London: A Pakistan-based militant group has become the first jihadi outfit in the South Asia region to break ranks from al-Qaeda and declare its allegiance to the Islamic State, that has seized power across Iraq and Syria.
Little known outfit Tehreek-e-Khilafat, which has claimed responsibility for a string of attacks in Karachi, has pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and vowed to raise the Islamic State's flag in South Asia, the Telegraph reported. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, declared himself as Caliph and renamed the ISIS as Islamic State.
“Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi shall consider Tehreek-e-Khilafat and Jihad mujahideen fighters of Pakistan as one of the arrows among his arrows which he has kept for his bow. “We are praying from the almighty Allah to give us chance in our lives to see the expansion of Islamic State boundaries toward the SubContinent and Khurasan region in order to hoist the flag of Islamic State here,” the group said.
Khurasan is the historic name used by militants for an area covering Afghanistan, Pakistan and some parts of India. The group is believed to be the first outfit beyond the Middle East to have offered support to Islamic State. Tehreek-e-Khilafat is considered part of the Pakistan Taliban, an umbrella movement linked to al-Qaeda containing dozens of terrorist groups, racketeers and sectarian outfits.
The Tehreek-e-Khilafat's support could bolster Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's influence as he tries to win support for his caliphate, potentially extending his influence into South Asia and challenging al-Qaeda leadership. ISIS or IS is an al-Qaeda splinter group and it has seized hundreds of square miles in Iraq and Syria, declaring an Islamic Caliphate.
Al-Qaeda has distanced itself from the group, chiding it for its lack of teamwork in its aggressive, brutal expansion.