Still from Wilayat Khorasan video
Contacts loyal to Islamic State (Wilayat Khorasan) have denied the death of leader Hafiz Saeed Khan in a drone strike in Afghanistan on Thursday claiming he is alive. An audio recording was circulated, IS did confirm others have been killed with some media reports claiming at least 11 deaths. The audio was in Pashto and therefore translated. The recording could not be independently verified but was uploaded on on 1/17/2016…details as follows,
Audio (translation of main points)
This is a clip about the death of Hafiz Saeed Khan. The radio presenter calls Hafiz Saeed and speaks to him directly saying that two days ago there were reports that you had been injured in a drone strike and then later died. Can you please tell us about this and give assurance to the people and Ummah that Hafiz sahib is alive and well.
Hafiz Saeed: These are all lies and they are not telling the truth I am well and I request the Muslims not to believe in these lies. I am well and alright and tell all Muslims about this that Wilayat Khorasan is operating in an organised way. They are not facing any hardship. All our friends are OK and organised. It is a lie started by the kafir. [end]
Radio presenter: Thank you for taking time out from your precious schedule and giving this happy news to the Momins and making them happy. Dear listeners this was Wilayat Khorasan, Hafiz Saeed Khan who himself said that he is fine. So now you can understand how the kufur people are spreading lies and false news that he was injured in drone strike and then later died.
When checking on the date of recording, I was told the following, “yes it is his recording after this drone strike. They are using the word Achin and the recent strikes were in Achin. now i am not sure where the previous (drone) strikes had been but back then there was no khilafat radio, so this conversation could not have taken place back then, that is for sure.”
Voice of America (VOA) also published the following,
“Achin district Governor Haji Ghalib, who had reported Hafiz Saeed Khan’s death Thursday, told VOA’s Afghan Service Friday: “The information we received yesterday was not accurate. After receiving accurate information, we realized he had not been killed.”
US has only recently designated ISIS Khorasan (Wilayat Khorasan) a Foreign Terrorist Organization but has targeted the group by drone over the past year leading to a number of deaths. This brings into question legal and moral issues once again, increases the radicalization of youth and the possibility of retaliation attacks putting the public at risk.
Statement from Department of State
[Public Notice: 9406] In the Matter of the Designation of ISIL Khorasan also known as Islamic State’s Khorasan Province also known as ISIS Wilayat Khorasan also known as ISIL’s South Asia Branch also known as South Asian Chapter of ISIL as a Foreign Terrorist Organization Pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as Amended
Based upon a review of the Administrative Record assembled in this matter, and in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury, I conclude that there is a sufficient factual basis to find that the relevant circumstances described in section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended (hereinafter “INA”) (8 U.S.C. 1189), exist with respect to ISIL Khorasan also known as Islamic State’s Khorasan Province also known as ISIS Wilayat Khorasan also known as ISIL’s South Asia Branch also known as South Asian chapter of ISIL.
Therefore, I hereby designate the aforementioned organization and its aliases as a foreign terrorist organization pursuant to section 219 of the INA. This determination shall be published in the Federal Register.
Dated: December 31, 2015.
John F. Kerry,
Secretary of State.
The following media statement was also posted on Twitter by Gabe Sehr ( UChicago/Wisco alum. Mostly
#natsec, MENA )
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.