Islamabad, Dec 14 (PTI) Al-Qaeda has made jihadi commander Ilyas Kashmiri as its chief military strategist for the region to plan and spearhead terrorist attacks against the West.
While, Egyptian militant Saif Al-Adal was recently named al-Qaeda''s military chief for operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Kashmiri was made the chief military strategist following the death of Mustafa Abu al-Yazid in a US drone strike in North Waziristan in May, The News daily reported quoting sources in the Pakistani security establishment as saying.
Kashmiri is the chief of the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir chapter of the Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami and has been linked to several attacks in India, including the bombing of a bakery in Pune.
Yazid admired Kashmiri''s tactical and guerrilla skills and left a recorded audio message on the basis of which Kashmiri was appointed to the new post, the report said.
Yazid''s audiotape was released by al-Qaeda''s media wing on June 15.
In the tape, Yazid referred to Kashmiri as an official part of Al Qaeda, adding that terror attacks should now be carried out inside the US.
Yazid said in the same tape that Al Qaeda''s "Kashmir faction" led by Kashmiri carried out the February 13 bombing of the German Bakery in Pune.
After Saif Al-Adal returned to the battlefield following his release by the Iranian government in exchange for the release of an Iranian diplomat kidnapped by the Taliban in Pakistan in 2008, Kashmiri has been assigned the task of carrying out terror attacks in the West.
Sources in the Pakistani security establishment said Kashmiri had been tasked to target the West in view his global jihadi links and a "well-entrenched network of deep-cover agents in Europe and America."
Kashmiri is a "prime example of the increasing partnership" between Osama bin Ladenï¿½s Al Qaeda, the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban and jihadi groups active in Jammu and Kashmir, whose members have assembled in Waziristan tribal region on the Afghan border, the report said.
The report said Kashmiri is "considered brutal and goal-oriented just like his Egyptian partner Saif Al-Adal, who has substantial experience cooperating with other anti-US militant groups."
There are unconfirmed reports that Kashmiri was part of the Special Services Group of the Pakistan Army in the 1990s.
He has been on the US radar since the Mumbai attacks in which several Americans were killed.