AL-QAEDA GROOMING INDIAN MILITANTS FOR BIGGER ATTACKS
Ayman al Zawahiri decrypted communications between Indian Mujahideen (IM) and Al-Qaeda and testimony from suspects who have triggered alarm among intelligence officials in New Delhi; the groups appear to be working together to launch major attacks in the region. The officials said that plots they had uncovered included the kidnapping of foreigners and turning India into a “Syria and Iraq where violence is continuously happening”. But Indian security agencies said evidence they had gathered pointed to growing ties between Al Qaeda and IM, a home-grown movement hitherto known for low-level attacks on local targets using relatively crude weapons like pressure cooker bombs. Weeks after Al Qaeda announced the formation of a South Asia wing to strike across the subcontinent, agencies said they had discovered IM members getting trained with al Qaeda and other groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan for major attacks. That increases the risk of a more dangerous form of militancy in the world’s biggest democracy, which has been largely spared the kind of violence that regularly rocks its neighbor, Pakistan and, beyond it, Afghanistan.
ISIS, also known as Islamic State, has Al-Qaeda Grooming Indian Militants for Bigger Attacks carved out swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, but its influence over militant groups in South Asia is believed to be limited so far. Foreign combat troops are due to withdraw at the end of the year. Some members of IM are already fighting alongside Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. According to an Indian government chargesheet against 11 suspected members of the group alleged to have plotted attacks in India. The worry is that more battle hardened fighters could now turn their sights on their homeland. Others have enlisted with Al Qaeda to try to carry out kidnappings of Jews in India and Nepal to secure the release of Pakistani Aafia Siddiqui, a neuroscientist
jailed for 86 years in the United States for attempting to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Siddiqui is a cause-celebre among global militant groups, including Islamic State, which proposed swapping her for American journalist James Foley before executing him when its demands were not met. IM has also been urged by Al Qaeda to open a base in Myanmar to avenge attacks on Rohingya Muslims, said the chargesheet prepared by the NIA, which has gathered hundreds of pieces of evidence of Internet conversations and meetings between militants in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.