New Delhi: Jihadi trainer and recruiter Aijaz Ahmad Ahangar alias Abu Usman Al-Kashmiri, 55, was an active terrorist in Jammu and Kashmir for many years and was arrested several times. He has been missing since his last release from jail in Kashmir in 1996 and has now once again become a security threat for Jammu and Kashmir.Aijaz’s name came to light in 2020 when Afghan intelligence agencies launched an investigation into the attack on Kabul Gurdwara on March 25, 2020. The head of the Islamic State for Khurasan Province (ISPK) and his accomplices were considered responsible for the attack.ALSO READ | ABP Shikhar Sammelan: Who Will Be Face Of Congress In UP? Know State Chief Ajay Kumar Lallu’s Take25 Sikh devotees were killed in the attack on the Gurdwara, an incident that had greatly strained relations between Afghanistan and India.Afghan and U.S. intelligence agencies were requested to support this investigation, and ultimately some arrests were made near Kandahar in April 2020. Among those arrested were ISPK chief Aslam Farooqi Maulvi Abdullah, Ali Mohammad, and Tanveer Ahmed. Two of the arrested identified themselves as Farooqi and Tanveer and proved that they were Pakistani and Bangladeshi Citizens respectively. However, the third arrested person, Ali Mohammad, from Islamabad, Pakistan, kept Afghan security agencies in the dark for many days.Arrested Ali Mohammed was none other than ISPK’s fidayeen recruiter and trainer, Aijaz Ahmad Ahangar alias Abu Usman Al Kashmiri, who had been in hiding for the past 25 years while evading Indian authorities. Born in Bugam on the outskirts of Srinagar city, Aijaz Ahangar was not the only one in his family to become a terrorist. According to security agencies, his father-in-law Abdullah Ghazali alias, Abdul Ghani Dar was the commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba and played a major role in the formation of Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen in 1990. Foreign mercenaries recruited from Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir were prominent members of the group. Ghazali was 50 years old then when Aijaz came in contact with him and was influenced by his ideologies. He was the one who motivated Aijaz to walk on the path of terror. Aijaz was first arrested in 1992 and was in jail for several years. It was in prison that Abdullah Ghazali fixed his daughter Rukhsana’s marriage with him and got the two married after their release in 1994. Aijaz then moved to Abdullah Ghazali’s house in the Nawa Kadal area of Srinagar. But even during this time, Aijaz still remained active in terrorist activities and was again arrested in 1995 and sent to jail. As soon as he was released from prison in 1996, he first escaped to Bangladesh and then to Pakistan on a fraudulent passport. His relationship with Pakistani Intelligence agency ISI could be clearly understood by the way he was protected by them while he was in Pakistan.Aijaz was first settled in Islamabad and was joined by this wife Rukhsana and children sometime later with fraudulent passports. But a few years later, upon Ruksana’s visit to Kashmir to meet her family, her passport was confiscated and she was never able to return to her husband. According to intelligence reports, Aijaz also married Ayesha from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in 2008. At some point in time, Aijaz Ahangar and his family were transferred to the Meeranshah area of Waziristan, near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. He joined ISIS after a brief association with Al-Qaeda first. Aijaz Ahangar later joined the Islamic State of Khurasan Province. Abdullah Umais, son of Aijaz Ahangar, also joined the battle in Nangarhar, Afghanistan, and was killed a few years ago. His son-in-law, Huzafa-al-Bakistan, was a top online recruiter of ISKP and later the chief recruiter for ISIS in Jammu and Kashmir. But on July 18, 2019, he was also killed in a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.In the midst of all this, what is prominent is that Aijaz has been a great source of inspiration for active terrorists in Kashmir. He would meet every terrorist who went to Pakistan for weapons training and was quite good at recruiting and brainwashing youngsters to pick up arms and turn jihadists. After joining ISIS, he not only prepared extremists but also worked on developing bombs for suicide attacks. Born in the old city of Srinagar, Aijaz was lodged in Kabul’s Pul-e-Charkhi prison along with IS Khorasan chief Aslam Farooqui, on grounds of training terrorists for Kabul Gurdwara attack and mobilizing terrorists for ISIS in India.From the remote Kunar region in Afghanistan, Aijaz Ahmad Ahangar trained and operated a network of Fidayeen suicide squad attackers selected among Indian nationals. One of them, a former dentist Ijas Kaluketia Puriyal and his accomplice Kerala resident Muhammad Mohsin were killed in Jalalabad last year. Ahangar launched a propaganda campaign targeting new jihadi recruits in India and established terrorist cells inside Kashmir.He has for long been a trusted asset of Inter-Services Intelligence. The jihadist had served as a precursor to the Harkat-ul-Jihad Islamic-Harkat-ul-Mujahideen in Afghanistan and then worked in Kashmir. In 2002, newspapers in Muzaffarabad printed pictures of him carrying the severed head of Bhausaheb Maruti Tilekar, a member of the Maratha Light Infantry division of the Indian Army.The Taliban killed Farooqi after their takeover of Kabul on August 15, but Aijaz escaped with his wife and daughter. His whereabouts are now unknown. It is said that Aijaz has very close ties with the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI. Ejaz’s disappearance is not only a matter of concern for Afghanistan but also to India because of his proficiency in recruiting and mobilising youth in Kashmir and Kerala for terrorism. 

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