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What’s in the 55-Minute Al Qaeda Video Announcing India Branch

AlquidaAl-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri has launched a new branch of the global Islamist extremist movement which he says will reinvigorate and expand its struggle in the Indian sub-continent.

In a video spotted in online jihadist forums by the SITE terrorism monitoring group, Zawahri said the new force would “crush the artificial borders” dividing Muslim populations in the region.

Al-Qaeda is active in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where its surviving leadership are thought to be hiding out, but Zawahri said “Qaedat al-Jihad” would take the fight to India, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

“This entity was not established today but is the fruit of a blessed effort of more than two years to gather the mujahedeen in the Indian sub-continent into a single entity,” he said.

Founded by Osama bin Laden, who was killed in Pakistan by US commandos in May 2011, Al-Qaeda has long claimed leadership of the jihadists fighting to restore a single caliphate in Muslim lands.

But, since the death of its figurehead, it has been somewhat eclipsed, first by its own offshoots in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and now by the Islamic State jihadist group fighting in Iraq and Syria.

In launching “Qaedat al-Jihad in the Indian sub-continent,” Zawahri may be attempting to recapture some of the limelight for his group and to exploit the existing unrest in Kashmir and Myanmar.

He said the group would recognize the overarching leadership of the Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar, and be led day-to-day by senior Pakistani militant Asim Umar.

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