WATCH | Pakistani security forces arrested a female medical student who was planning a suicide mission for ISIS and targeting a Christian church on Easter Sunday, in Lahore, where more than 75 people were killed last year in a bombing during an Easter picnic, Circa has learned.
Novreen Laghari 20, the medical student, pursuing second year studies at Liaquat University of Medical Health Sciences Jamshoro, Sindh Province of Pakistan, was reported missing by her parents in Hyderabad on Feb. 10, but authorities in Pakistan were tipped off that she may have been recruited by ISIS, Pakistani officials told Circa. Her father, Abdul Jabbar is a professor at the university she attended.
Pakistani authorities released a video of the young medical student where she admitted she was not abducted but joined the terrorist organization with a friend, Ali Tariq, whom she later married. In the video she said Tariq “convinced her to fight against the infidels,” she said.
“I moved to Lahore by my own will as I have pledged allegiance to an outlawed organization [ISIS],” said Laghari, in a video obtained by Circa.
Increasingly ISIS and other terrorist organizations in Pakistan, like the notorious Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP), have been recruiting women and young children for suicide attacks. In January Circa published a video of a TTP training camp, where girls believed to be as young as five, were training for suicide missions, according to Afghan and Pakistani military and security personnel.
On Friday Pakistani security forces captured Laghari in an industrial area of Lahore. During the counterterrorism raid her husband Ali Tariq, a known ISIS terrorist, was killed, Pakistani officials said.
Laghari told security forces that on April 1, a member of ISIS provided her and her husband two suicide vests and four bombs in a plan to carry out a suicide attack in Lahore. Laghari was the designated suicide bomber in the operation and other members of the cell were responsible for planting more bombs at an unnamed church in Lahore, she said.
Laghari said her husband, along with an ISIS terrorist named Fujay, also had plans to abduct Pakistani security personnel.
The Vice Chancellor Noshad A. Shaikh of Liaqat Medical Science University, where Laghari studied medicine, told local Pakistani media, that as a student, she drew no suspicion but was instead a “humble girl and preferred solitude.” Shaikh described her as an intelligent student with high grades, saying she may have been radicalized online.
Major General Asif Ghafoor Bajwa with Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence Agency [ISI], an clandestine organization similar to the CIA, said during a press conference Monday said it is shocking news that young educated Pakistani’s are being radicalized by ISIS and “we appeal to parents to keep close eyes on their kids.”
Bajwa said security agencies will work to de-radicalize Novreen, with the hope of giving her back for normal life. Bajwa rejected media reports alluding to ISIS’s growing presence in Pakistan, adding that members of disenfranchised groups affiliated with the Pakistani Taliban are using ISIS’s name for publicity.
U.S. Intelligence and military officials, however, have told Circa that over the past year ISIS has not only increased its presence in Afghanistan's eastern region but had early on began recruiting throughout Pakistan's tribal belt.
But over the past several months the U.S. and Afghan military has increasingly targeted ISIS camps and safe-havens in isolated and mountainous areas of Afghanistan.
Bajwa told reporters that Pakistan is "in close contact with the US army in Afghanistan" regarding the growing ISIS threat.
Sajid Khan contributed to this report from Pakistan @iusajid1
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