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The Pak Hand

10 33 0

The latest message of Al Qaeda chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri has called for "single-mindedly focusing 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".

The message goes on to excoriate Pakistan's perfidy and treachery in Kashmir.

On the face of it, Zawahiri's message seems to convey that Kashmir is now firmly in the cross-hairs of international jihadist organisations — but if only things were that simple in the murky world of jihadist terrorism.

Rogues' Gallery: Ayman al-Zawahiri with Osama bin Laden. (Photo: Reuters)

Given the sort of deep linkages that exist between the Al Qaeda, the various hues of Taliban (Afghan, Pakistani and Haqqani Network), the Pakistani jihadist terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and the Pakistani 'deep state' and the infamous Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the Zawahiri message is a clear-cut indication that the jihadists and their patron — Pakistan — are prepping for the post-US withdrawal from Afghanistan phase, in which a new wave of violence will be unleashed in south Asia — especially in Afghanistan and India.

Delve a little deeper into what Zawahiri said and two things emerge clearly: one, the objective of bleeding the Indian economy and inflicting blows on the Indian army is actually that of the Pakistani state and society and on this, there is a complete convergence of interest between the Pakistani state and Al Qaeda; two, reeling under pressure from various fronts, the Pakistanis would be quite happy with the alibi given to them by Zawahiri. While Al Qaeda cultivates notoriety, Pakistan would like to avoid it because of the costs it entails.

Pakistan would rather collaborate with Al Qaeda and let it take the lead and the heat — even as it profits from the actions of Al Qaeda, which it facilitates. Zawahiri railing into Pakistan works well for the Pakistanis who can use this as an alibi — just as they used planted stories of Taliban harbouring Pakistani terrorists to ward off US pressure to capture Osama bin Laden by claiming that they had no control over the Taliban. This is a claim they have again started using........

© DailyO