In a first, Islamic State, Lashkar-e-Taiba trade barbs over Kashmir
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.
“In India, they (al-Qaeda) 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 one of the harshest criticism of the al-Qaeda’s role in Khorasan, a region that includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and parts of northwestern and western India.
Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba issued a statement on Saturday denouncing the Islamic State as “a product of anti-Islamic Western countries” and said it had no role and space in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Kashmiris don’t want aid and support from an external group. They are capable enough to fight against the Indian aggression themselves,” LeT spokesperson Dr Abdullah Ghaznavi told a Srinagar-based news agency.
Though the IS has had limited presence in India till now, security agencies estimate that around two dozen people from the country have joined the outfit in Syria and Iraq.
The IS’ black flag has also appeared during anti-India demonstrations in Kashmir in recent times.
Ajai Sahni, an expert on terrorism, said the IS statement was significant.
“IS is trying to expose both the al-Qaeda 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-Qaeda, once led by slain terror mastermind Osama bin Laden, it has much information about the latter’s links in Kashmir.
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 IS mouthpiece—a glossy 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 Paris carnage as well as a photograph 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 IS boasts of how “eight knights brought Paris down on its knees”.
27-year-old Belgian citizen Abdelhamid Abaaoud—the man alleged to be the mastermind of the November 2 attacks in Paris—had appeared in a three-page interview in the seventh edition of the magazine in February.
In January, IS spokesperson Abu Mohammad al-Adnani had announced the setting up of the Khorasan province under the leadership of a former Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader.