Sanjib Kr Baruah, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Updated: Nov 21, 2015 21:25 IST
The global terror outfit, Islamic State, has dubbed the Pakistani Army as “apostate” and mocked the al Qaeda’s support to militancy in Kashmir which it said was controlled by the military establishment in the neighbouring country.
The IS’ scathing attack came just days after it staged a bloody carnage in Paris which underlined the outfit’s capability to strike deep at the heart of Europe.
Hours later, Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba issued a statement denouncing the Islamic State as a “a product of anti-Islamic Western countries’” and said it had no role and space in Jammu and Kashmir.
“In India, they (al Qaida) are the allies of the nationalist Kashmir factions whose advances and withdrawals are only by the order of the apostate Pakistani army,” an article in the IS mouthpiece Dabiq said in a harsh criticism on the al Qaida’s role in Khorasan, a region that includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and parts of northwestern and western India.
Ajai Sahni, an expert on terrorism, said the IS statement was significant.
“IS is trying to expose both the al Qaida and the Pakistani Army. It is sending a message to its potential recruits in the subcontinent that only (the) IS follows the true path of jihad, the others are mere opportunists. So it is also a move to garner more members and support,” Sahni said.
He added that since the IS itself is a breakaway group of the al Qaida, once led by slain terror mastermind Osama bin Laden, it has much information about the latter’s links in Kashmir.
Ajey Lele of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses too termed the statement “a very significant information”.
“It talks about Al Qaida linkages in Kashmir while Pakistan’s ISI’s involvement in Kashmir is well-known. Our intelligence agencies will have to take such inputs more seriously and will have to work much harder if at all al Qaida is operating beyond Afghanistan. But we need more details to draw a final picture.”
A top Indian counter-terror official said on condition of anonymity that the IS comment was “an open admission of what has been suspected all along.”
The ISIS mouthpiece—a glossy and stylish magazine into its twelfth edition now—draws its name from the name of a place in Syria which is prophesised to be the setting for one of the final battles leading to an apocalypse.
The latest issue displays pictures from the carnage in Paris as well as a picture of an IED-fitted into a can of Schweppes Gold pineapple juice—that apparently brought down a Russian Metrojet airliner over the Sinai peninsula in Egypt on October 31 killing all 224 people on board.
At one place, the ISIS boasts of how “eight knights brought Paris down on its knees”.
27-year-old Belgian citizen Abdelhamid Abaaoud—the man alleged to be the main orchestrator behind the November 2 attacks in Paris—had appeared in a three-page interview in the seventh edition of the Dabiq magazine in February.
In the interview, Abaaoud, referred to as Abu Umar al-Baljiki, boasts of how he managed to escape from right under the police’s nose even after being accosted after being on the radar of the intelligence agencies of several countries.
Khorasan is of crucial importance in the IS scheme of things as jihadists believe that “black flags by riders on white horses from Khorasan” will signal the start of an apocalyptic battle.
In January, IS spokesperson Abu Mohammad al-Adnani had announced the setting up of the Khorasan province under the governorship of Hafiz Saeed Khan, a former Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader and his deputy Abdul Rauf Khadim, a former Taliban commander from south Afghanistan who was also detained by the US authorities in the Guantanamo Bay prison.
The latest issue of Dabiq also talks of how jihad, despite ‘setbacks and mistakes’ is being pursued with a renewed vigour in ‘Bengal’—a euphemism for Bangladesh which as a footnote explains: “Bengal is what the region was referred to before the founding of ‘Bangladesh’ by nationalists in ‘1971’.”