KARACHI: Pakistan has arrested a ‘most wanted’ militant it says is linked to the Zainabiyoun Brigade, with investigators saying on Thursday he had received military training in neighboring Iran.
The Zainabiyoun Brigade was placed on the US Treasury’s financial blacklist in January 2019 and is believed to have sent young members of the Pakistani Shiite community to fight in Syria.
“The arrested terrorist, Abbas Jafri, is a close aide of another most-wanted terrorist, Yawar Abbas, and, much like other members of the Zainabiyoun Brigade, got his military training in neighboring Iran,” Omar Shahid, deputy inspector general (DIG) of the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), said.
According to an official handout, Jafri, who was arrested in Karachi, was trained in 2014 and, among other skills, taught to perform intelligence operations and provide medical services.
“The arrested terrorist specialized in automatic weapons and received training from a neighboring country,” the handout added.
Press release and copy of FIR registered against the militant of Iran-backed Zainabiyoun Brigade arrested in Karachi on January 27, 2021. (Courtesy: Counter-Terrorism Department, Sindh Police)
Jafri, from whom weapons were confiscated, was also described as the right-hand man of Yawar Abbas and named in the “Red Book”, an official document on that lists names and profiles of hardened militants.
According to the police, Jafri was involved in carrying out reconnaissance activities for militants.
The arrested man has been shifted to an undisclosed location for further investigation, police said.
Earlier in December, CTD said it had arrested two members of the Zainabiyoun Brigade from the Korangi area of Karachi in connection with a string of killings over the last six years.
Tehran has not responded to the CTD’s claims.
On November 27, an AP report said that a group of Pakistanis was among 19 pro-Iran militia fighters killed in eastern Syria.
In March, a senior official told Arab News that up to 50 Pakistani fighters were killed by the Turkish army and Syrian forces in a major rebel stronghold in the northwest of the country.