US president Joe Biden early Tuesday morning announced the elimination of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al—Zawahiri saying in US drone attack in Afghan capital city of Kabul on Sunday, thus closing a chapter on big terrorist leaders across the globe. Apart from inflicting a blow to the global terror network, the American action against Zawahiri also brings physical and psychological relief to India, as the group leader had been making provocative noises, inciting the militants in Kashmir to intensify attacks on the Indian army, economy and government in Kashmir.
Biden, in his statement on the killing of Zawahiri who had acted as number 2 to the Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, said he authorized the precision strike that would remove him from the battlefield once and for all.
For America, he was a co-plotter of the 9/11 attacks that killed 3,000 people in New York and Washington and shook the financial and military foundations of the superpower.
Zawahiri was not just a threat for America, but also for the whole world, especially India as he had been voicing his terror plans against the country, particularly in reference to Kashmir and the Indian army. He had issued some of the most provocative video messages calling for jihad in Kashmir against the Indian army. In one such message in July 2019, days before the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was abrogated, he had stated: I am of the view that the Mujahideen in Kashmir – at this stage at least should single-mindedly focus on inflicting unrelenting blows on the Indian Army and government, so as to bleed the Indian economy and make India suffer sustained losses in manpower and equipment.” In the Video he was having the holy Quran on one side and the Assault rifle on the other.
Al-Qaeda as such didn’t have much presence in the Valley, though there were several announcements of the global terror group having set up its units in Kashmir with bog announcements, but the fact is that al-Qaeda’s pan-Islamic ideology had its impact on militancy which traversed to the Pan-Islamic terrain. The pan-Islamic ideology and action were represented by the groups like Harkat-ul-Ansar, Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen, later Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e- Toiba.
The LeT and Jaish (in its earlier incarnation as Harkat-ul- Ansar ) had worked in close coordination with Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan in planning and executing hijacking of Indian Airliner IC 814 . that hijacking and its culmination in the release of three hardcore terrorists, Masood Azhar, Mushtaq Zargar @ Latram and Omar Sheikh in exchange of the hijacked plane’s passengers and crew in December 1999. That hijacking gave a new twist and teeth to the militancy in Kashmir. Later on Jaish and al-Qaeda worked in tandem in mounting terror assaults on the Indian soil. The terror assault on the Indian Parliament in December 13, 2001, was one of them. Jaish was responsible for the terror attack in Pulwama in February 2019 in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. The attack had shaken the whole of Indian nation. It was the ideology propagated by al-Qaeda that made the terror groups operating in Kashmir at the behest of Pakistan
Zawahiri also talked about the abrogation of Article 370 in his videos and used it as a propaganda to incite the youth in Kashmir to target the Indian assets.
This will deal a blow to the militants still active in the Valley as the elimination of the terror leadership of any kind, especially when that makes a common cause with that of theirs, dents the morale of the terrorists who are already under assault from the security forces.
About the Author:
Arun Joshi is a senior journalist based in J&K. He has worked with Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express, and The Tribune. He has authored “ Eyewitness Kashmir: Teetering on Nuclear War” and three other books.
This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with those of prameyanews.com.