Specifically, the FBI alleges that Fai, who acted as the Council’s director in Washington, routinely coordinated his endeavors with his ISI handlers, usually communicating with them via email. The court documents mention a witness testimony that claims Fai has been an ISI operative for over two decades, and that in recent years he has been receiving between $500,000 and $700,000 per annum from Pakistani intelligence. Much of this money ended up in the pockets of influential American politicians, in the form of campaign donations. Read more of this post

Indian police claim arrest of German ‘spy’ in Punjab

Bhakra dam

Bhakra dam

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A senior police official in the Indian district of Ropar has said that a German national arrested there last week was on a “spying mission” on behalf of the German government. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, senior superintendent of police L.K. Yadav claimed that Thomas Kuehn, of Hamburg, Germany, had confessed to being a “German spy”. The 45-year-old Kuehn was reportedly arrested last Friday in a Hindu temple near the Bhakra dam in Punjab. Police officials grew suspicious when the German national failed to present them with “passport, visa or other required documents”. He initially claimed that he had lost his travel documentation, but later said his passport had been taken by his “Russian girlfriend” who was “in Nepal”. Shortly afterwards, Indian police officials reportedly discovered that Kuenh spent 18 months in a German prison in the late 1980s, for spying on behalf of Czechoslovakia. Read more of this post