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From hijab to Kashmir, Zawahiri was Al-Qaeda's voice for everything anti-India

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Following the hijab row, the deceased Al-Qaeda chief had put out a video praising the defiance by the girl. He said that he was moved by her defiance

New Delhi, Aug 02: The United States today confirmed that it had taken out Al-Qaeda chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri in a drone strike. He was killed in Kabul when a drone hit him while he was standing at the balcony of his residence.

This is a welcome development for India as Zawahiri had in the past few years trained his guns on India. The chief who everyone thought had been killed confirmed his existence recently when he put out a video praising the girl from Karnataka who raised the hijab issue, which went on to become a national narrative.

Ayman al-Zawahiri

While Zawahiri was the overall chief of the terror group which carried out the 9/11 attacks, the rise of the Islamic State forced him to change track. With the Islamic State growing in countries such as Syria and Iraq which were once the strongholds of the Al-Qaeda, Zawahiri changed his focus to the sub-continent. He formed a wing called the Al-Qaeda in the Sub-Continent (AQIS) which was fully focused on the sub-continent especially India.

Ayman al-Zawahiri from surgeon to key plotter of 9/11 attacksAyman al-Zawahiri from surgeon to key plotter of 9/11 attacks

The fact that Zawahiri wanted to focus so much on India was evident from the fact that he appointed Asim Umar as the chief of the AQIS. Umar incidentally hailed from Uttar Pradesh. With the appointment of the now deceased Umar, the AQIS was able to achieve its goal of radicalising the Muslims from UP, Bihar and beyond.

Following the death of Umar, Zawahiri decided to take it upon himself to continue with the radicalisation programme in India.

The AQIS may have not had success in carrying out terror attacks, but Intelligence Bureau sources that OneIndia spoke with said that his videos had gone viral and were used at every radicalisation camp, be it in UP, Jammu and Kashmir or Kerala.

In 2019 Zawahiri had put out a video titled 'Don't forget Kashmir,' in which he threatens the Indian Army and calls for strikes in the Valley.

Ayman al-Zawahiri’s profile changes from most wanted to deceasedAyman al-Zawahiri’s profile changes from most wanted to deceased

A year prior to this video, Zawahiri had put out another video in which he called on the Al-Qaeda cadres to carry out strikes in India. "You strike Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata then Kashmir will be liberated automatically from India," it said.

Another official said that of late the outfit had been commenting on every internal affair of India. During the anti-CAA protests, the agencies had found that there was plenty of material that the Al-Qaeda had put up on the internet which led to mass radicalisation programmes and eventually widespread violence.

It all worked like a well oiled machine, says another officer. Following the hijab row, the deceased Al-Qaeda chief had put out a video praising the defiance by the girl Muskhan Khan. He said that he was moved by her defiance.

It was found that the AQIS had put out a lot of material during the hijab row. To complement them the countries part of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) too had made comments only to add fuel to the fire.

US kills top Al-Qaeda leader Zawahiri in CIA drone strikeUS kills top Al-Qaeda leader Zawahiri in CIA drone strike

Zawahiri may not have been as powerful as his predecessor Osama Bin Laden who created more damage to the West. However he was instrumental in the radicalisation programme in India and in his death, the agencies would sure breathe a sigh of relief

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