MHA Designates Afghanistan Based Kashmir-Born IS Operative Aijaz As Terrorist

SRINAGAR: One of the chief recruiters of the Islamic State Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK), Aijaz Ahmad Ahanger, alias Abu Usman Al-Kashmiri, now suspected to be based in Afghanistan and wanted in J&K for more than two decades, was on Wednesday declared a designated terrorist by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

According to intelligence agencies, Aijaz’s name came on the radar after Afghan intelligence agencies launched an investigation into the attack on Kabul gurdwara on March 25, 2020.

The notification issued by the MHA stated, “Aijaz was appointed head of Islamic State (IS) recruitment cell for India and had been instrumental in initiating an online India-centric ISIS propaganda magazine. He is a wanted terrorist in J&K for more than two decades and has started planning terror-related strategies in J&K by building coordination channels between various terrorist organisations.”

The notification said Aijaz was born in Nawakadal, Srinagar, in 1974, and is presently based in Afghanistan. He is one of the chief recruiters of the ISJK, it stated.

“Aijaz has close contacts with Al-Qaida and other global terrorist groups and is engaged in restarting the Islamic State channels in India and is working towards providing traction to militancy in Kashmir,” the notification stated. The MHA said he has “started the process of identifying people for inclusion in his Kashmir-based network”.

Aijaz has been designated as individual terrorist under the UAPA, 1967, the MHA declared.  With his inclusion in the Fourth Schedule under UAPA, Ahanger will be the 49th individual to be designated a terrorist, it said.

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