Global terror-outfit Al Qaeda’s regional franchise, Al Qaeda in the Sub-continent (AQIS) has released two simultaneous statements threatening jihadist attacks targeting Bangladesh and India. According to information, the man who has been maintaining connections with AQIS as well as Ansar Al Islam (formerly known as Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh – JMB) is a sacked military officer named Hasinur Rahman. Meanwhile, another source told this correspondent, sitting in the United Kingdom, an INTERPOL wanted convicted terror-funder named Shahid Uddin Khan has been frantically trying to recruit dozens of youths in Bangladesh and use them in staging armed-revolt against the Bangladesh government. Shahid Uddin Khan has been issuing video statements through social media platform Facebook, where he gives instructions to his followers and members of his sleeper cell to “gain strength” and “get organize” for a staging mass-revolt in Bangladesh. According to Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies, Shahid Uddin Khan faces accusations of funding terrorist outfits, including regional chapter of Al Qaeda, while another source said he also maintains regular connections with Islamic State (ISIS).
According to media reports, Shahid Uddin Khan sent “thousands of dollars” to Sri Lanka to his ISIS contact days before the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks on August 21, 2019.
Meanwhile, media reports claimed, Hasinur Rahman, a sacked military officer from Bangladesh, who is working as handler for Pakistani intelligence agency Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) has been plotting suicide bomb attacks targeting at least two major tourism sites in India on August 15.
Al Qaeda threatens Bangladesh
On June 5, 2022, the proscribed Al Qaeda in the sub-continent (AQIS) released a statement condemning Bangladesh government for sentencing seven jihadists, who AQIS termed as “innocent persons” to death for killings of “Islamophobes” Shafiul Islam Lilion and Ananta Bijoy on charges of blasphemy.
The AQIS release describes Bangladesh government as “obedient agents of Hindutva menace and Taghut” who did not bring the “Islamophobes to justice but has put so-called innocent” persons on death row” while it was AQIS mujahideen who had killed those who defamed Islam.
A day later, AQIS threatened to conduct suicide bombings in Delhi, Bombay (Mumbai), Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat and teach a lesson to “Hindu terrorists” occupying India after the now suspended spokesperson of the BJP was accused of blasphemy.
While the threat to India comes after the comments made by suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma days ago, the Bangladesh government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was blasted for Lilion and Bijoy, both of whom were awarded death penalty for terrorist activities in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
The two statements are also indicative of the fact that there is a rise of Al Qaeda in the region after the Taliban virtually chased out the American troops on August 15, 2021. Intelligence inputs indicate that Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri is based in Afghanistan through the Taliban regime denies it and has conveyed to India that the global terrorist has taken shelter in Iran.
Tehran too denies the presence of Zawahiri in Iran and has conveyed that the Al Qaeda leader is based in Afghanistan under the shelter of the ruling Taliban. Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed by US troops in Pakistan in 2011.
According to national security planners, the AQIS statements against both India and Bangladesh seem to have been plotted with the sole objective of making New Delhi and Dhaka targets of Islamists.
Analysis of social media in the past few days after the controversy indicates that the agenda against India and Bangladesh is driven from Pakistan with the use of unverified twitter accounts and bots.
While India has conveyed the rise of Al Qaeda in the region to their US inter-locutors, the jihadists are at an advantage as the entire US and the west is focused on Ukraine war. The rising economic instability in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives, and Nepal will lead to more public agitations, which later may lead to turning these countries into fertile grounds of jihadists activities. AQIS is spreading radicalization in the entire sub-continent. It is also claimed by counterterrorism experts that AQIS and ISIS are using Tablighi Jamaat for spreading religious hatred and recruiting fighters.
Meanwhile, both AQIS and ISIS may find opportunity in spreading terrorist activities within Myanmar, Bangladesh, India as well as other nations in the region by recruiting Rohingyas as fighters and suicide attackers. It is also anticipated that these jihadist outfits may use Rohingyas in forming alliance with radical Islamic militancy groups in China’s Xinjiang province.
Terror-funder has business relations with British MP
According to media reports, INTERPOL wanted convicted terror-funder Shahid Uddin Khan is having business relations with UK Tory Party MP Stephen Williams Hammond. It may be mentioned here that, Hammond is helping Shahid Uddin Khan in skipping deportation by using his connections within the British ruling party and law enforcement agencies.
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