Al Qaeda announces new branch in India, Bangladesh and Myanmar
Observer Online Desk
Publish Date : 2014-09-04, Publish Time : 10:04, View Count : 101
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and fellow officials 'Asim Umar and Usama Mahmoud announced the creation of a new branch called "Qaedat al-Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent".
The new branch aims to focus mainly Myanmar, Bangladesh and some parts of India.
The message comes as youth worldwide are turning to militant Islam and tuning in to Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Youth from America, Pakistan, England, Australia and even India are known to have moved to join the "jihad" in Iraq and Syria.
US intelligence officials estimate 140 Americans are fighting with the IS in Iraq and Syria. 500 Britons are estimated to be fighting with the IS and Americans, UK nationals as well as an Indian are reported to have died fighting.
Reuters said that in a 55-minute video posted online, Zawahari pledged renewed loyalty to Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
Announcing the formation of "al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent" using a mixture of his native Arabic and Urdu widely spoken in Pakistan, Zawahiri appeared eager to regain some of the limelight.
In another report 'The Indian EXPRESS' said Asim Umar, chief of Al Qaeda's Shariah Committee in Pakistan, will be the leader of the new branch.
Little information is available on the men who lead the new organisation, but both are believed to be Pakistani nationals serving with al-Qaeda’s command in that country. Umar has issued several manifestos and articles on al-Qaeda platforms, critiquing democracy and calling for armed jihad.
Last year, Umar issued an appeal directed at Indian Muslims: “You who have ruled India for eight hundred years, you who lit the flame of the one true God in the darkness of polytheism: how can you remain in your slumber when the Muslims of the world are awakening?” the al-Qaeda ideologue Asim Umar asked India’s Muslims last summer.
“If the youth of the Muslim world have joined the battlefields with the slogan ‘Shari’a or Martyrdom,’ and put their lives at stake to establish the Caliphate, how can you lag behind them? Why is there no storm in your ocean,” Mr. Umar demanded to know.
Experts note that the formation of AQIS comes at a time the organisation has seen significant reverses in West Asia, with the Dawlah Islamiyyah, or Islamic State, displacing its forces in large swathes of Syria and Iraq.