Friday, December 17, 2010


London, Dec 18: Al-Qaeda supremo Osama bin Laden had promised militants fighting in Kashmir that they will not "run short of funds" and was willing to "divert" $20 million to support Kashmir-oriented militancy, Indian officials were quoted as telling US diplomats by WikiLeaks.
In a cable dated May 24, 2006 containing the details of a Joint Working Group (CTJWG) meeting in Washington published by WikiLeaks, ministry of external affairs additional secretary (international organisations) KC Singh was quoted as saying that India is now more prominent on al-Qaeda's radar.
He pointed out to Osama's deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri's April 29 video message praising "popular jihadist movements against Indians in Kashmir" and calling India "the best candidate for carrying out the Zionist-Crusader scheme to humiliate, weaken, and dismember Pakistan."
He said that al-Zawahiri's recent reference to the US-India civil nuclear agreement demonstrated that Delhi's growing cooperation with Washington was drawing al-Qaeda's attention, the US cables published by the Guardian said.
Singh asserted that Pakistan's ISI retains connections to al-Qaeda and has been privy to Osama bin Laden's communications.
To a query by a senior American diplomat, joint secretary (cabinet secretariat) Sharad Kumar stated that Indian intelligence has transcripts of pre-9/11 meetings between Laden and Mullah Omar during which Jammu and Kashmir was discussed.
He continued that Laden had been "willing to divert $20 million" from Central Asian programming to support Kashmir-oriented militancy.
Kumar was also quoted as saying that Laden promised that the Kashmiri jihadis "would not run short of funds."
Kumar added that when Laden sent his bodyguard contingent to help the Taliban fight the Northern Alliance, the temporary chief of his security force was an unnamed individual who went on to join Jaish-e-Mohammad.
Singh ascribed al-Qaeda's increasing interest in India to the July 18 Indo-US civil nuclear agreement.
"ISI seeks to heat things up" to interfere with growing US-India convergence, he claimed.
Kumar observed that, "al-Qaeda franchises," if not al-Qaeda proper, are and have been very active in India.
He defined "al-Qaeda franchises" as groups that espouse the same extremist ideology and share some logistical and funding infrastructure even while remaining discrete organisations, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.
Not all these groups or their attacks are linked, he continued; each must be investigated individually to locate their intersections.


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