Al-Qaeda's affiliate Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind (AGH) has named Hameed Lalhari alias Haroon Abbas as the successor of Zakir Musa in Jammu and Kashmir. In its latest audio statement released after Zakir Musa's killing, the Kabul-based outfit praised Kashmir's top militant commanders Burhan Wani, Zakir Musa and Afghan war veteran Ghazi Baba who carried out the attack on Parliament in 2001. It also warned of fresh attacks on the Indian Army and police in the valley.
The Al-Qaeda also released a video in which its spokesperson, Faisal Bhat, who is also believed to be a Kashmiri, praised Zakir Musa who "stood by the message of Shariah" and likened him to Osama Bin Laden and Ghazi Baba. The outfit called Zakir Musa "as a righteous leader" and asked the Kashmiri Muslim youth to join his cause.
The Al-Qaeda also praised Burhan Wani, the Hizbul Mujahideen commander, and Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. The Al-Qaeda spokesperson laid out its strategy in fighting the Indian armed forces in Kashmir by naming Zakir Musa's successor and his two associates who will head the operations in Kashmir.
The outfit called its militants "the soldiers of the Battle of Hind" who will soon be joined many Al-Qaeda associates from Afghanistan, according to the statement. "The Mujahideen & leaders of AQIS are eager to meet their brethren in #Kashmir... soon they would join them & launch attacks on oppressive army & police," the statement said.
The Al-Qaeda also criticised Pakistan for waging a "proxy war" in Kashmir which is not in alignment with the Islamic rule of law. It said that many militants who had crossed over to Pakistan for arms training were disappointed with the conduct of the authorities there and instead sought refuge in Al-Qaeda's ideology.
Faisal Bhat, who is from Srinagar, had crossed over to Pakistan and was trained by Gazi Baba. He said that Baba had trained many youth from Kashmir valley in Pakistan to fight Indian forces. Gazi is believed to be one of the masterminds of the Pulwama terror attack on February 14 that led to an escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan.
Al-Qaeda group in Kashmir will now be headed by Abdul Hameed Lelhari, alias Haroon Abbas, who is also from Pulwama, South Kashmir. His two deputies have been named as Abu Ubaida and Gazi Ibrahim Khalid. The 30-year-old Al-Qaeda chief in Kashmir had previously been assisting Zakir Musa in his operations.