ISIS militants on the run after police raid in Quetta

By Pakistan Forward and AFP

Police commandos in August in Karachi. [Rizwan Tabassum/AFP]

Police commandos in August in Karachi. [Rizwan Tabassum/AFP]

QUETTA -- A band of suspected "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) militants is on the run in Pakistan after escaping a police raid that killed six other members of the group, officials said Monday (January 10).

Counterterrorism police said in a statement they had stormed a hideout in Quetta on Saturday and killed six militants, but "around four to five managed to escape".

A senior police official speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP that "teams are now raiding different areas to arrest those who escaped".

Among the dead was Asghar Sumalani, a junior commander in the Khorasan branch of ISIS (ISIS-K). He had a 2-million-PKR ($11,400) bounty on his head.

Sectarian attacks

Pakistani officials have long played down the presence of ISIS-K in their country.

But the group has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks, including the slaying of 11 miners from the minority Shia Hazara community last year.

Some of the miners were beheaded after being kidnapped from a remote coal mine in the mountainous Mach area, 60km southeast of Quetta.

ISIS-K has deep roots in several provinces in eastern Afghanistan along the porous border with Pakistan.

The group carried out a suicide bombing at Kabul airport in August, killing scores including 13 US service members, after the previous Afghan government fell.

Last week Pakistani army Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar told reporters, "Pakistan ISIS is not very active," in response to concerns that the threat from the group is rising.

Pakistani authorities on December 29 announced that law enforcement agencies had broken up five major ISIS-K groups in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2021.

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