Kashmiri faked death: Indian intelligence


Left: a purported photograph of Ilyas Kashmiri after his death. The picture is actually that of Abu Dera Ismael Khan, a Lashkar-e-Taiba fighter who was a member of the suicide assault team that attacked Mumbai, India, in November 2008. Right: Ilyas Kashmiri before his death. The image on the left is published courtesy of the SITE Intelligence Group.

The Asia Times has an interesting update that supports the theory that senior al Qaeda and Harakat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami leader Ilyas Kashmiri is alive. Indian officials believe Kashmiri may have faked his death to allow him to slip under the radar of US intelligence, which is actively pursuing him via Predator and Reaper strike aircraft in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Interestingly, the Indian list of most wanted people also carries the name of Ilyas Kashmiri, who is believed to have been killed in a US drone attack that targeted his hideout in Gowakha village of the Wana area in the South Waziristan tribal area on June 3.

However, Indian authorities believe that true to his reputation of a survivor, Kashmiri might have escaped death once again…

The indications are that Kashmiri intentionally floated the news of his death in a drone attack to avoid the heat following the killing of Bin Laden in Pakistan. His role in the Mumbai terror plot is unclear, but as per his own claims he was the one who thought of such a plan, which was eventually hijacked.

For more information on why we here at The Long War Journal have been skeptical of the reports of Kashmiri’s death, see Threat Matrix report, Is Ilyas Kashmiri really dead? Kashmiri may in fact be dead, but we haven’t seen sufficient proof to confirm this yet. Far too many leaders from al Qaeda, Taliban, and other allied terror groups have been reported killed over the years, only to show up alive later.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • James says:

    Bill, I am more inclined to believe India’s intelligence services on this one rather than even our own.
    Let’s hope that we are now working (at least initially and possibly behind the scenes) closely with India’s intelligence services.
    I have long advocated that the above strategy may well prove to be an ultimate game changer for both US and India particularly in that region and in the overall GWOT.

  • Charu says:

    As much as I would like to be just as sanguine about Indian intelligence reports over Kashmiri, I feel that they mostly compile Western reports and repackage them for internal consumption. That is not to say that they are probably correct on this hunch, but it is unlikely that they have any deeper insight than our agencies.

  • Vienna,31-07-2011
    My view is that it is imperative India and the U.S. should
    play waltz here not only to serve their own national interests
    but also the interest of world peace.I hope they realize
    this. I am an individual journalist under retirement and
    monitoring to the best of my abilities. But my experience
    helps me believe I touch the heart of the matter.
    Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring,TTTMM, India
    –Kulamarva Balakrishna

  • JRP says:

    The U.S. “Confirmation” of Kashmiri’s death may have been our own bit of disinformation in the hope of getting him to think we’d taken the bait. I for one, having believed him dead, am now in the camp that thinks he is alive.
    Nonetheless, I do think getting Zawahiri is more important than getting Kashmiri.

  • villiger says:

    I agree with Charu, one should not assume that India has an edge over the US on intel sources in Pak.
    Also, while we know the Pak Army can lie through their teeth, one can’t see what they would stand to gain in doing so in the current situation. Or, why they would leave themselves exposed to embarrassment if its found that he’s actually alive.
    The Indians in their first cut on the most-wanted-list, even goofed up by listing a couple of names of people who are actually in their own custody!
    The bottom-line is we still don’t know, and as Bill has said many times, we will know when AQ wants us to know.


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