Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan has asked the Afghan government to hand over custody of the regional chief of the ISIL (ISIS) armed group for “further investigations”, less than a week after he was arrested in connection with a bombing at a Sikh temple that killed more than 25 people.
Atif Mashal, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan, was summoned to the Pakistani foreign ministry to convey the request on Thursday, a Pakistani statement said.
“It was emphasised that Pakistan had been expressing its concerns over the activities of this group, which were clearly detrimental to Pakistan,” said the statement.
“Pakistan’s position in this regard was being regularly shared with the Government of Afghanistan and others concerned.”
Afghanistan is yet to officially respond to the request.
Aslam Farooqi, also known as Abdullah Orakzai, is the chief of ISIL’s “Khorasan Province” chapter, which operates in South Asia and Afghanistan, and was arrested by Afghan authorities on Saturday.
Farooqi, a Pakistani national, took over as chief of ISIL’s regional chapter in July 2019. The group has claimed responsibility for several attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan that killed tens of civilians.
Pakistan’s statement said the two countries “should coordinate actions against the menace of terrorism, including through established mechanisms”.
It asked that Farooqi be handed over to Pakistani authorities because “[he] was involved in anti-Pakistan activities in Afghanistan”.