The Islamic State terror group has claimed to have established a new “province” in India, the first of its kind announcement that came after clashes between militants and security forces in Kashmir on May 10.
The announcement of the new branch is seen as part of ISIS’ strategy to give the impression of strengthening its global affiliations following the territorial losses in the Middle East.
The Arabic name of the new branch is “Wilayah of Hind” (India Province), the dreaded terror outfit, (also known as ISIS and ISIL), said through its Amaq News Agency.
The brief ISIS statement of May 10 via the messaging app Telegram said that the Islamic State militants using machine guns had clashed with the Indian security forces in the village of Amshipora in Kashmir’s Shopian district, killing or injuring a number of them.
Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intel Group that tracks Islamic extremists, said: “ISIS declares its new “Hind Province” while claiming clashes with Indian forces in Amshipora”.
“Of course, the establishment of a ‘province’ in a region where it has nothing resembling actual governance is absurd, but it should not be written off,” she said on Twitter.
“It’s not for nothing that #ISIS announces its new “Central Africa” and “Hind” provinces — not to mention the “Turkey Province” pamphlet shown in recent video — around the same time ISIS shows Baghdadi, its “Caliph,” is alive,” Katz later added.
“The world may roll its eyes at these developments (I sure have), but to jihadists in these vulnerable regions, this are significant gestures to help lay the groundwork in rebuilding the map of the ISIS’ “Caliphate.” Thus, these regions should be closely watched,” concluded the SITE Director.
Previously, ISIS attacks in Kashmir were linked to its so-called Khorasan Province branch, which was set up in 2015 to cover “Afghanistan, Pakistan and nearby lands”.