Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has developed the Miramshah area in North Waziristan as a common training ground for various terror groups active in India. Indian security agencies monitoring the movement of these terror organisations such as Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Hizbul Mujahideen, Indian Mujahideen, Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), say that despite operating under different names, these terror groups get their training collectively after which they return to rejoin their “parent” organisation. The ISI makes sure that the terrorists are given extensive training before they are unleashed on India.
Interrogation of Indian terrorists who have been arrested recently, including Mohammad Asif, a resident of Sambhal in Uttar Pradesh, who was leading the AQIS in India until his arrest in December last year, has confirmed that the Al Qaeda is getting patronage from the Pakistani establishment.
“When Asif, who spent around nine months in one of the camps in Waziristan, went to Pakistan, he was not a part of any terror group, but just a motivated person who wanted to be a part of the jihad. It was after he completed his training there, that he was appointed the Indian head of AQIS. Similarly, many such youths are being “attached” to various terror groups once they complete their training. Asif was told that it was a training camp that was being managed by Al Qaeda, but terrorists from different groups were also getting their training there. These camps were visited frequently by Pakistani government officials, which clearly proves that ISI has been patronising these groups,” an official with the security apparatus said.
These camps also cater to international terrorists, including Uighurs and Uzbeks, and this has been confirmed by the interrogation of multiple terrorists who have been arrested in the past few months.
“On the one hand, Pakistan claims that it is fighting the war on terror, while on the other, it is supporting and protecting the terror camps in which these terrorists take training and then go to work for organisations like Al Qaeda, Jaish and Lashkar,” the official added.
The interrogation of Asif, Zafar Masood alias Guddu (a resident of Sambhal, Uttar Pradesh) and Abdul Rahman, who was arrested with Asif in December, had confirmed that all the terror groups were working together and even the AQIS was formed by taking fighters from six different groups.
Asif told his interrogators: “In December 2013/January 2014, when I was in Waziristan, Maulana Aasim Umar (leader of the AQIS) suddenly came alone to our camp and left for his onward journey towards the hilly areas without meeting anyone. After two days, Aasim Umar came back and disclosed that he had gone to meet some Arabs (including son-in-law of Ayman al-Zawahiri). In the meeting, it was decided to form a new tanzeem called Al Qaeda Bar-e-Sagheer (AQIS) by integrating different groups. Subsequently, I came to know that the AQIS is being formed by combining various tribal groups (majmas) led by several ustads.”
Asif went on to give the following details of the ustads:
* Haji Sahab (Pakistani, served eight years’ imprisonment in a Pakistani jail): The group has around 30-40 boys.
* Ahmad Farooq (Nayab of AQIS. Died in a drone attack.): The group has 25-30 boys.
* Ustad Ali (was a trainer at a Harkat ul-Mujahideen training centre, Mansera, with Aasim Umar): Strength of the group is 25-30 boys.
* Qari Imran (Pakistani): The group has 40-50 boys. Qari lmran has been given charge of Afghanistan.
* Khattab (Pakistani, broke off from Lashkar-e-Jhangvi): There are 60-70 boys in the group, which is considered to be the most powerful of all the groups. Khattab is in charge of Pakistani operations.
* Saqib (nationality not clear): The group has 25-30 boys.