Kashmir Family Claims Alleged al Qaida Man as Their Son
Al Qaeda in Pakistan (representational image)
NEW DELHI: A Kashmir family has claimed that an Al-Qaida militant killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan earlier this year is their son.
Nazir Ahmad Dar, a resident of Kokernag in Anantnag district told The Citizen he saw his brother, Muhammad Ashraf Dar, who had left home at the age of 15 in 2001 for arms training to Pakistan, in a video released on Jihadi networks last week.
"I am sure it was him," Nazir said, "He used to make phone calls to home till December last year. We always asked him to shun the path of violence and return home, but he was inclined to become a martyr. Then the calls suddenly stopped coming," Nazir said over phone.
The video was released last week by As-Sahab, the media wing of Al Qaida's Indian subcontinent (AQIS) as a part of the series 'Jihadi Yadien' (Memories of Martyrs). AQIS claimed Ashraf, who is seen sitting talking about parents and family and later leading the prayers, is a resident of “Islamabad area of Kashmir”.
Anantnag district is also popularly known as Islamabad in Kashmir Valley.
The Al Qaeda claimed that Ashraf was killed in a US drone attack on January 5, 2015 in North Wazirstan along with Qari Imran, the outfit's in-charge of Afghanistan, making him the first militant from J&K to have perished in the ranks of the outfit.
According to locals, Ashraf, alias Umar Kashmiri, ran a grocery store in the area and he was highly religious before crossing over to Pakistan for arms training. Lately, the family was in touch with him through Whatsapp and emails.
However, the J&K Police didn't verify the claims made by Dar family. "We have no information about him. He has left home a long time ago and joined militants. There is no evidence to confirm the family's claim,” a J&K Police officer said.
The family's claims come days after a war of words broke out between the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda over the later's role in the armed conflict in Kashmir.
"In India, they (al-Qaeda) are the allies of the nationalist Kashmir factions whose advances and withdrawals are only by the order of the apostate Pakistani army,” an article in the latest issue of IS mouthpiece, Dabiq, said.
Earlier, Lashkar-e-Toiba, which is widely believed to enjoy the patronage of Pakistan Army, had hit out at the IS for carrying out the attacks in Paris.
“Daesh (IS) is an anti-Islam group created by the West, and .... India is also completely involved in the creation. We do not attack innocent civilians. Our aim is to fight Indian army in Kashmir, and not to attack innocent civilians within India," Lashkar chief, Mahmood Shah, said in a statement to a local news agency in Srinagar.