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Jihadis In Kashmir Pledge Allegiance To ISIS, Denounce Pakistani-Backed Separatists

The following report is now complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.

On December 25, 2017, a group of jihadi fighters in Kashmir published a video on Telegram through their media outlet Al-Qaraar.[1] The 14-minute video confirms rumors that a group of fighters in Kashmir have pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and joined the Islamic State (ISIS) as its Kashmir Province (Wilayat Kashmir). The video was also shared later through pro-ISIS Kashmiri channels, before being reposted and distributed by ISIS media distribution channels together with the hashtag "Wilayat Kashmir" [Kashmir Province].[2] This indicates that the pledge of allegiance has most likely been accepted by the ISIS leadership, which may announce this in the near future along with information about the appointment of an emir for the newly formed branch. It should be noted that ISIS claimed its first attack in India on November 18, 2017.[3]

The video shows a masked man named Abu Al-Baraa Al-Kashmiri speaking in Urdu, subtitled in English. He is sitting in front of an ISIS flag with the words "Kashmir Province" written on it. He addresses his message to mujahideen and jihadi supporters in Kashmir, calling upon them to join the jihad and embrace armed struggle to establish shari'a as the only right path. He specifically calls on the mujahideen of the newly-formed jihadi group Ansar Ghazwat Al-Hind (AGH) and its emir Zakir Musa, to pledge allegiance to ISIS.[4] On the same day that the video was posted, Al-Qaraar media also published a poster calling for AGH fighters and their leader to join the ISIS "caliphate."[5]


The video shows images of the burial of the fighter Mugais Ahmad Mir a.k.a. Khattab who perpetrated the first attack claimed by ISIS in Indian Kashmir. His body was wrapped in an ISIS flag.

Al-Kashmiri declares the group's disassociation from, and enmity toward, Kashmir separatist groups supported by Pakistan who have nationalist agendas.[6] He denounces them as "agents of apostasy" and proxies of the ISI (Pakistani intelligence services) who serve Pakistan and America, the "greatest false God." He states that "the fight has just begun," and that they will fight to "dismantle the transgressing Indian system and obliterate unbelief." 


The Al-Qaraar Telegram channel is described as: "Channel represents Mujahedeen of the Islamic Caliphate in the gate way of India (Jammu & Kashmir)"


A post on one of the ISIS distribution channels that shared the video from "Kashmir Province" of the Islamic State. The caption reads: "Pledge of allegiance of the mujahideen in Kashmir to the Islamic State."

The following are selected excerpts from the declaration, based on the English subtitles provided and slightly edited for comprehension:

Denouncing the Separatist Groups Serving America, Pakistan

"Know that the disease of apostasy has unfortunately reached this subcontinent where in the name of jihad and Islam the ways of unbelief are spread, and tragically the people of Truth are labelled as agents (of Jews and unbelief) […] The ways they have endorsed, strikes, right to self-determination (as approved by the false god UN), many of their filthy ways have no place in the religion. […] These agents of apostasy entice believers on such things. [...] For your information they are working under ISI [Pakistani intelligence] whose achievements are strange and ironic: their achievements have only been against the believers. Yes, the same ISI who sold our sister Aafia Siddiqui to America for a few dollars. […] They are the ones bombing believers in Waziristan, bowing to and following their master, the greatest false God America. "


The video image above shows a map of Kashmir covered by the black flag of the Islamic State.

Call to Join ISIS

"We hereby declare the fight has just begun. […] For those sincere brothers who are fighting for establishing Allah's commandments but who are working under those groups working on directions of ISI: they don't even know they are being used as proxies, used for something devoid of true aim. O Muslims, if you sincerely wish for the caliphate, know that the caliphate has been established, and our Caliph is Sheikh Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. Come! Join this procession! […] Come and pledge allegiance to it and strengthen it. And especially we invite the soldiers of Ansar Ghazwat Al-Hind and its emir Zakir Musa. […] We invite you to pledge allegiance to Sheikh Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. […] O Allah, we have stood up! And Allah has commanded to incite believers to fight for His sake, so that the strength of unbelief and its proxies is broken. So that we may dismantle the transgressing Indian system and obliterate unbelief."


The video shows footage from a pro-ISIS demonstration in Srinagar, Kashmir.[7]

 

[1] Source: Telegram.me/Al-Qaraar media, December 25, 2017.

[2] Source: Telegram.me/Nasher Al-Khilafah News, December 26, 2017.

[3] See MEMRI JTTM report ISIS Claims Its First Attack In Indian Kashmir, November 20, 2017.

[4] Although many of the AGH fighters are believed to be loyal to Al-Qaeda, with whom they share a common religious methodology, the group is not believed to be connected to it at this time. It is also believed that there is dissension among Kashmiri mujahideen regarding the Islamic State.

[5] Source: Telegram.me/Al-Qaraar media, December 25, 2017.

[6] Groups specifically mentioned are: Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Hizb-al-mujahideen, and other groups that are members of the United Jihad Council (Muttahida Jihad Council).