Pakistan has reportedly acknowledged a growing presence of ISIS inside its borders. Pakistan’s Director General of the Intelligence Bureau Aftab Sultan expressed concerns about ISIS activity in Pakistan before the country's senate on Feb. 10.
Sultan said banned terrorist organizations such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba are reforming with a heavier ISIS influence, reports The Express Tribune.
Pakistani officials noted that local terrorist groups are increasingly cooperating with ISIS despite rivalries.
“TTP coordinates with Daesh [ISIS] despite being rivals in Afghanistan,” said Sultan.
“The intelligence bureau is identifying signs of the militants’ presence in the country and carrying out arrests where necessary. There are reports of fighters being recruited by sectarian and other outfits, and being sent to Syria. The number of people leaving from Pakistan to Syria to join IS[IS] are in hundreds.”
ISIS is the most well-funded terrorist organization in the world, generating $400-500 million in oil-related revenue in 2015.
The expansion of ISIS influence to terrorist groups in Pakistan is part of a larger trend of the terrorist group towards getting the support of smaller, local terror groups around the world, reports Israel National News.
More than 30 terrorist groups around the world are known to have offered support for ISIS, despite the group’s loss of territory in Iraq and Syria.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a speech in early February that up to 34 terror groups worldwide are acting in support of ISIS, and added that the number of ISIS affiliates is likely to increase in 2016. The UN chief described ISIS as an “unprecedented threat.”
ISIS has gained supporters in the Philippines, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Libya and Nigeria, reports Israel National News.
“The recent expansion of the [Daesh] sphere of influence across west and north Africa, the Middle East and south and southeast Asia demonstrates the speed and scale at which the gravity of the threat has evolved in just 18 months,” Ban said in a UN address.