Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil, of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), who is a close associate of Osama bin Laden and who had disappeared from public circulation since March last, is back in circulation. He has been visiting mosques and madrasas controlled by the HUM in Pakistan and addressing religious congregations. He has been appealing to the Muslims to step up the jihad against the American and British forces in Iraq, against the NATO forces in Afghanistan and against the Indian security forces in India's Jammu and Kashmir. He has been claiming that Osama bin Laden is hale and hearty and preparing another major terrorist strike in the US homeland. He has been calling for a united jihad against the NATO forces in Afghanistan under the leadership of Mulla Mohammad Omar, the Amir of the Taliban.
2. It is learnt from reliable sources that the Maulana was kept all these months in a safe house of Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) and was released on November 19, 2006. According to the "Post", a daily of Peshawar, ( November 21, 2006), "with a new vigour, his followers plan to regroup themselves for helping their Afghan brothers and free the neighbouring Islamic State from the US-led NATO forces." With the HUM joining the Taliban, Gulbuddin Heckmatyar's Hizb-e-Islami and Al Qaeda, an intensification of acts of jihadi terrorism, including suicide terrorism, in Afghanistan is likely. The HUM is also expected to assist the Hizbul Mujahideen in J&K in stepping acts of terrorism.
3. The HUM is one of the founding-members of Osama bin Laden's International Islamic Front (IIF) for Jihad Against the Crusaders and the Jewish People and Maulana Fazlur Rehman was one of the signatories of bin Laden's first fatwa of 1998 against the US.
4. This may please be read in continuation of my earlier article of March 31, 2006, titled "MYSTERIOUS ATTACK ON BIN LADEN'S ASSOCIATE" at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers18/paper1754.html .
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com ))