As the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) claimed the responsibility for the Kabul airport attacks which left more than 100 people including 13 US marines dead, and 200 persons injured, the name of Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) chief Maulavi Abdullah aka Aslam Farooqui, a Pakistani national, also in the news.

Aslam is the mastermind of many attacks in Kabul including the massacres at a Sikh Gurudwara and a hospital last year. The ISKP had cited "revenge" for the Muslims of Kashmir' as their motive while claiming responsibility for the 25 March Kabul Gurdwara attack in which several Afghan Sikhs and one Indian national were killed.

ISKP cadres have been carrying out attacks in Kabul with the Haqqani Network. Both outfits are closely linked with Pakistan's notorious agency ISI. According to experts the ISI has been using the ISKP and the Haqqani network to keep a close watch on the activities of the Taliban leadership.

Aslam Farooqui was arrested by the Afghan security forces in April last year but when the Taliban took over Kabul on August 15, they released all the militants from Bagram prison including him.

While in the custody of Afghan security forces, Aslam Farooqi had confessed his ties with the ISI and that is why Pakistan was desperate for his extradition which was refused by the then Afghan government.

Now it is believed, the mastermind of the Kabul airport attack was Aslam Farooqi, the chief of ISKP. The Taliban claims that ISKP is its sworn enemy but interestingly the Taliban freed him from the Bagram prison.

A week back, ISKP's propaganda video clip accused the Taliban of being puppets of the United States and not preaching the true 'sharia'. In that same message, ISIS promised a "new phase of jihad" in Afghanistan, heralding a wave of attacks. This Thursday, they lived up to that promise.

Quoting the IS's official Amaq news agency, the Guardian reports that ISKP has released the picture of one of the suicide bombers "Abdul Rahman al-Lowgari who carried out the martyrdom operation near Kabul Airport."

The statement by the IS further said: "The attacker was able to reach a distance of no less than five metres from the American forces, who were supervising the procedures for collecting documents from hundreds of translators and contractors in preparation for their evacuation from the country."

According to the intelligence experts, though ISKP is "weaker" than its rival the Taliban, it draws immense support from the Haqqani Network (HQN) and its leader Sirajuddin Haqqani. In what is a rather complex link, Haqqani also happens to be a deputy leader of the Taliban and a member of the Taliban's peace negotiating team.

The Islamic State officially announced the formation of its Afghan affiliate in January 2015, under the name of the Khorasan Province (a historical region of the Persian empire that encompasses parts of Iran, Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan) or ISIS-K or ISKP.

Pakistani national Maulavi Abdullah aka Aslam Farooqi, who was earlier associated with the Pakistan based terror groups, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), and then Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) terror group, replaced Mawlawi Zia-ul-Haq aka Abu Omar Khorasani as ISKP chief in April 2019. Farooqi belongs to Mamozai tribe and from Orakzai agency area on Pak-Afghan border.

By Mrityunjoy Kumar Jha

(The content is being carried under an arrangement with indianarrative.com)