The banned Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) issued a statement criticizing the Bangladesh government for putting seven “innocent” people to death for the blasphemy murders of Islamophobes Shafiul Islam Lilion and Ananta Bijoy.
The Bangladesh government is described by AQIS as “obedient agents of Hindutva menace and Taghut” who have not brought Islamophobes to justice but have put “innocent” people on death row, despite the fact that it was AQIS mujahideen who executed those who defamed Islam.
After the now-suspended BJP spokesperson was accused of blasphemy, AQIS promised to carry out suicide bombs in Delhi, Bombay (Mumbai), Uttar Pradesh, and Gujarat to teach a lesson to “Hindu terrorists” invading India.
While the threat to India follows statements made by a former BJP spokesperson a few days ago, Sheikh Hasina’s administration has been chastised for the executions of Lilion and Bijoy in 2014 and 2015, respectively, for suspected blasphemy. Surprisingly, Pakistan is the only country that has a grudge towards both India and its ally Bangladesh, and it is from Pakistan that this blasphemy storm was sparked on social media by accounts originating in the Af-Pak area.
While the Pakistani elite is aware of the escalating radicalism and propagation of terror in the Islamic republic, India is concerned about the Pakistan Army’s failure to combat jihadi factories and radicalisers there.
The two remarks also indicate that Al Qaeda is on the increase in the Af-Pak area, following the Taliban’s virtual expulsion of American soldiers on August 15, 2021. According to intelligence reports, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is located in Afghanistan, while the governing Taliban disputes this and has informed India that the global terrorist has found refuge in Iran.
Tehran has also denied Zawahiri’s presence in Iran, stating that the Al Qaeda head is stationed in Afghanistan and is protected by the ruling Taliban. Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, was killed by US soldiers in Pakistan in 2011.
While Muslim nations as a whole have made an issue out of a former BJP spokesperson’s alleged blasphemy in India, the truth is that radicalization is on the rise in the Af-Pak area, with the Taliban controlling Kabul and providing refuge to Al Qaeda. The AQIS obtains its cannon fodder from Islamabad, much as the bulk of the Islamic State of Khorasan Province’s (ISKP) cadre do.
The AQIS remarks against both India and Bangladesh, according to national security strategists, appear to have been organized by Pakistan’s deep state with the express purpose of making New Delhi and Dhaka targets of Islamists on blasphemy allegations. Analysis of social media in the days following the issue shows that Pakistan is driving the discourse against India and Bangladesh through the use of unverified twitter accounts and bots.
While India has informed its US counterparts about the expansion of Al Qaeda in the Af-Pak area, the jihadists have an edge because the whole US and western world is focused on the Ukraine conflict. Rising economic insecurity in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the Maldives, and Nepal will lead to increasing public unrest, which will eventually provide fertile ground for jihadists. AQIS is only a front for Pakistan’s deep state, which engages in dark arts and radicalizes the whole subcontinent.