Al Qaeda chief threatens India over Kashmir; unveils Pak’s role in cross-border terrorism

Terror group Al Qaeda’s Chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has told “Mujahideen in Kashmir” to inflict “unrelenting blows” on the Indian Army and government in Jammu and Kashmir in a message released by the outfit’s media wing, as per the Foundation for Defence of Democracies’ (FDD) Long War Journal.

He also brought to light Pakistan’s involvement in fuelling cross-border terrorism in Kashmir in the message titled “Don’t Forget Kashmir,” released by As Shabab.

Thomas Joscelyn, in his article for the journal, wrote that Al Qaeda has been grooming an upstart group to wage jihad against the Indian forces in Kashmir.

“(I am)of the view that the Mujahideen in Kashmir- at this stage at least- should single-mindedly focus on inflicting unrelenting blows on the Indian Army and government, so as to bleed the Indian economy and make India suffer sustained losses in manpower and equipment,” Zawahiri said.

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While Zawahiri did not explicitly mention deceased terrorist Zakir Musa, a picture of the dead Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind’s (AGH) founder flashed on the screen as the terror outfit’s chief spoke on Kashmir.

Joscelyn speculated that Zawahiri and al-Qaeda’s Kashmir cell, AGH, are coordinating their messages as he drew similarities between the terror outfit chief’s message and a speech given by Musa’s successor, Abdul Hameed Lelhari, recently.

While both Musa and Lelhari admitted to Pakistan’s role in training Kashmiri jihadists, they cautioned that the ” Pakistanis are not trustworthy.” Zawahiri called both the Pakistani Army and government as “toadies of America” in his message.

He claimed that Pakistan prevented the “Arab Mujahideen” from “head[ing] to Kashmir after expelling the Russians from Afghanistan,” — which was countered by the author by quoting the 9/11 Commission.

Joscelyn stated that the United States had learned of the presence of Pakistan’s military intelligence service at one of al Qaeda’s camps in Afghanistan, which was struck in retaliation for the August 1998 US Embassy bombings. The Pakistanis were training Kashmiri jihadists at the camp, according to the author.

The writer also highlighted the “double-game” played by Pakistan after the gruesome 9/11 terror attacks in the US. While Pakistan did conduct counter-terrorism operations against Al Qaeda following the 2001 attacks, it also harboured the Taliban’s senior leadership, including members of the al Qaeda-allied Haqqani Network.

“All the Pakistani Army and government are interested in is exploiting the mujahideen for specific political objectives, only to dump or persecute them later,” Zawahiri claimed, highlighting Pakistan’s role while casting them in a negative light.

Pakistan’s “conflict with India is essentially a secular rivalry over borders managed by the American intelligence,” the terror outfit’s chief further alleged.

In his message, Zawahiri also claimed that the “fight in Kashmir” is not a separate conflict but instead is part of the worldwide Muslim community’s jihad against a vast array of forces. He further called on “unnamed” scholars to spread this point.

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