`Ample funds available for Kashmiri jihadis`

Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden said jihadis fighting in J&K will "not run short of funds".

Updated: Dec 17, 2010, 16:34 PM IST

London: Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden reportedly pledged his support to jihadis fighting in Jammu and Kashmir and said they will "not run short of funds", reveal a fresh batch of US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

In a meeting with US diplomats, Indian security officials said that India is now becoming more prominent on al Qaeda`s radar and pointed out to the terror group`s number two Ayman al-Zawahiri`s April 29, 2006, video message praising "popular jihadist movements against Indians in Kashmir".

Al-Zawahiri calls India "the best candidate for carrying out the Zionist-Crusader scheme to humiliate, weaken, and dismember Pakistan".
The daily Guardian here on Friday published latest round of nearly 250,000 diplomatic cables given to the whistleblower site WikiLeaks by a US Army intelligence analyst.

Specialist Bradley Manning, 22, who was deployed at a base near Baghdad, has been arrested and is awaiting trial.

In the meeting with US officials, Joint Secretary (Cabinet Secretariat) Sharad Kumar stated that Indian intelligence has transcripts of pre-9/11 meetings between Osama bin Laden and Taliban chief Mullah Omar during which terrorism in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir was discussed.

Kumar said that Osama was "willing to divert USD 20 million" from Central Asian programming to support Kashmir-oriented terrorism, and that Osama was quoted as saying the Kashmiri jihadis "would not run short of funds".

Kumar, whom the cable identified as being associated with India`s foreign intelligence Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), added that when Osama 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.

The cable said that KC Singh, additional secretary (International Organisations) in the Indian foreign ministry, asserted that Pakistan`s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) retains connections to al Qaeda and has been privy to Osama`s communications.

Singh ascribed al Qaeda`s increasing interest in India to the July 18 civil nuclear agreement with the US. "ISI seeks to heat things up" to interfere with growing US-India convergence, he claimed.

IANS