In one of the first admissions by the Pakistani government on the presence of the Islamic State group in the country, the intelligence bureau chief said that the terror group was a threat to Pakistan and the Tehreek-e-Taliban was working with ISIS.
While ISIS has been engaged in bitter rivalry with the Taliban in Afghanistan, it is getting support from the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) in Pakistan, Aftab Sultan -- the director general of the Intelligence Bureau -- said on Wednesday, according to Dawn. This is also reportedly the first time that a government official has admitted to the growing presence of ISIS in Pakistan.
"TTP coordinates with Daesh despite being rivals in Afghanistan," Sultan told the senate standing committee on interior, using the Arabic name for the Islamic State group.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban, the Pakistani wing of the Taliban based in Afghanistan, has carried out deadly attacks in Pakistan in recent years, such as the Peshawar school massacre, which was condemned even by the Afghan Taliban.
Pakistan's acceptance of ISIS as a terror threat to the country comes a month after the US state department designated the Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a terrorist organisation. Afghanistan confirmed a day later that Hafiz Saeed -- the Islamic State group's leader for its Khorasan province in the Af-Pak region -- had been killed in an airstrike.
The intelligence chief also said that other militant groups in Pakistan, such as Lashkar-i-Jhangvi and Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan, have a "soft corner" for ISIS.
The Pakistani official also reportedly said that "hundreds" of Pakistanis had joined the Islamic State group in Syria.
"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 ISIS are in hundreds," Sultan said, according to The Express Tribune.