India has come a long way indeed from the days when it was dependent on the international forces for support and intelligence in curbing terrorism and insurgency. According to an article published in The Indian Express, it has come to light how the Indian agencies managed to pull off an astounding counter-intelligence operation, where they managed to infiltrate an Islamic State ring to stop an Afghan suicide bomber from striking India’s capital New Delhi. The scale of involvement of the Indian “plant” can be amassed from the fact that he had supplied the Islamic State Afghan suicide bomber with explosives, albeit without triggers. He had also arranged for his stay in the national capital. The arrest of the suicide bomber had taken place in September 2017 in New Delhi but the top diplomatic authorities and intelligence sources have decided to divulge details to the paper only now.
The Afghan suicide bomber and Islamic State operative was living under the guise of an engineering student in the national capital. He was taken back to Afghanistan days after his arrest and is currently held at a key US military base in the country. His arrest in 2017 had been deemed so “high value” that it had led to a long list of success achieved by US forces against Taliban in Afghanistan. His confessions and interrogations had revealed important facts and figures regarding how, when and where the planned attacks in New Delhi had been planned. The nabbed IS operative also disclosed that he was one of the 12 suicide bombers who were entrusted with the task of carrying out blasts in different countries. According to sources of The Indian Express, a group of 12 Islamic State operatives had indeed been sent to different countries after receiving bomb related training in Pakistan. The sources of the paper had carried out an 18-month long surveillance operation in Afghanistan, Dubai and New Delhi which had yielded this conclusion.
The sources reconfirmed that an Afghan national in his mid-twenties and the “son of a wealthy businessman,” was given New Delhi as his target for the suicide attack. The IS operative had gotten himself enrolled in a private engineering college which was located along the Delhi-Faridabad highway. He had further rented an apartment in Lajpat Nagar. He was never out of sight of the security personnel from RAW though. A team of 80 Indian investigators and security personnel had been deployed for ‘physical surveillance” of the IS operative in the peak one-month period of the operations.
The Research and Analysis Wing or RAW had tracked a suspicious transfer of $50,000 by individuals who were being monitored in Dubai. The transfer was made to Afghanistan and further dots when linked pointed towards Delhi as a target for the suicide bomber. The decision to infiltrate the Islamic State was made then and there and a suitable candidate for befriending the Afghan suicide bomber was picked. The IS bomber visited Delhi Airport, Ansal Plaza mall, a Vasant Kunj mall as well as the South Extension market, among other places in New Delhi, as reconnaissance for the strike.
The Indian infiltrator was the one who had delivered the bombs without any triggers as the ultimate subterfuge to the Islamic State suicide bomber. His choice of bomb materials was similar to the ones used in the Manchester blast in UK on May 22, 2017.
This latest infiltration and sabotage operation shows the capability of the Indian intelligence agencies, in particular RAW. The potential terror strike in Delhi would have been deadly to say the least, given its population density. RAW operatives remain anonymous, even after retirement, and hence have no credit that is associated with their bravery. The only thing that motivates them is their discipline and their love for their motherland. Each and every Indian should be proud of the faceless security agents saving thousands of Indians lives by putting their lives on the line.