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Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent incorporates regional jihadist groups


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analysis_al_qaeda_in.phpLong War Journal:

Bill Roggio

September 5, 2014


An overview of statements by senior al Qaeda leaders as well as the group's joint operations shows that al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, the newest regional branch of the global jihadist group, was formed by incorporating elements of established jihadist groups that have operated in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India for years.


The formation of al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) was announced by al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri in a video released yesterday. In that statement, Zawahiri noted that AQIS "is the fruit of a blessed effort for more than two years to gather the mujahideen in the Indian subcontinent into a single entity to be with the main group, Qaedat al-Jihad, from the soldiers of the Islamic Emirate and its triumphant emir, Allah permitting, Emir of the Believers Mullah Muhammad Omar Mujahid," according to the SITE Intelligence Group.


The new regional al Qaeda affiliate likely includes elements from the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, Harakat-ul-Muhajideen, Harakat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami and Brigade 313, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the Indian Mujahideen (a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Turkistan Islamic Party, Junood al Fida, and other groups based in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.


All of these groups have had a close operational relationship in the past. For instance, top leaders in the the Turkistan Islamic Party have commanded al Qaeda's network. And Junood al Fida, a Baloch jihadist group that operates in southern Afghanistan, recently swore allegiance to Taliban leader Mullah Omar and referred to Ayman al Zawahiri as its "emir."


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