Al-Qaida for the first time declared its presence in Kashmir.
The announcement was made by the Global Islamic Media Front, which said Kashmiri militant Zakir Musa will head al-Qaida-linked Ansar Ghawzat-ul-Hind. He recently left Kashmir’s largest indigenous group, Hizbul Mujahideen, and is believed to have been joined by less than a dozen others.
Previously, no global jihadi groups have openly operated in Kashmir, a territory divided between Pakistan and India but claimed by both entirely.
The propaganda network said the new group will “repel the aggression of tyrant Indian invaders, and through jihad, and with the help of Allah … we will liberate our homeland Kashmir.”
In 2014, AL-QUAIDA had announced the creation of a cell in the Indian subcontinent, but it failed to attract significant support.
Musa issued a series of audio messages in April saying that Kashmir’s struggle was for the Islamic cause and had nothing to do with nationalism, which would mark an ideological shift for some militants in Kashmir, where rebels have mainly fought for India either to have independence or join Pakistan.
Separatist leaders, who challenge India’s sovereignty over Kashmir, have repeatedly rejected the presence of outside groups, including AL-QUAIDA.
With the entry of AL QUAIDA, the security situation in Kashmir will become un-manageable for the militant groups due to clash of ideologies. The influence of Pakistan will also get marginalized and ultimately loose relevance. Role of Pakistan Army will also get diminished. Overall a favourable situation for India as it will be easier to finish AL QUAIDA without Pakistan’s support.