Teenage terrorist recruiter arrested in US, says with the collapse of IS, Pakistan based LeT is new attraction among Jihadis

The transcripts of their cyber interactions in court documents give chilling insights into the raging hate of the world of jihadis.

Published: 12th March 2019 12:27 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th March 2019 12:27 PM   |  A+A-

Militancy, gun,terrorist

For representational purposes (File | AFP)


NEW YORK: US intelligence agents laid a cyber trail all the way to a fake terror camp in Pakistan, mastered idioms and style of Islamic terrorists giving a convincing portrayal of jihadis in a bid to infiltrate a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) recruitment ring.

The strategy led to the arrest of an American teenager, who was at the centre of an alleged conspiracy to recruit fighters for the Pakistan-based LeT, and a suspected co-conspirator, who was stopped on his way to join the terrorist group.

The transcripts of their cyber interactions in court documents give chilling insights into the raging hate of the world of jihadis.

It is a quintessential case which shows a disturbing trend that with the collapse of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq, Pakistan-based terror organisations operating against India may become an attractive alternative for aspiring jihadis.

Michael Kyle Sewell, the teenaged recruiter, told Jesus Wilfredo Encarnacion, 29, whom he was guiding that "he should not join the IS because IS had no territory", instead he suggested the "LeT and the Taliban" as "worth joining".

The "LeT was a well-funded group in Pakistan operating in Kashmir, Afghanistan and India", is what he said according to court filings. Both men were arrested in February and now face trial on terrorism-related charges.

Documents filed in federal courts in two separate cases, one against Sewell in Dallas, and another against Encarnacion in New York, include expletive-filled accounts of interactions between the alleged terrorists and the undercover operatives that give a peek into terrorism networks.

The document says that the ring they infilitrated was made up of nine people who operated through "a group chat for American Jihadis" on social media.

At one point, according to the transcripts of interactions, the FBI employee takes a swipe at President Donald Trump to build their terrorist credentials writing, "US all infidels. With the king Trump."

He also boasts, "We strike the heart of India. ... You hear the Mumbai attack"? - a reference to the 2008 attack that killed 163 people. The transcripts portray Sewell and Encarnacion as blood-thirsty persons motivated by blind hatred, not only against Hindus but also moderate Muslims.

The transcripts don't reveal much about the lives of Sewell and Encarnacion, other than that Encarnacion lived in New York's Washington Heights neighborhood and said he was from a family from the Dominican Republic, and Sewell was a native-born American.

In November last year, Encarnacion wrote to the undercover employee, "You guys are against India. I read up on ya. You are beefing with India over Muslim land.

"I (expletive) hate Hindus. They can go to hell and I'm going to help you," according to the document. He added, "Will I live in Pakistan? I want to fight. I want to execute. I want to behead".

Forensic scientist Malini Subramanyam wrote in the Forensic Research and Criminology International Journal in 2018 that some, who become terrorists were "in search of an identity ... seeking a sense of purpose and self-worth."

The two seem to fit this profile. Encarnacion, who used the screen name "Jihadistsoldgier", introduced himself to the jihadi group saying, "I want to fight till death alongside the Islamic State. ... I'm a lone wolf looking for a family I can strike the crusaders. ... I want to be part of a family willing to kill not afraid of death", according to Yockel's affidavit.


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