The government of Pakistan called the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by Indian troops “deplorable and condemnable.” This condemnation highlights Pakistan’s support for terrorist groups throughout the region. Hizb-ul-Mujahideen is listed by the US, the European Union, and India as a terrorist organization.
Indian troops killed Wani and two other Hizb-ul-Mujahideen fighters during a raid in a village in Indian Kashmir on July 8. Indian forces surrounded the village after receiving intelligence that one of Wani’s associates was in the village, The Times of India reported.
Wani was a military commander for Hizb-ul-Mujahideen in Kashmir. He was described by the Hindustan Times as “the new face of Kashmiri militancy in virtual world” for his use of social media to recruit new fighters and spread Hizb-ul-Mujahideen’s message. His stated goal was to “unfurl the flag of Islam on Delhi’s Red Fort” and called for Kashmiris to wage “holy war.”
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a rebuke of the Indian operation that took out Wani, and described him as a “Kashmiri leader.”
“The extrajudicial killing of Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani and scores of other innocent Kashmiris is deplorable and condemnable,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in an official press release. “Such acts are a violation of fundamental human rights of Kashmiris and can not deter the people of Jammu and Kashmir from their demand for the realisation of the right to self determination.”
Pakistan has refused to recognize Jammu and Kashmir as an Indian state and has fomented a jihadist insurgency there since 1989. The Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), the powerful military intelligence wing that secretly directs Pakistan’s foreign policy, has created and supported numerous jihadist groups in Jammu and Kashmir in an effort to separate the state from India.
Hizb-ul-Mujahideen ties to international jihad
Hizb-ul-Mujahideen is one of the more powerful jihadist insurgent groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir. It has close ties to other Pakistani terror groups that focuses on fighting in Jammu and Kashmir, but also supports al Qaeda and other jihadist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Its leader, Syed Salahuddin, operates unfettered inside Pakistan and he and his group are directly supported by the state.
In May 2011, Salahuddin admitted that the Pakistani military allows him to run “hundreds of training camps in the state where we recruit and train the mujahideen.”
Salahuddin is also the chairman of the United Jihad Council, which is supported by the Pakistani military and the ISI as well. The Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, two groups that are on the US and United Nations lists of terror organizations, are similarly part of the United Jihad Council. Salahuddin has close ties to the Lashkar-e-Taiba and its charitable front, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa. Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, and Jaish-e-Mohammed are listed by the US government as terrorist organizations for their involvement in terrorist activities in India and Afghanistan.
Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chieftain Salahuddin is open about his support for jihadist activities in India and Afghanistan. In July 2012, Salahuddin spoke at a fundraising and recruiting drive for jihad in Afghanistan and India, and said Pakistan is the victim of a US and Israeli conspiracy. At the conference, which was held in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi, he stated that his fighters were waging jihad against the US.
“Pakistan is the target of the US-Israeli nexus. Our fighters are defending Pakistan at a time when its geographical boundaries, its security and Islamic identity are at risk,” Salahuddin said. “We are fighting in Kashmir. It doesn’t matter to us if we are labelled terrorists. We are proud to be called terrorists for fighting the US and its allies in Afghanistan.”
The Pakistani government refuses to act against Salahuddin and other terrorist leaders, despite their direct involvement in terrorist activities.
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