Punjabi Taliban Chief Warns Of Terror Attacks In India

Punjabi Taliban Chief Warns Of Terror Attacks In India

11 March 2013
The News International
Amir Mir

Islamabad: The chief operational commander of the al-Qaeda linked Punjabi Taliban Asmatullah Muawiya has warned that India is set to become a major target of terrorist attacks once again, especially after the Allied Forces withdraw from Afghanistan. Muawiya’s statement has been released on an al-Qaeda and TTP-linked jehadi website - Jamia Hafsa Urdu Forum – in which he has also praised two terrorists – Ajmal Kasab of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Afzal Guru of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) who had been sent to the gallows in recent months by the Indian government for their roles in the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack and the December 12, 2001 fidayeen attack on the Indian Parliament in Delhi. Muawiya’s latest threat of terrorist attacks in India comes two months after he made a conditional ceasefire offer to the Pakistan government which envisaged an end to Islamabad’s participation in the Afghan war and the reshaping of the Constitution and foreign policy according to the Quran and Sunnah. The ceasefire offer was made through a letter which was later endorsed by the TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, saying it had the full backing of the TTP leadership. The ceasefire offer was made on December 27, 2012 – on the fifth death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto – whose assassination was blamed on TTP’s founder Baitullah Mehsud. Muawiya’s letter said the TTP was dragged into a war with Pakistan from the Afghanistan and Kashmir fronts, for which the Pakistan army was mainly responsible. “Instead of taking out guns against the Muslims, the Pakistan Army should prepare to take revenge for the 1971 war with India. This will also add the potential of Kashmiri mujahideen to our forces”, said Muawiya in his letter. He explained that the Taliban were not targeting the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the Jamaat-e-Islami and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl because they don’t consider them as their enemies. But Interior Minister Rehman Malik had rejected Muawiya offer of a conditional truce, saying the offer seemed to be a tactical ploy to buy time to revive the organisational strength of the Taliban in Punjab. In his latest anti-India statement, Muawiya, a former commander of Jaish-e-Mohammed who runs the enormous network of the Punjabi Taliban, praised Ajmal Kasab, saying: “He was a true mujahid. He was amongst us; he was ours, a native of Pakistan”. Kasab was hanged in India in November 2012. Muawiya then praised Afzal Guru in his statement, saying his blood will multiply the rise of the jehadi tide. Guru was hanged in February 2013. “Their executions will only strengthen the jehadis’ resolve to attack India and liberate the state of Jammu Kashmir. The attacks in India will increase as jehadis shift their focus from Afghanistan to India and Jammu Kashmir after the US withdraws from the region. Out of their love for Kashmir, and their religious fervour, the mujahideen will opt for Jammu Kashmir and the Americans will not be in position to influence the events in the region this time. This time when the jehad rises in Jammu Kashmir with new courage and dedication, it will be pure from the ISI’s cursed shadow”. It may be recalled that Bruce Reidel, a former adviser to the Obama administration on anti-terrorism planning, had already accused al-Qaeda of having played a role in the planning of the Mumbai attacks as well as the training of the ten-member fidayeen squad of the LeT. According to him, several documents seized at al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden’s compound suggested a much larger direct al-Qaeda role in the planning of the Mumbai attacks than many assumed. He has already been quoted by the international media as saying that bin Laden was in close contact with Hafiz Saeed and helped plan the 2008 Mumbai attack. Bruce believed that bin Laden may have seen surveillance reports prepared by David Headley, the LeT operative who scouted out locations for the Mumbai siege. Moreover, Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jandal, the alleged facilitator of the Mumbai attack, had revealed during interrogation in India that al-Qaeda was tasked with training the Mumbai attackers in a LeT training camp close to the Pakistan-Iran border. It was in the wake of these reports that the US State Department placed [in April 2012] the Jamaatul Daawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed on the most-wanted terrorist list for his alleged involvement in the 26-11 Mumbai terror attacks.