English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

Pakistani women continue to join ISIS in droves – South Asia Press

The report says that as many as 24 Pakistani women are in jails of Afghanistan with their children for having links with the ISKP

More than 24 Pakistani women with close links with the terrorist organisation ISKP are in Afghanistan jails and some of them are hard core cadres of the group.

An investigative report by the South Asia Press revealed that Pakistani women continue to join militant groups in Afghanistan. Some of them were caught and imprisoned by the authorities of the Afghanistan government. The women are among thousands of IS fighters and affiliates, including children, who surrendered before the Afghanistan authorities in the last few years. They were tried by the Afghan courts and accordingly awarded the sentences.

Citing the internal official letters and memos between the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul and Pakistani Foreign Office, Islamabad, the report says that as many as 24 Pakistani women are in jails of Afghanistan with their children for having links with the ISKP.

In a letter the Pakistani mission in Kabul says, “the embassy’s paid visit to women prisoners' jail at Pul e Charkhi Kabul on 30th may 2021. There were 24 Pakistani prisoners along with their 46 children. All these women and children are Daesh affiliated prisoners. A statement showing their names and addresses in Pakistan and their interviews recorded by the team enclosed for the Ministry's kind information.”

Interestingly, Karachi based NGO, Ansar Burney Trust International had given a list of 30 Pakistani women prisoners along with their 60 children to the Pakistani foreign ministry.

The “enclosed” documents also show the sentences which vary from 3 years to 10 years to these prisoners according to their “crimes” in Afghanistan.

The news website spoke to one of the family members of the women on the list, who confirmed that their daughter was being held in prison for over a year now.

“She had problems at home with her husband. She did not approach us and instead approached her friend from a local seminary, who recruited her, and took her to Afghanistan,” says her relative. Few of them were recruited directly by the terrorist organisation through madarsa while others accompanied their spouses.

Pakistan has been denying the existence of Islamic IS in Pakistan but there are hundreds of Pakistanis in ISKP.  Pakistan, a country with an unprecedented youth bulge, has become a massive recruitment pool for ISIS over the years.

In 2017, Pakistani daily The News had reported that around one dozen girl students of high profile educational institutions missing recently from different areas of the Sindh province were believed to have joined Daesh.

A recent UN monitoring team report has revealed that most of the 6,000 to 6,500 Pakistani militants in Afghanistan belong to the various factions of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. And there are more than 1000 Pakistani in ISKP.

Two years back, in November 2019, in a two-month-long ‘clearance operation’ by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) against ISKP, 50 terrorists were killed, around 60 fled to Pakistan, and more than 250 ISKP members, along with 426 children and 237 women, surrendered to ANSF. The surrendered were mostly Pakistani.

Last month, the Afghan government got in touch with 14 countries to discuss what to do with hundreds of their citizens who have been captured while fighting alongside the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP).  The foreign nationals in Afghan custody are 408 ISKP members, including 173 women and children. According to the Afghan government, 299 of them are from Pakistan, 37 from Uzbekistan, 16 from China, 13 from Tajikistan, 12 from Kyrgyzstan, five from Russia, five from Jordan, five from Indonesia, four from India, four from Iran, three from Turkey, two from Bangladesh and two from Maldives.

Both Indian and Afghan authorities believe that the IS presence in the region is sustained by Pakistan’s spy agency ISI’s support. After the Kabul Gurudwara attack last year, Afghan authorities arrested ISKP leader Abdullah Orakzai, also known as Aslam Farooqi, a Pakistani national. His arrest indicates the close links between the Pakistan army and terror groups operating in the region. The Afghan sources say that Farooqi has links with the ISI and that's why Pakistan is desperately seeking extradition of Farooqi from Afghanistan.

Read More: Why is Pakistan desperate to extradite Aslam Farooqi, mastermind of the Gurudwara attack, from Afghanistan?

The Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) is the Islamic State’s local franchise in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Despite initial skepticism about the group’s existence from analysts and government officials alike, ISKP has been responsible for more than100 attacks against civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Despite the Pakistani claim to prevent ISIS from taking root, it will be difficult to do so given these conditions and the wide range of Islamist terrorist groups already operating in the country.