Al-Qaida’s terror links in India known for long
New Delhi, September 7
On September 3, Al-Qaida chief Ayman-al- Zawahiri released a 55-minute video on the group’s websites which warned of attacks on India and named Pakistan-based firebrand cleric Maulana Asim Umar as its head. Since then the video tape has generated expected reactions, fear and shock in the backdrop of the US-led forces having started withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Claims in the new video apart, Indian agencies know how Osama Bin Laden and his creation Al-Qaida have acted against Indian interests. Laden’s confidante Illyas Kashmiri got David Coleman Headley to scout for targets in Mumbai and get their global positing system (GPS) coordinates. The same coordinates were used by the 10 gun-toting terrorists to launch simultaneous attacks at five places in Mumbai on November 26, 2008 – also referred to as the 26/11 attacks.
A total of 166 persons had died in the attacks. David Coleman Headley, alias Daoud Gilani, was a double agent of the US Drug Enforcing Administration (DEA). He has been sentenced to 35 years in prison by a US court.
Al-Qaida’s other point person for India is Hafiz Saaed, founder of the Jamaat-ul-Dawaa and Laskhar-e-Toiba based in Pakistan. The Al-Qaida-Illyas Kashmiri-Hafiz Saaed axis has existed for some time, confirmed officials in the know of things while adding that Kashmiri is now dead.
US special forces that killed Osama Bin Laden in May 2011 at Abbottabad, Pakistan, found documents that linked him directly with Saeed and further how Osama bin-Laden’s organisation played a key role in planning the 2008 Mumbai attacks as LeT and Headley got the blame.
The US Department of Justice (USDOJ) which prosecuted Headley noted: “Headley had grown disenchanted with Lashkar (LeT). He shifted to Al-Qaida with the help of a friend named Abderrehman Syed, a former Army Major who had left Lashkar”.
Headley was in touch with Illyas Kashmiri before the Mumbai attacks, the USDOJ had noted. The Indian agencies have questioned Headley, said sources.
The third known man connecting Al-Qaida with India was Zabiuddin Ansari, alias Abu Jundal, the Indian Mujahideen fugitive deported to New Delhi from Saudi Arabia in May 2012. He had directed the Mumbai attackers over phone from the ‘control room’ in Karachi. He has revealed to investigators that the Mumbai attackers had undergone training in Al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan.
In the past, Al-Qaida or its affiliates have been posting threatening video tapes but it is for the first time, Zawahiri, who became chief after Laden’s death, has said this. In August last year Zawahiri issued specific guidelines that had endorsed the right of militants to fight Indian forces in Kashmir.
In November last year, Indian agencies were alerted to a new militant group calling itself ‘Ansaar-ut-Tawheed phi Bilaad Al-Hind’ or ‘The Supporters of Faith in the Land of India’. The leader of the group, who uses pseudonym Abdur Rehman al Hindi, announced the formation of this group on Al- Qaida-linked websites.
Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir |
Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs |
Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |