Kashmiri Militant Leaders Warming Up To Al Qaeda

15 July 2014

Srinagar: Is Kashmiri terror outfits bracing up to collaborate with Al Qaeda and Taliban? For the first time in the last 25 years of insurgency, a top Kashmiri militant leader has expressed intent to host Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in restive Kashmir, sparking fresh fears of renewed violence in the state after the US forces leaves Afghanistan this year. Syed Salahuddin, chief of dreaded Hizbul Mujahedeen who also heads United Jihad Council (UJC), an umbrella group of over a dozen outfits based in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), has said they are ready to welcome Al Qaeda or Taliban in Kashmir. 'If Al Qaeda, Taliban or any other organisation or country extends a helping hand to the oppressed Kashmiris, we will welcome it,' Salahuddin was quoted by Pakistani media to have said while addressing a rally in Muzaffarabad, the capital of PoK, on Sunday. Separatists, however, dismissed the reports that Al Qaeda has role in Kashmir. Leading the charge is Hurriyat hardliners led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who said Kashmiris struggle is indigenous in nature and Al Qaeda has no role in it. 'We stand by our policy that Al Qaeda has no role in Kashmir. Ours is an indigenous and sacred movement. We are seeking political and diplomatic support from the entire world. I doubt Salahuddin has said it,' said Ayaz Akbar, spokesman of Geelani led Hurriyat Conference. UJC chief's warming up with pan Islamic outfits has come a month after Al Qaeda released a video calling upon the Muslims in Kashmir to wage Jihad against Indian authorities. Entitled 'War should continue, message to the Muslims of Kashmir', the video features the statement of Al Qaeda commander Moulana Asim Umar threatening that the caravan (of heroic martyrs) was coming to 'liberate Kashmir'. Salahuddin statement also comes on the day when handwritten posters of his outfit surfaced in the old city asking a group of five people to desist from spying or be ready to face consequences. 'Indian institutions would have been shaken had there been no informers in our ranks All those people are hereby warned to desist from their activities. They should go to the mosques and seek repentance or else be ready to face the consequences,' reads the translation of Urdu posters issued by chief spokesman.