New Delhi: Global terror network Al Qaeda that formally announced its affiliate in Jammu and Kashmir earlier this year has said targeting Indian cities and sidelining Pakistan and its army were key to jihadi success in the state.
In a video interview with Al Qaeda's mouthpiece, released on jihadi online networks, Usama Mehmood, spokesman Al Qaeda in Indian Sub-continent, said there could be no easy solution to the Kashmir issue which needs "blood and sweat" of Muslims.
Mehmood, in the 42-minute video recorded in Urdu, said it was necessary for "the jihadi movement to strengthen and expand its activities in the region and target Indian interests.
"India has protected itself by deploying 600,000 troops in a small place like Kashmir. We will target it and its interests in Kolkata, Bangalore and New Delhi, it will come to its senses, its atrocities will be controlled and its grip on Kashmir will weaken by the will of Allah," said the group's second-in-command in the sub-continent.
This is the first detailed Al Qaeda talk on its activities in Kashmir since July 27 this year when the group announced 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.
The Al Qaeda announcement was promptly rejected by militant groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen. Even the Hurriyat Conference dismissed it, saying the Kashmir issue was political and had nothing to do with global Islamist jihad even as the longstanding militant outfits also espouse an Islamist outlook for Kashmir.
Mehmood called on all Muslims in the sub-continental region, including from India, to "stand behind the Kashmiri people and perform their duties for jihad in Kashmir".
"It is imperative to wage jihad against India. It can only happen when jihadi activities are strengthened in the entire region.
"We should help our Kashmiri brothers first, defend our jihad from apostatic forces like Pakistan Army and its policies and then expand the jihadi activities," he said, terming the Pakistan Army "an obstacle in the path of victory, is an enemy of the sharia and a slave of global infidels".
"It fights only for its salary, personal aggrandisement and plots of land. It is the same army that spills the blood of the mujahideen for American dollars."
Citing Al Qaeda's attacks against the US within and outside America, he said: "Look at America. Securing itself has become difficult for America throughout the world. We will make it difficult for the Indian Army and Indian government the same way and make its peaceful world a war zone."
The video also shows clips of slain Al Qaeda military commander Illyas Kashmiri and frequently cites quotes from the book of Afzal Guru, who was hanged for his involvement in the 2001 Parliament attack.