ISIS begins hunt for new leader in Afghanistan

A drone strike on Friday last claimed to have killed Hafiz Saeed in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. While many mistook him for the Hafiz Saeed of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, this man is actually one of the top commanders of the al-Khorasan which is the Afghanistan version of the ISIS.

His death has neither been confirmed or denied by the ISIS. The Indian intelligence agencies who have been monitoring the issue however say that in all probability Saeed is dead. How much of an impact does the death of Saeed have on the ISIS which is trying to make its mark in Afghanistan? Let us find out.


Who is Hafiz Saeed?

Hafiz Saeed was originally part of the Taliban. The 42 year old however fell out with the Taliban as he felt that they had become mouth pieces of the ISI, Pakistan. He then joined the Tehrik-e-Taliban and even fought against the Afghan Taliban. However over the past couple of months there was a shift in loyalty and Saeed decided to declare his support to the ISIS.

Always a recluse who believed in just waging war, Saeed was born in Mamozai on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. He attended school under extremely normal circumstances at the Khyber Pukthonkhwa district. The intelligence that has been gathered on him states that he was a peaceful boy and never indulged in any violent activity.

9/11 changed him:

Saeed was relatively a new entrant into the world of terror. He changed his perception and decided to fight the Americans when they invaded Afghanistan post 9/11. His first friend in the world of terror was Baitullah Mahsud who was then with the Taliban. Mahsud broke away a few years later and was part of the Tehrik-e-Taliban.

When Mahsud broke away and formed the TTP, Saeed too followed him. His was told to head the Orakzai division of the TTP. From a fierce fighter to one of the judges of the self styled Sharia courts, Saeed had climbed the ranks extremely soon.

Saeed however broke away from the Tehrik-e-Taliban as there were too many leadership issues. A fight between Hakimullah Mehsud and Baitullah Mahsud over the leader of the TTP broke the outfit and there was a wide split.

Joining the ISIS:

Saeed was clearly uncomfortable with the TTP after the split. He then decided that he would join the ISIS as the outfit appeared to be more serious in their fight. Saeed also felt that there was unity in the ISIS and the only focus was the cause and not the leadership like had become the case of the TTP.

It was at this time that the ISIS too was looking for a commander to head its operations in Afghanistan.

Saeed's decision to join the ISIS was backed by several others who had lost a platform to fight after they quit the TTP. The ISIS on the other hand was extremely impressed with his skills and made him the operations chief.

Saeed was well versed with the local issues of Afghanistan. Being a resident of the country, he had become an acceptable face among the fighters. He also took over the ISIS at a time when the Taliban finds itself at the cross roads thanks to the failing health of Mullah Omar.

The death of Saeed if confirmed is a huge blow for the ISIS. However for the Afghanistan intelligence NDS, this is a great victory. It was the NDS infact which had claimed that it had provided intelligence which led to the death of Hafiz Saeed.

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