London- Senior militants from al-Qaida's central command have released a video calling on Muslims in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir to follow the example of "brothers" in Syria and Iraq and wage a violent jihad against Indian authorities.
The video, which cites the "new Afghanistan being created in Syria" as inspiration, is the first to specifically target Kashmir. Entitled "War should continue, message to the Muslims of Kashmir", the video was uploaded in recent days to a website where statements by other leaders of al-Qaida and its affiliates have been released in the past, the Guardian said in a report.
It is unclear when the video was made, although its production apparently preceded the advances made by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) in Iraq this week. However, the timing of its release will underline the impression that senior al-Qaida leaders based in Pakistan, who have suffered heavy losses in recent years, are increasingly marginal to the global jihadi movement.
Led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian-born veteran militant who took over after the death of Osama bin Laden in May 2011, the group has made increasing efforts in recent years to mobilize the nearly half a billion Muslims who live in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
Zawahiri released a set of strategic guidelines last year that mentioned
Kashmir. Last July, a cleric who has been linked to al-Qaida issued a video statement that reprimanded Indian Muslims for their supposed lack of interest in "global jihad".
In the video Kashmiri Muslims are urged to join the global jihadi movement. The video mentions Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Algeria and other theatres of recent Islamic extremism as inspirations to aspirant militants. Specific messages are addressed to Kashmiri Muslims living on both sides of the de facto border between Pakistan and India, as well as to the broader Muslim populations of both countries.
Many within the Indian security establishment are concerned that the US and NATO withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan may lead to extremists fighting there transferring to a new "front" in Kashmir. The video promises a "caravan" of "heroic martyrs" coming from Afghanistan to "liberate Kashmir".