Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has urged the “mujahideen in Kashmir” to inflict “unrelenting blows” on the Indian Army and the government, American news website FDD’s Long War Journal reported on Tuesday.
Zawahiri made the statement in a video released by the terror group’s media arm As-Sahab, which transcribed his latest message, titled “Don’t Forget Kashmir”, in Arabic and English.
“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. “In doing so, the mujahideen must persevere patiently.”
Al-Qaeda has been grooming a group to wage jihad against Indian security forces in Kashmir, according to the report. Although Zawahiri did not mention the Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, the group’s Kashmir cell, the video displayed an image of Zakir Musa, who led the group.Musa was killed in an encounter in Tral area of Pulwama district in May. The following month, Hameed Lelhari was appointed the new chief of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind.
Zawahiri said the mujahideen must “liberate the Kashmiri jihad from the clutches of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies”, adding that the war is “for the sake of Allah” and not a struggle “for the sake of international criminals”.
Zawahiri said the “fight in Kashmir” was not a separate conflict but a part of the worldwide Muslim community’s battle against an array of forces. He said mosques, markets and places where Muslims in Kashmir gather should not be targeted.
The al-Qaeda chief also described the Pakistani Army and government as “toadies of America”. He claimed that Pakistan had prevented the “Arab Mujahideen” from “heading to Kashmir after expelling the Russians from Afghanistan”. “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 added.
He claimed Pakistan’s conflict with India “is essentially a secular rivalry over borders managed by the American intelligence”.