TM: "Al-Qaeda’s South Asian Branch Gravitating Toward Kashmir"
Almost six years after al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent’s (AQIS) formation as the regional subsidiary of the infamous transnational jihadist group, the organization is reportedly shifting its violent campaign to Kashmir and India. On March 21, in one of its key Urdu language magazines, AQIS claimed that the group would change the title of its long-running publication Nawa-i Afghan Jihad to Nawa-i Gazawatul Hind, signaling the geographical shift, mostly justifying the objectives behind its name and formation. The publication also devoted a whole chapter on jihad in Kashmir, announcing that the region will be the epicenter of AQIS’ jihadist campaign. Swiftly hosting all its propaganda materials on a web portal with the domain name of Gazawatul Hind, AQIS cleared the air about its aggressive future Indian-centric strategy.
Al-Qaeda’s South Asian affiliate is making inroads into Kashmir and India with this shift in focus, reinvigorating the so-called Gazawatul Hind campaign, or ‘final battle against India,’ referring to events leading to the Islamic apocalyptic war referenced in a hadith of the Prophet Muhammad. The discernable intention to gravitate toward the Kashmir theater and to shift to a more Indian-centric campaign came amid the United States-Taliban peace deal to end the more than 18-year conflict in Afghanistan. Operational ties between al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan remain a contentious issue. Over the past couple of decades the Taliban regime, officially titled Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, sheltered al-Qaeda’s leadership and foot soldiers. However, the Taliban has now agreed under the peace deal signed in Doha (Qatar) on February 29 to prevent any group or individual, including “al-Qaeda from using the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies” (Department of State, February 29).
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For Complete Article, Read, "Al-Qaeda’s South Asian Branch Gravitating Toward Kashmir", Terrorism Monitor, (Jamestown Foundation), April 17, 2020.