Srinagar, November 21: Al-Qaida in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) has released a video this week claiming killing of a resident of Anantnag district of the Valley in a US drone strike this year in Pakistan’s troubled tribal belt.
The militants in the video described that Mohammad Ashraf, alias Umar Kashmiri was killed in January this year in the Lawara area of North Waziristan. They said Ashraf was the resident of the “Islamabad area of the Kashmir”, referring to Anantnag district by its unofficial name.
This is a first-ever acknowledgment of Kashmiri militants in Al-Qaida. The video also claimed that one more person was killed in that US drone attack on January 5. He is identified as alongside Qari Imran, who was the terror group in-charge of Afghan affairs.
In a three-minute video titled ‘Jihad Memories’, Ashraf was shown reciting militant poetry while sitting with a group of militants. In cut-away shorts, he was also shown plucking mulberries, leading prayers and firing a rocket. The video describing the life and choices made by a militant is exclusively dedicated to Ashraf’s recitation of the poem and is produced by Al-Qaida’s official media arm As-Sahab.
Moreover, Al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri was also featured in the video announcing formation of its branch in the subcontinent — the region including India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh — in September last year. AQIS is headed by Maulana Asim Umar, who had previously vowed to continue fighting in Kashmir.
Sources say that if confirmed to be a resident of Anantnag district, Ashraf will be the first Kashmiri militant to die in the ranks of Al-Qaida and second Kashmiri militant to die in fighting in Af-Pak. He believed to be closely linked to the top echelons of the terror group.