The article originally appeared on India Today.

Mohammad Shafi Armar, an ISIS operative and recruiter of Indian origin, has been declared global terrorist by the US State Department.

“Mohammad Shafi Armar is a leader and head recruiter in India for the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) group, ISIS. He has cultivated a group of dozens of ISIS sympathizers who are involved in terrorist activities across India, such as plotting attacks, procuring weapons, and identifying locations for terrorist training camps,” the US State Department release said.

Shafi Armar is from Bhatkal, Karnataka. He is considered close to ISIS chief Abu Bakar Al-Baghdadi and has recruited at least 30 Indians to join the ISIS and is said to be in touch with over 700.

He became ISIS’ main recruiter for India after his elder brother Sultan Abdul Kadir Armar, who was heading ISIS in India, was killed in March 2015. Their names cropped up during interrogation of Yasin Bhatkal who was arrested from Nepal border in 2013.

Intelligence sources say he was planning to establish ISIS units in each Indian state and had started Junud AlKhalifa-e-Hind as ISIS’ India wing for this purpose.

According to intelligence sources, before joining ISIS, Shafi Armar was member of banned outfit Indian Mujahideen and had fled to Pakistan in 2009 along with top leadership of the group.

There were reports last year that Shafi Armar was killed in US air strike but he was later confirmed alive. Shafi Armar has made Syria his base and uses social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp to contract and recruit potential ISIS terrorists.



The article originally appeared on India Today.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has compared fired FBI chief James Comey’s act of leaking information to media to that of a human rights activist. “Comey’s leak of information to the media was more in line with an activist than an intelligence chief,” USA Today* quoted him saying. Putin said this while holding his annual ‘Direct Line’ Q&A call-in session yesterday.

Comparing James Comey to Edward Snowden, a sarcastic Putin said Russia was ready to grant asylum to Comey in case he is prosecuted for those leaks, “It sounds very strange when the head of the security services writes down a conversation with the commander-in-chief and then leaks it to the media through his friend. How, in that case, does he differ from Edward Snowden?,” The Guardian** wrote quoting him. Edward Snowden, who is facing espionage charges in the US, is a whistleblower and former CIA contractor who leaked US intelligence documents of mass surveillance and was given political asylum by Russia.

Putin added that since Comey’s acts are more like an activist than an intelligence chief, if the latter feels pressured in the US or if he is prosecuted, Russia would be happy to grant him political asylum.

In his testimony, former FBI chief James Comey had said that he intentionally leaked memo on his conversation with Trump to build pressure to appoint special counsel in the case. Comey’s strategy worked after the US Department of Justice appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller special counsel to probe Russian meddling into the last year’s US presidential election.