Days after India Today interview on Taliban resurgence, counterterrorism expert Faran Jeffery “disappears”
How Afghanistan is once again a happy hunting ground for the Taliban, reads the title of an India Today report pinned to the top of counterterrorism expert Faran Jeffery’s Twitter timeline. Posted on June 30, the report featured candid words from Jeffery, describing the state of the nation since the United States and Allied troops began withdrawing from Afghanistan on May 1.
So far, so good? Not really, because Jeffery has now become the hunted, missing since late last night and probably picked up by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in Karachi.
Based in the UK, Jeffery is originally from Pakistan and is the Deputy Director of Islamic Counterterrorism Theology (ITCT).
LILY: The Taliban gain nearby consulates; Tajikistan strengthens its border with Afghanistan
ITCT is an international think tank that combats narratives of Islamic terrorism and radicalization through in-depth research and analysis. Its executive director, Noor Dahri, told India Today: âI believe our deputy director was abducted from his home after his interview was published on India Today. He is an expert on Afghanistan-Pakistan issues and has also been quoted by several Western media outlets, so this is not a valid reason for being kidnapped.
âFaran has always disclosed and combated terrorist activities in South Asia and has remained a peaceful and law-abiding citizen. Therefore, we see no justification for Pakistani security officials to illegally arrest him. We want the Pakistani authorities to release him immediately. This is an illegal act of kidnapping a civilian who is not anti-state but anti-terrorist, âDahri added.
Jeffery is well known in global open source intelligence circles (OSINT) and specializes in the reporting and analysis of terrorist incidents and conflicts. Lately he’s been covering the conflict in Afghanistan on a very microscopic level.
The reported arrest created a lot of buzz on social media, with popular OSINT handles and journalists pouring out their thoughts.
UK-based Pakistani security analyst Faran Jeffery (@Natsecjeff) reportedly abducted from his Karachi home. One of his last public comments before arrest was in this piece by @saikirankannan for @IndiaToday: https://t.co/fnVknHqwmn
â Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) July 6, 2021
Even though hee and I had opposite views on many issues, sad to know Faran Jeffery (@natsecjeff) has been arrested
No freedom of speech in Pak.
Apparently ISI suspects he has ties with Israel.
â (@TheWolfpackIN) July 6, 2021
URGENT: It has been brought to our attention that #OSINT community contributor @Natsecjeff has been abducted earlier today. Our latest Episode gave reference to his amazing work. The Podcast team hope that he is alive and well, and ask for your thoughts and prayers for him.
â The OSINT Bunker Podcast (@TheOsintBunker) July 5, 2021
Faran Jeffrey aka @Natsecjeff who runs an extremely helpful international news-focused Twitter account has apparently been abducted by Pakistani security services. Hope he is okay and that we hear he is free soon. https://t.co/YVaBC5rWwZ
â Steve Lookner (@lookner) July 6, 2021
Jeffery has often divided opinions when it comes to his work and inclination. He is often accused of being an ISI agent by Indian social networks and RAW / Mossad agent by those in Pakistan. No wonder his bold views against radical Islam and his support for the cause of Israel have often placed him under the prism of the Pakistani establishment. It remains to be determined on what charges he was detained.
âThere is not yet any concrete evidence or reports that indicate the reason for his arrest at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation and update accordingly, âDahri said.
We urge @GovtofPakistan and @PakPMO to immediately release our Deputy Director Faran Jeffery @Natsecjeff who was abducted from his residence on Sunday by security officials in Karachi.
We strongly condemn his abduction and want his safe return from security custody please. pic.twitter.com/iUbVaYNS6Q
â ITCT (@ITCTofficial) July 5, 2021
Sources told India Today that Jeffery was picked up from his Karachi residence with his computers and cellphones. His social media accounts continue to display an “active” status, suggesting the possibility that security agencies are browsing his social media accounts and posts.
The India Today story where Jeffery was quoted has generated a lot of interest online. It details the advance of an emboldened Taliban in Afghanistan, the flaws in the Afghan strategy and the possible impact on India and Pakistan in the event of complete takeover of the country by Taliban fighters.
(The author is a Singapore-based Open Source Intelligence analyst)
LILY: India to evacuate nationals from Afghanistan as security situation worsens
READ ALSO : Afghanistan: women take up arms against the Taliban in Ghor, the home of Muhammad Ghori
READ ALSO : Taliban capture several districts of Afghanistan on fleeing troops