US Offers $10 Million Reward To Help Track ISIS-K Leader
Washington, United States: The United States on Monday offered a $10-million reward for information leading to the “identification or location” of Sanaullah Ghafari, the leader of the Afghanistan regional chapter of the ISIS group.
According to Washington, Sanaullah Ghafari — also known as Shahab al-Muhajir — was appointed head of ISIS-K in June 2020 by the ISIS group.
The UN Security Council says he is responsible for approving all ISIS-K operations throughout Afghanistan and arranging funding for operations and has masterminded terror attacks in both Pakistan and Afghanistan and acts using IEDs and assassinations resulting in hundreds of deaths in 2021
He is also suspected of supplying, selling arms and recruiting for ISIS-K.
In November, the State Department designated Ghafari as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist”.
The reward offered by the US State Department was also for any information that would aid in arresting or convicting those responsible for the “terrorist attack at the Kabul airport” on August 26, which was claimed by the ISIS-Khorasan (IS-K).
The attack, which killed more than 100 people including 13 American soldiers, was launched as the United States orchestrated its chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and the evacuation of Afghans deemed under threat by the Taliban’s takeover.
It left President Joe Biden’s administration struggling to answer accusations that the State Department could have evacuated Americans sooner instead of putting US troops at risk.
A US investigation ruled the attack “unpreventable”, and said those who died had wounds “so catastrophic” that they could not be overcome.
ISIS-K is the Afghan offshoot of ISIS, which originated in Iraq and Syria.
“Ghafari is responsible for approving all ISIS-K operations throughout Afghanistan and arranging funding to conduct operations,” the State Department said in a statement.
He had been blacklisted in November as a foreign terrorist.
Little is known about Ghafari, although his nom de guerre suggests he arrived in the region from the Arab world.
He is rumored to have been an Al-Qaeda commander or a former member of the Haqqani network, one of the most powerful and feared factions in the Taliban.
ISIS-K has been responsible for some of the deadliest attacks in the region in recent years, massacring civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan, at mosques, shrines, public squares and hospitals.
The group has especially targeted Muslims from sects it considers heretical, including Shiites — much like the original ISIS group.
It was hit hard by both the Taliban and US-led forces and was losing influence but its attacks have ramped up since their rival Islamists took power in August.