No Links With Al-Qaeda: Salahuddin
4 January 2007
The Daily Excelsior
New Delhi: Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) chief Syed Salahuddin has denied any link between the Al-Qaeda and his outfit and said it is not in the 'interest of the Hizb' as it is 'fighting' all Kashmiris and not Muslims alone. 'As far as we Kashmiris are concerned, we are only confined to Kashmir.... We have no introduction or links with the Al- Qaeda. I think it is not in our interest to side with Al-Qaeda because we are not fighting only for the Muslim Kashmiris but for all the Kashmiris including non-Muslims,' Salahuddin said in an interview to a Pakistan-based private news channel. The chief of the United Jehad Council (UJC), an umbrella organisation of 19 militant groups operating in Kashmir, claimed that the United States of America 'introduced' the name of Al-Qaeda after 9-11 attacks. 'The outfit was not popular among the Muslims till 9-11.... I never heard of the Al-Qaeda during the Afghan jihad,' he said. Stating that India has always tried to establish links between the Hizb and the Al-Qaeda and Taliban, Salahuddin said both the groups emerged only in the nineties. 'We started our struggle more than a century ago and the Al-Qaeda and the Hizb came into existence only in the nineties,' claimed Salahuddin who is based in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan occupied Kashmir. Asked if the people involved in 7-7 bombing in London had any links with the Hizb, he said his outfit was only operating in Kashmir. 'I repeat that we are disappointed with the West but we are fighting only and only in Kashmir. I have been contacted many times by different western Governments in the past and I also made it clear to them that we are confined to Kashmir only,' he asserted. 'Belonging to the Kashmiri creed is different from having links with Kashmiris. There are so many Kashmiris working in USA at sensitive places but it is not necessary that they all are linked to US,' he added.