Pakistan behind Al Qaeda's jihad statement mentioning Kashmir: Sources

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Image: The Guardian
Image: The Guardian

New Delhi : Soon after the last American soldier left Afghanistan on August 31 midnight, the terror outfit Al Qaeda released a statement in which it called for global jihad to liberate Islamic lands and mentioned Kashmir. 

The inclusion of Kashmir and omission of Chechnya and Xinjiang exposes the hand of Pakistan in Qaeda's ominous statement, government sources said on Wednesday.

Quoting an official NDTV said, "The Qaeda statement talking about transnational jihad is a cause for concern. It is intriguing that Kashmir was included in the statement as it was never on the agenda of the Taliban earlier. The Pakistan ISI is behind this statement of Qaeda." 

A senior government official said the Qaeda statement is still being analysed, but it is a serious cause for concern for India.

Pakistan, said the official, had shown its hand in hosting and controlling Ayman Al Zawahiri as the head of Al Qaeda.

Interestingly, even Taliban's Supreme Commander Haibatullah Akhundzada is reportedly in the custody of Pakistan's intelligence ISI. 

The Qaeda statement said, "Liberate the Levant, Somalia, Yemen, Kashmir and the rest of the Islamic lands from the clutches of the enemies of Islam. O' Allah! Grant freedom to Muslim prisoners across the world."

Another aspect being studied by the government is the presence of the families of most Al Qaeda sympathisers and terrorists in Iran. There are indications that many of them will return to Afghanistan now. "Though it's a Shia-dominated country, history has shown that as far as tactical advantages are concerned, both Shia and Sunni can work, if not together, then at least not against each other," an officer explained.

In meetings in Delhi and Kashmir, the fallout of the Afghanistan developments on the Valley has been discussed threadbare. Special attention is on growing instances of infiltration and launch pads being reactivated along the Line of Control. Sources say chatter being intercepted by agencies indicates that abandoned launch pads across the LoC have been reactivated. 

Intelligence agencies say Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar used to run a terror camp in Khost in Afghanistan before he used the Harkat-ul-Ansar to launch jihad in Kashmir after the Soviet-Afghan war. 

The Taliban, ousted from power in its first stint by the US after the 9/11 attacks, insists it will not let Afghanistan fall into the hands of terrorists.