Al Qaeda, which had announced its “branch” in Jammu and Kashmir earlier this year, has exhorted its “fighters” from Pakistan, Bangladesh and other regions to help the jihadis fighting the Kashmir “war”.

In a video released earlier this week, Osama Mahmood, the spokesman of “Al Qaeda in Indian Sub-Continent”, called for attacking targets in Delhi, Kolkata and Bengaluru, saying that the “people of Kashmir cannot win the war alone”.

In an interview given to an anonymous Al Qaeda operative, Mahmood is heard as saying, “The Kashmiri people cannot win this war alone, when this is a cause of all the Muslims: this jihad is fard-ain (obligatory on every single Muslim), so the Muslims in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and the whole Subcontinent should play their role towards performing this obligation. The solution to resolve the issue of Kashmir according to Shari’ah is jihad in the way of Allah, and jihad in the way of Allah is one.” Mahmood’s face is not visible in the 42-minute video. The interview is in Urdu but the group has released a translated transcript of the interview, called “Jihad in Kashmir… Way and Destination!”

Mahmood, who is considered to be one the most important “faces” of the group, goes on to say, “We consider playing our share in the Kashmiri jihad, our obligation, even though we are already in the field of jihad, Khurasan. In our caravan, every mujahid—whether he is from Kashmir, or from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India—longs for helping his Kashmiri brothers. May Allah open the ways for us in Kashmir, and if Allah gives us the ability, insha-Allah, we shall soon be in the front-lines with our Kashmiri brothers. To target Indian state’s interests and Hindu governing class, is our goal; we call others towards this goal.”

The video, according to Indian security agencies, has been made to promote Kashmir as the “land for coordinating jihad” across India. It also addresses Kashmiri youths and talks about the local terrorists who have been eliminated by Indian forces.

“The role of the Kashmiri masses is a good example for the whole ummah. Today they have a big role in this blessed jihad: their protesting in support of mujahideen; taking in batons, stones, and even bullets, and then making their bodies as shields to defend the mujahideen; pelting stones on the army; likewise providing food, giving refuge, and praying for mujahideen—is all supporting the jihad and a great worship. So stick to this path. Whatever hardship you endure today, any sacrifice you offer, you shall receive its reward from your Lord. Here I would also like to request the mujahideen that the protection of this great people and their well being is our obligation; therefore, make certain of their protection; to get their support, adopt every possible way, and—to the best of your ability—avoid every means that could cause harm to the masses. As the successors of the great leader Afzal Guru Shaheed and young leader Burhan Wani, you are, by Allah, our heartstrings, and we’ve placed our hopes in you. May Allah help you, fill your hearts with His light, and give you patience and steadfastness,” he goes on to say.

Commenting on the video, security officials said that they were taking the development “very seriously”. “The one big message that has been given from the video is that Al Qaeda wants to turn Kashmir into its new ‘playing field’ and is asking global terrorists to converge there. We have taken the video very seriously and are doing what needs to be done,” said an official with an anti-terrorist organisation.

In July, Al Qaeda announced that it was establishing an affiliate in Jammu and Kashmir called Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, headed by the 23-year-old former Kashmir commander of the pro-Pakistan Hizbul Mujahideen, Zakir Musa.

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