Major Tussle Between Al-Qaeda, Hizbul Mujahideen and ISIS Reported in Kashmir

The terror groups like Al Qaeda Kashmir have been waiting for a response to the ISIS attack to make themselves relevant again.

There is reportedly an intense clash going on between Al-Qaeda Kashmir, Hizbul Mujahideen,  and ISJK (Islamic State of Jammu and Kashmir). The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan believes that the former local terrorist group could be leaking information on other terror outfits in what could well be a battle of supremacy in Jammu and Kashmir.

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Hizbul Mujahideen has somehow gotten a rap for playing under-the-table deals with the security forces and leaking out critical information on the other terror groups. They have also said to have closed all communication with the Pakistani establishment.

The Indian strike on Balakot post-Pulwama on terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) has left a huge space in leadership in the region. With JeM quickly dwindling in the number of cadres, the Hizbul has taken up the initiative of grooming a sizeable following and taking control.

The ISIS attack in Colombo has made the terror outfits eager for attention in making their presence felt in the region. The terror groups like Al Qaeda Kashmir have been waiting for a response to the ISIS attack to make themselves relevant again.

Considering the power, influence and operations of the Al-Qaeda Kashmir organisation in the region, the much smaller outfit Hizbul has been interacting with the security forces by providing info on their whereabouts. This would level the playing field and the ambitious Hizbul Mujahideen can take power in the region.

Hizbul is considered a local terror group under the patronage of the Pakistan Army-ISI combine. The leader, Syed Salahuddin is said to have connections within the Pak Army brass. Last week, the security forces neutralised four terrorists of Al Qaeda Kashmir also known as Ansar Ghazwatul Hind—Rafi Hassan Mir of Kralchak, Shopian, Suhail Ahmad Bhat of Batmuran, Shopian, Showkat Ahmad Mir of Rajpora in Pulwama and Azad Ahmad Khanday of Bamnoo, Pulwama. The Hizbul terrorists have been mentioned to have been the primary source of information on the whereabouts of the slain Al Qaeda Kashmir recruits in the Panzar area of Shopian.

The Hizbul Mujahideen and the Pakistani based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) launched a fight with the international terror outfit Islamic State Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK) in Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Wednesday. Adil Das (ISJK Commander) and Arif Hussain (Hizbul terrorist) Bhat clashed at an apple orchard in Sirhama village in Beijbehara. Das was killed in the shootout and Bhat was arrested by the State police.

With the local Al-Qaeda wing decimated from the region, the ISJK (Wilayah Al-Hind) has been able to get immensely effective in the region. The gunfight that ensued is an indication of a struggle for power and an expression of desperation over the persistent clashes with the security forces in the area. The security forces have been consistent with their raids have killed more than 700 terrorists in the region in the last three years. The death toll includes Al Qaeda Kashmir chief Zakir Musa and Hizbul commander Burhan Wani among others.

The escape of the key commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, Riyaz Naikoo, has not gone well with the security forces here as the search and elimination has been expedited. The Indian Army has made the Hizbul commander target number one in an updated list of the most wanted terrorists as a part of the Operation All Out.

Agencies in the Valley are getting good information on the movement and hideouts of other terror groups and are expecting the trend to continue in both short and long term, added the sources.