Mohammad Zaker (AKA Ramesh), a slain commander of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan

Iran Arrests Afghan Dissidents Claiming They Are ISIS

Sunday, 04/07/2024

Iranian police arrested the relatives of a commander of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan accusing them of being “senior members of ISIS" in the city of Karaj near Tehran.

Sources close to the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF) have revealed that the detainees are actually relatives of a slain commander of the NRF, which is at war with Afghanistan's ruling Taliban extremists.

According to sources cited by the Afghan newspaper Hasht-e Subh, those arrested in Iran are relatives of Kheirmohammad Andarabi, a slain NRF commander who sought refuge in Iran due to threats from the Taliban.

The confusion arose when Iranian police spokesperson, Saeed Montazerolmahdi, announced the arrest of Mohammad Zaker (AKA Ramesh), described as a "senior member and operational commander of ISIS," along with two other members in Mahdasht, Karaj. The police claimed that the arrests were made following “extensive intelligence efforts” and thwarted planned suicide attacks during Eid al-Fitr.

However, sources close to the NRF assert that the detainees have no connection to ISIS. Mohammad Ramesh Adel, identified by Iranian police as Mohammad Zaker, is said to be the stepson of senior NRF commander Kheirmohammad Kheirkhah Andarabi, killed in a battle with the Taliban in late December 2022.

The situation has sparked criticism, with journalist Jila Baniyaghoub questioning the rapid investigation process and the accuracy of the arrests.

Baniyaghoub wrote in a message on Saturday: "A taxi driver in Karaj suspected that his passengers were members of ISIS, informs the police; law enforcement arrests them and announces a few hours later that they have arrested the leaders of ISIS."

Iran has yet to respond to the claims.

The incident comes in the wake of previous suicide bombings during the anniversary ceremony of Qasem Soleimani in Kerman city, for which ISIS claimed responsibility. Iran allegedly arrested several suspects but details regarding their trials remain undisclosed.

Criticism of the Iranian security organizations' performance has escalated following the Kerman bombings, raising questions about their effectiveness. The US allegedly warned Iran of the attacks but its advice was ignored.

Even high-ranking officials, including the Chief of the Judiciary, have implicitly questioned the institutions' capabilities in handling security threats effectively.

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