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Business News/ News / World/  Moscow attack gunmen trained in Pakistan? Taliban flags ‘ISIS recruitment hubs’
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Moscow attack gunmen trained in Pakistan? Taliban flags ‘ISIS recruitment hubs’

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the incident with US intelligence pointing to the Islamic State – Khorasan Province offshoot.

In this photo taken from video released by Russian Emergency Ministry Press Service on Sunday, March 24, 2024, rescuers work in the burned concert hall after a terrorists attack on the building of the Crocus City Hall (AP)Premium
In this photo taken from video released by Russian Emergency Ministry Press Service on Sunday, March 24, 2024, rescuers work in the burned concert hall after a terrorists attack on the building of the Crocus City Hall (AP)

The Taliban has linked a recent ISIS-claimed attack to ‘terror hubs’ in Pakistan. More than 130 people were killed on Friday night as terrorists opened fire inside a Moscow concert hall — the deadliest attack faced by Russia in years. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the incident with US intelligence pointing to the Islamic State – Khorasan Province offshoot. 

Reports by Al-Mirsad English quoted sources to indicate that a recent attack in the Afghan city of Kandahar was perpetuated by an individual named Madiyarov Asadbek. He had undergone intellectual and religious training in Balochistan for two months after joining the Khorasan branch of the terror outfit. IS-K has also been held responsible for the Moscow attack.

“Sources suggest that Balochistan currently serves as a significant stronghold for the Khorasan branch of ISIS, housing hideouts, training facilities and bomb-making workshops. Furthermore it has been disclosed that the leader of the Khorasan branch ---Shihab Al-Muhajir ---and his close associates are residing in Balochistan province, orchestrating attacks not only in Afghanistan but also globally," Hindustan Times quoted the publication as saying. 

It dubbed Balochistan as ‘one of the main hubs of ISIS Khorasan branch’ and flagged the ISIS-K threat emerging from neighbouring Tajikistan. It is pertinent to note here that Russian news reports have also identified the concert hall gunmen as citizens of Tajikistan. Lawmaker Alexander Khinshtein said a pistol, a magazine for an assault rifle, and passports from Tajikistan were found in their getaway car. 

What is ISIS-K?

The group takes its name from Khorasan Province, a region that covered much of Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia in the Middle Ages. The branch started with several hundred Pakistani Taliban fighters who took refuge across the border in Afghanistan after Pakistani military operations drove them out of their home country. Its fighters have repeatedly carried out attacks in Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power in 2021.

IS-K has thousands of members and is the Taliban's most bitter enemy and top military threat. The group has continued to carry out attacks in Afghanistan and beyond since the Taliban takeover. They were behind the August 2021 suicide bombing at the Kabul airport that left 13 US troops and about 170 Afghans dead during the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. IS-K also claimed responsibility for the bomb attack in Kerman, Iran, in January that killed 95 people at a memorial procession for Gen. Qassem Soleimani, an Iranian general who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2020.

 

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 24 Mar 2024, 04:49 PM IST
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