Kerala youths killed in Afghanistan: US bombing doesn't deter IS recruits who want to fight for 'Allah's cause'

The death of two youths from Kerala in the US operations against the Islamic State in Afghanistan in the last two months has not deterred the remaining 19 people from pursuing their radical path. They are among 21 youths from Kasargod and Palakkad districts, who were reported missing from the state almost a year ago. Family members of some of the youths later expressed suspicion that they might have joined the Islamic State.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which took over the investigation of the case in August last year, confirmed that the youths, who included some women and children, had reached the Islamic State bastion in Afghanistan.

The family members have been forcing the youths to return after TK Hafeesudeen (24) from Padanna in Kasargod district was killed in a drone attack in Afghanistan in February this year. However, the youths are in no mood to change their mind even after a second casualty.

Image used for representational purpose only. Reuters

Image used for representational purpose only. Reuters

The second person, Murshid Muhammed, also from Padanna, was killed in the mega airstrike launched by the US Army in the Achin district of Afghanistan's Nangarhar Province last week. Ashfaq Majeed, who is among those in Afghanistan, informed his family members that Murshid had died while fighting Allah's cause.

Ashfaq's relative, B C Rehman, who communicated with the youth on a social media app Telegram, said that the casualties had made no effect on his resolve to devote the rest of his life to Allah. The chat between the two from 13 April to 19 April accessed by Firstpost revealed that none of the 19 youths, who remain in Afghanistan, were ready to return.

"Here (in Afghanistan) we are having a wonderful life. One more brother of ours got killed in the sake of Allah. We consider him to be a Shaheed and Allah knows best," Ashfaq replied when Rehman asked them during his chat on 13 April why they were continuing in the danger zone when they were being killed.

When Rehman asked Ashfaq to return to Kerala and live as a true Muslim sharing their wealth with the poor, he affirmed that they will never return.

"We will never meet again in this world. We can meet in heaven. We are waiting for our turn. We have love for life. But we do not want the kind of life that most people lead. This life has not have the value of even a feather a mosquito," Ashfaqq said.

He countered Rehman when he reminded him about the anguish of their parents and sibling asking what foolishness he was talking. "Have you not realised even now. For the sake of Allah."

When Rehman pointed out heaven is behind the feet of the mother, Ashfaq told him to remember that Allah had given the mother and therefore one should obey Allah first. He argued that heaven was not behind the feet of the mother alone.

"You are living among 'Murthadeengal and Musharikkukal' (Un-Islamic people and idol worshippers). You will not understand anything," Ashfaq said.

Ashfaq, who joined the 21-member group with his wife and child, said that his wife too was happy with the current life. He said that all the others in the group were also contented with their life in Afghanistan.

The family members had believed that the youths had chosen the radical path after they were influenced by the Salafist movement. However, Ashfaq had made it clear in his chat that they were following neither the Kerala nor Saudi Salafis, who support democracy.

When Rehman asked him about the group they follow, Ashfaq mentioned Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah. However, he did not explain it further., a website on Islamic studies, described it as the group that rightfully follow the methodology of Prophet Muhammed. The site says that the group includes the companions and those who followed them in the essence of belief. They are the people referred to in the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah when he said what mean, the site said.

Rehman told Firstpost that he was surprised how Ashfaq had taken to the radical path. He said that the 30-year-old youth, who belonged to an affluent business family, was helping his father in his business in Mumbai when the radical thoughts dawned on him. He said he cannot believe that he will join the militants to kill people because he had no shown any destructive traits in his life. "I don't think Ashfaq can even kill a mosquito. He had everything he wanted in his life," Rehman said.

He said most people in the group from Kasargod were of the same nature. They all hailed from affluent families. Many of them were highly qualified individuals. A couple of them were doctors and a few engineers and nurses.

The youth, who crossed over to Aghanistan, included six women and two children. Two women, who were pregnant, gave birth while in Afghanistan. Intelligence sources had said that the youths from the state were living in a conflict-free engaged in activities related to their professional qualification.

Rehman does not believe that the two who were killed in the US operation may have died while fighting. They might have been killed accidently during the operation.

Meanwhile, reports said that a third youth from Kerala in Afghanistan has been killed in the US operation. Reports in a section of the media have identified Shajeer Mangalaserri Abdullah as the third victim. However, there is no official confirmation about the death.

A report in The Times of India said Shajeer was the suspected kingpin of the Islamic State module in Kerala. A graduate from National Institute of Technology-Calicut (NITC), he was an expert in information technology. He completed B. Tech in civil engineering in 2002 and left for UAE in 2004 after he landed a job there, the report said.

The NIA that has been probing the Islamic State-related cases believes that Shajeer is the amir (leader) of the Kerala module that was busted at Kanakamala in Kannur district a few months ago and he had close links with the leadership of the terror outfit in Afghanistan. Media reports said that after reaching Afghanistan, he was in touch with the family members and friends through Telegram app and was regularly posting Malayalam propaganda material on Facebook via an account with profile name Sameer Ali.

Shajeer was a supporter of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political wing of the Popular Party of India (PFI) before joining the Islamic State. He was active in the Facebook group 'SDPI Keralam' formed by the party cadres and sympathisers. However, he was never spotted at any events organized by the party.

Updated Date: Apr 22, 2017 15:03 PM

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