Al-Qaeda becoming 'Pakistanised' and getting stronger, says columnist Amir Mir
Islamabad, Sep 12(ANI): Pakistani terrorism experts believe that the current spate of high-intensity attacks in the country, despite Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden's death four months ago, make obvious that the terror group's core elements are still resilient and that the outfit is cultivating stronger operational connections that radiate outward from hideouts in Pakistan to affiliates scattered throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, according to Amir Mir, Pakistani journalist and author who is noted for his extensive work and coverage of news related to Islamic terrorism, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"The general notion that Al-Qaeda is getting stronger even after the decade-long 'war on terror', can be gauged from the fact that Pakistan, despite being a key US ally during all those years, is undergoing a radical change, moving from the phase of Talibanization of its society to the Pakistanization of Al-Qaeda," Mir wrote in an article for the Asia Times.
"Many of the key Pakistani jihadi organizations, which are both anti-American and anti-state, have already joined hands with Al-Qaeda to let loose a reign of terror across Pakistan. The meteoric rise of the Taliban militia in Pakistan, especially after 9/11, has literally pushed the Pakistani state to the brink of civil war, claiming over 35,000 lives in terrorism-related incidents between 2001 and 2011."
"Terrorism experts believe that the Pakistanization of Al-Qaeda is rooted in decades of collaboration between elements of the Pakistani military and the intelligence establishment and extremist jihadi movements that birthed and nurtured Al-Qaeda, which has evolved significantly over the years from a close-knit group of Arab Afghans to a trans-national Islamic global insurgency, dominated by more and more Pakistani militants," he added.
He further said that the experts also believe that despite the physical elimination of Bin Laden, his terrorist outfit remains a potent threat to global peace as it keeps blooming in the Pakistan-Afghanistan tribal belt.
"They say Al-Qaeda, for all practical purposes, is now a Pakistani phenomenon as a good number of the anti-American sectarian and jihadi groups in the country have joined the terrorist network, making Pakistan the nerve center of Al-Qaeda's global operations," he wrote.
He also highlighted that the violence-wracked Waziristan region has become the new battlefield for the pro-Kashmir militants, who have already joined hands with the anti-US Al-Qaeda elements.
"Information collected by Pakistani agencies shows the presence of fighters belonging to several pro-Kashmir jihadi groups, many of which have fallen out of favor with the Pakistani military and intelligence establishment, which is under tremendous pressure to stop harboring Al-Qaeda-linked elements," Mir wrote.
"These groups, which include the Harkatul Jihad-al-Islami, al-Badar, Jamaatul Furqaan and renegade elements of the Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Lashkar-e-Toiba, have strong connections with Al-Qaeda in terms of operational collaboration and logistical support."
"Veteran jihadi commanders like Kashmiri, who was reportedly killed in June in a US drone attack, were the first to adopt Al-Qaeda's ideology - that the weakening of the world's only superpower, the United States, is essential for the survival of the Muslim world," he added. (ANI)
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