Hizbul Mujahideen vs Al Qaeda: Split wide open within Kashmir terror groups

Did someone within Lashkar betray Abu Ismail by giving intel inputs to security forces? The Thursday encounter of Amarnath mastermind shows the deep divide between the terrorist organisations working in Kashmir.

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Hizbul Mujahideen vs Al Qaeda: Split wide open within Kashmir terror groups
It if for the first time in 27 years that there has been such a divide among Kashmir terror groups. (File)


As security forces gunned down Abu Ismail, architect of the Amarnath terror attack, the conflict between Kashmir terror groups came out in open.

The simmering tension between pro-Pakistan United Jihadi Council and pro-Islamic rule Al Qaeda has been going on since May when top commander of Hizbul Mujahideen Zakir Musa was named Ameer (chief) of Al Qaeda-linked New Jihadist group 'Ansar Ghazwat-Ul-Hind.

Musa has not only distanced himself from the pro-Pakistan group, but is also seen and heard  talking about establishing Sharia rule in Kashmir.

Earlier in March, a video was circulated in the Valley in which Musa was seen exhorting the Islamic values.

A Guardian report said that the softly-spoken Musa appealed to protesters such as the Pulwama students “not to fall for nationalism”. “I see that many people in Kashmir are engaged in a war of nationalism, which is forbidden in Islam,” he said.

The fight in the region should “not be for the sake of Kashmir,” he said. “It should be exclusively for Islam so that Sharia is established here.”

Later on July 30, a highly influential Hizbul commander Riyaz Naikoo appeared at the funeral of one of the two terrorists killed in Pulwama encounter and cautioned people against falling into the Al Qaeda trap.

Naikoo asked people not to join those who 'defame freedom movement'.

The security forces are closely watching this rift between the terror groups.

“Time will tell, but it is definitely an important shift,” SP Vaid, the director-general of the Jammu and Kashmir police service was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

Abu Ismail's encounter is the latest flashpoint in this ongoing conflict.

A Firstpost report said Ismail had replaced Abu Dujana as operational chief in Kashmir after Dujana sided himself with Musa.

Hours after the death of Ismail, Lashkar's Jammu and Kashmir chief Mehmood Shah issued a stern warning to the "informers".

So, is this conflict helping the security forces?

This cannot be proven directly, but the way Abu Ismail was killed in a 5-minute gun battle, it shows that the secirity forces had a very specific intel about him.

Soon after the encounter, Major General BS Raju, commanding officer of Indian Army's Victor Force said that they are expecting a vacuum in Lashkar's foreign leadership.

“He (Abu Ismail) was directly responsible for the death of 14 security force personal and eight civilians besides injures to lot of people. We are looking serious deficiencies in their (foreign militant) leadership which should give us more opportunities. We will continue these kinds of operations to neutralise the remnant people which should bring some peace and clam in the Valley.”

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