On-the-run ISIS leader is ‘hiding out in eastern Afghanistan’
On-the-run ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is hiding out in eastern Afghanistan, claims security expert
- ISIS released propaganda video featuring leader for the first time since 2014
- Al-Baghdadi’s location has been narrowed down from 17 locations to just four
- A threat-analysis expert thinks the ISIS leader could already be in Afghanistan
Having previously been identified to be in one of four locations, a security expert has claimed that the world’s most wanted man is in a remote region of Eastern Afghanistan.
ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s location was narrowed down to just four locations after the terrorist group released a propaganda video featuring him for the first time in five years.
Believed to have fled his hide-out in either, Syria or Iraq – both former ISIS strongholds – Zaid Hamid, a founding member of the BrassTacks threat analysis think tank said he could already be in Afghanistan.
ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s location has been narrowed down to just four locations after the terrorist group released a propaganda video featuring him (pictured)
The veteran of the Afghan-Soviet war tweeted questioning the decor of the room the terrorist was sitting in: ‘This is a grab from the latest video of ISIS leader Baghdadi.
‘Note the style of the bedding & the pillows….Is he already in Afghanistan?’
Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, speaking earlier this month, said the purported appearance by the jihadist group’s elusive supremo showed him in what appeared to be a ‘very simple and isolated’ location.
Mahdi did not confirm which country al-Baghdadi was in, but Iraqi security adviser Hisham al-Hashemi said officials had narrowed his whereabouts from 17 to a possible four locations.
al-Baghdadi’s last known shown in northern Iraq with his possible location in Afghanistan shown on the right. He would have faced a perilous journey through Iran
Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdel Mahdi cautioned that IS ‘will try to rebuild trust among its fighters, will try to launch further operations’ like the Sri Lanka April 21 attacks which killed more than 250 people
Neither Mahdi or al-Hashemi specified a location but Hamid thinks he has chosen the destination favoured by terrorists fleeing the destroyed caliphate in Syria and Iraq – a region known as Islamic State- Khorasan Province, or simply IS-KP.
However, Hamid’s observation is weakened by the factor of the route the terror leader would have to take to Afghanistan, a perilous traipse through the breadth of Shiite-dominated Iran.
Husham al-Hashmi also believes al-Baghdadi is still Syria or Iraq having tracked him for almost a year alongside a special cell formed with US Special Operations Command.
al-Baghdadi, delivering a sermon at a mosque in Iraq during his first public appearance, in 2014
Speaking with the Rudaw news outlet, Hashmi said: ‘They have up to now succeeded in eliminating 13 out of 17 possible locations.’
The possible locations are the deserts of Iraq’s western Anbar, Iraq’s Wadi Houran — a riverbed in Anbar or in Syria’s mid-east Homs desert.
The group lost its remaining territory in the Syrian town of Baghouz in March, but Mahdi warned the so-called Islamic State ‘has not completely disappeared but suffered painful blows’.
He cautioned that IS ‘will try to rebuild trust among its fighters, will try to launch further operations’ like the Sri Lanka April 21 attacks which killed more than 250 people.
Zaid Hamid, a founding member of the BrassTacks threat analysis think tank said al-Baghdadi could already be in Afghanistan
‘Daesh was broken, but if little cells are left, it could reactivate and resurface and commit painful attacks,’ he added, according to interpreted remarks.
Similarly, German chancellor Angela Merkel said the video was a sign that ‘we will remain occupied for some time to come with the question of how IS can finally be defeated’.
The speaker in the 18-minute video, a man with a long grey beard that appeared dyed with henna, sat in a room with a Kalashnikov assault rifle leaning against the wall behind him.
He was identified as Baghdadi by both SITE, which tracks IS activity, and Hisham al-Hashemi.
Meanwhile, a French IT expert said Baghdadi took a risk in broadcasting the video, but added that IS probably has specialists able to cover any tracks.
‘Daesh has a specialist cyber brigade, they’re being tracked by security services. They know how to use multiple filters before distributing something,’ said Gregoire Pouget of cybersecurity NGO Nothing2Hide.
‘They are not idiots, these masking tools are easy to use.’
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