New Delhi: Twenty-three Indians have so far joined the Islamic State of which six were reportedly killed even as it emerged that the dreaded terror outfit considered South Asian Muslims, including Indians, inferior to Arab fighters in the conflict zone of Iraq and Syria.
According to an intelligence report prepared by foreign agencies and shared with Indian agencies, fighters from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh as well as certain countries like Nigeria and Sudan are considered not good enough by IS and often tricked into suicide attacks.
The report said that a total of 23 Indians have so far joined the IS of which six were reportedly killed in different incidents.
The dead were identified as Athif Vaseem Mohammad (Adilabad, Telangana), Mohammad Umar Subhan (Bangalore, Karnataka), Maulana Abdul Kadir Sultan Armar (Bhatkal, Karnataka), Saheem Farooque Tanki (Thane, Maharashtra), Faiz Masood (Bangalore, Karnataka) and Mohammad Sajid alias Bada Sajid (Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh).
The intelligence report suggests that there is a disproportionately high level of casualties among the South Asian and African foreign terrorist fighters since they are forced to the frontlines of battle as foot soldiers.
The Arab fighters with better battle experience are mostly positioned behind these fighters and hence their casualties are proportionally less in terms of their total numbers. This explains why so many Indians from a small Indian contingent have died, it says.
There appears to be clear hierarchy wherein the Arab fighters are preferred as officer cadre and provided better arms and ammunition, equipment, accommodation and salaries.
"The fighters from South Asia are usually housed in groups in small barracks and are paid less than the Arab fighters and are provided inferior equipment," the input says.
There are reports that the so-called inferior fighters are also, at times, tricked into suicide attacks. Usually they are given a vehicle loaded with explosives and asked to go near a targeted destination and call a certain number, who would purportedly come and meet them to explain the mission.
However, as soon as the number is dialled, the car explodes due to a pre-set mechanism aimed at destroying a specific target.
The intelligence report says there is information that foreign fighters of Chinese, Indian, Nigerian and Pakistani origin are housed together and are monitored closely by the IS Police.
Incidentally, only Tunisian, Palestinian, Saudi Arabian, Iraqi and Syrian are allowed to be in the IS Police force, which is barred for fighters of all other nationalities.
Hence, there is a clear trust deficit between the dominant Arab fighters from other nationalities, who are mostly attracted to IS through its sophisticated propaganda techniques on the Internet.