10 Jul 2019
In video, al Qaeda chief threatens Indian Army, mentions Kashmir
Ayman al-Zawahiri, who heads the terrorist outfit al Qaeda, in a recently-released video message asked "Mujahideen in Kashmir" to inflict "unrelenting blows" on Indian Army and the government.
In the 14-minute long video, titled "Don't Forget Kashmir", Zawahiri mentioned that Pakistan fanned cross-border terrorism in Kashmir.
However, he also slammed Pakistan for "joining hands" with the US against jihadists.
Here are more details.
In video, Zawahiri sat next to assault rifle and Quran
According to Foundation for Defense of Democracies' (FDD) Long War Journal, the video was released by the media wing of al Qaeda.
In his article for the journal, Thomas Joscelyn wrote al Qaeda has been grooming terrorists to wage war against Indian agencies in Kashmir.
Wearing white clothes, Zawahiri sat beside an assault rifle and the holy Quran in the video.
Fight in Kashmir isn't a separate battle, said Zawahiri
Though Zawahiri didn't mention Zakir Musa, the slain terrorist's image flashed in the video.
Musa, who founded the Indian leg of al Qaeda named Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, was gunned down by security forces in May.
The chief of al Qaeda claimed the "fight in Kashmir" isn't a "separate battle". Instead, it was a part of the Muslim community's "jihad against a vast array of forces".
Meanwhile, Zawahiri also came down heavily on Pakistan
The author of the article, Joscelyn, believed that al Qaeda and its Kashmir's leg are coordinating their messages. He also drew similarities between Zawahiri's message and speech of Abdul Hameed Lelhari, Musa's successor.
Lelhari had admitted Pakistan had a hand in training Kashmiri jihadists but cautioned that the country can't be trusted.
Interestingly, Zawahiri also followed the same line of thought and berated Pakistan.
Chiding Pakistan, Zawahiri said it used mujahideen for politics
Calling Pakistan "toadies of US", Zawahiri detailed how the country "arrested, sold, persecuted and killed" al Qaeda fighters after 9/11.
Like "petty thief and a gang's boss", Pakistan and US bicker a lot but stick together, added Zawahiri.
"All the Pakistani Army and government are interested in is exploiting the mujahideen for specific political objectives, only to dump or persecute them later," he said.
On Zawahiri's message, official said he wanted to motivate terrorists
Notably, Zawahiri's message comes at a time when security agencies have been registering back-to-back successes in dealing with cross border terrorism in Kashmir and keeping a check on separatists.
"There has been a fall in terror attacks and a rise in the killing of terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. The video is an attempt to motivate terror cadre," a home ministry official reportedly said.
Zawahiri told Mujahideen to focus on "bleeding" Indian economy
"(I am) of the view that Mujahideen in Kashmir 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," he said.
Further, Zawahiri said Muslims are "obliged" to support Kashmir's jihad
"You (the scholars) must clearly state that supporting the jihad in Kashmir, the Philippines, Chechnya, Central Asia, Iraq, Syria, the Arabian Peninsula, Somalia, the Islamic Maghreb, and Turkistan, is an individual obligation on all Muslims," he added.