The Islamic State, a militant group that has taken over parts of Iraq and Syria in a series of brutal assaults, is now setting its sights on Pakistan and Afghanistan with the distribution of “introductory” pamphlets in Pashto and Dari languages, according to locals.
The short pamphlet prominently features the Kalima, declaring belief in the oneness of Allah and his Prophet. It also includes a Kalashnikov, often depicted in jihadi literature, and the historical stamp of Islam’s Prophet.
“I was shocked to receive a pamphlet, Al Fateh, in Pashto as an introduction to the Islamic State,” said Saeed Khan Afridi, a local resident. He told Newsweek that that pamphlet appeared to have originated in Afghanistan and had been brought to Pakistan by refugees and the internally displaced persons of the ongoing Zarb-e-Azb military operation in North Waziristan. “
“I was given a copy by a friend who is an Afghan national,” he said. “He brought several copies with him to distribute in the Afghan refugee camps in Peshawar and Charsadda,” he said, adding that the pamphlets were being widely disseminated in the provincial capital. According to Afridi, the militant group has identified itself in the pamphlet and appealed the reader to support its struggle for the establishment of a caliphate in the region.
The Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, has established a “caliphate” led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and has declared plans to expand its territory throughout the Middle East. The oft-times brutal organization has been accused of war crimes by the United Nations, and has been responsible for attacks on minorities in occupied territory, including Yazidis and Christians.
A local commander of the banned Jamaat-ul-Ahrar—the new offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban—claimed that his group was aware of the distribution of over 200 copies of the pamphlets in Peshawar and surrounding refugee camps. However, speaking on condition of anonymity, he reiterated that the Pakistani Taliban was not allied with the group.
“We have our own agenda against the Pakistani state,” he said. “We are not affiliated with ISIL, but consider them brothers.” According to militant commander, ISIL has hired some local groups to distribute the magazine and promote their “cause.”