In a statement today Jundallah, a high-profile Balochistan-based Islamist faction, announced that it is pledging loyalty to ISIS, and will back “whatever plans they have” going forward. The move follows reports from the Associated Press last week that the group’s leadership was meeting with ISIS members.
Jundallah is primarily a Balochistan separatist group, active in both Pakistan’s far west and in southeastern Iran. In recent years, the group’s attacks have mostly centered on Iran, and there is evidence they have been backed by Israel’s Mossad in doing so.
Jundallah was originally an ally of al-Qaeda, but had a falling out with them in 2003. The group then started getting funding from what they claimed were CIA agents, and there was ample evidence at the time that it was the US funding them.
It did not turn out to be the case, however. Rather, Jundallah was being funding in US currency by men with US passports who were actually Israeli spies, in what was seen as an attempt to frame the US for the backing of terror attacks inside Iran.
Foreign Policy reported Israel’s relationship with Jundallah continued to roil the Bush administration until the day it left office, and that it also ‘jeopardized’ US ties with Pakistan, another nation Jundallah was active in at the time.
Though Bush-era officials vowed to ‘take the gloves off’ with Israel over the incident, no public retaliation was even taken, which officials attributed to “political and bureaucratic inertia.”
Jundallah’s leadership at the time was captured by Iran, and was executed for committing terrorist attacks on Shi’ite mosques in Iranian Sistan-Balochistan. Exactly how big the group is anymore is unclear, but their profile is clearly much smaller than it was 5 years ago.
Still, their joining hands with ISIS gives ISIS a much higher profile in Pakistan, particularly in Balochistan, where reports are emerging from Jang of slogans in support of ISIS across Balochistan, and that the October 13 report prepared by the Baluchistan home department and sent to the federal security agencies had claimed a significant increase in ISIS activity in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan.