NEW DELHI: Founding member of the Al-Qaida in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) Mohammed Asif and his close aide Abdul Rehman Kataki were arrested from Delhi and Odisha in a joint operation of Delhi Police, Odisha police and Central intelligence agencies.
According to official sources, an Al-Qaeda module was planning a big attack in Delhi. The agencies are on the lookout for three more AQIS members. “Asif and associates were being tracked for the last three-and-a-half months. Asif is suspected to have recruited two terror operatives, which later joined terror outfits in Afghanistan,” a source said.
The AQIS was floated by Ayman Al Zawahiri in September 2014 and Asif was physically present at Miran Shah along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border when the seeds of the AQIS were sown in 2013. Asif is said to be a distant relative of AQIS chief Maulana Asim Umar, who had anointed Asif as Amir of AQIS’ India chapter. Born in Sambhal, UP, in 1974, Asif was radicalised sometime during 2009-2012 and came in contact with Qasim, a deputy of Asim, also a native of Sambhal.
Qasim introduced Asif to Jihadi propaganda of Asim Umar and later recruited him for terrorist activities.
According to sources, Asif received money to recruit two vulnerable youths from UP and on June 23, 2013, they travelled to Pakistan via Iran. From there, Asif and the two other Indian recruits crossed over to Pakistan and reached Quetta.
From Quetta, Asif and the recruits went to Ghazni in Afghanistan and then to Junubi, South Waziristan and ultimately to Sumali in North Waziristan. In Sumali, Asif met Usman, a Al Qaeda recruit from Sabhal. Tracking the pugmarks of the terrorists, intelligence officials have decoded the entire Sabhal module, which is part of the Al Qaeda.
Besides Usman, Qasim alias Sayed Akhtar and Asim Umar, Chief of AQIS, also belongs to Deepa Sarai, in Sambhal. Asim’s original name is Sanaul Haq, but his real identity since his name was announced by Zawahiri remained in the domain of speculation.“Asif is the only one from India who got to know the real face behind the Asim, who was an unending mystery for security agencies,” a source said. A senior official said two recruits, who accompanied Asif, joined the Al-Qaida unit in Pakistan and were given training.
14 ISI Moles arrested in 2015
A BSF jawan and five serving and retired Army personnel are among the 14 persons arrested on the charges of spying for Pakistan’s ISI this year. Seven civilians and one Pakistani national were also arrested on the same charges. Although MoS Home Affairs Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary told Parliament that no significant information was passed on by those arrested, the recent arrest of Abdul Rashid, of the BSF’s intelligence wing, had triggered panic in security agencies.