File:Asim Umar AQIS.jpg|
Asim Umar appearing in an al-Qaeda video
|Born||Uttar Pradesh, India (suspected)|
|Service/branch||al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent|
|Rank||Emir of AQIS|
Asim Umar is the leader of the militant Islamist group al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS). al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri announced the creation of AQIS and introduced Asim Umar as its leader in a video posted online in September 2014.
India’s intelligence agencies believe that Umar may be from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, where he attended the Darul Uloom Deoband seminary, before leaving India and moving to Pakistan in the late 1990s. They also claim that from the late 1990s to 2004, Umar provided ideological training to jihadists in camps run by Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) in Pakistan Administered Kashmir, before relocating to HuM’s office in Haroonabad in 2004.
Umar studied at Jamia Uloom-ul-Islamia in Karachi and the Darul Uloom Haqqania in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, schools that many top commanders of the Taliban and other Pakistani jihadist groups graduated from. Umar is said to have traveled to Afghanistan where he met Osama bin Laden, and later joined Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HUJI), a Pakistan-based Jihadist group with branches across the Indian Subcontinent. Umar's affiliation with Al-Qaeda was reportedly solidified after the Pakistani government's 2007 storming of the radical Lal Masjid seminary, resulting in the deaths of many students. He is said to have made contact with Ilyas Kashmiri, a top jihadist with close links to al-Qaeda.
Umar quickly began playing a prominent role as a propagandist in video releases from al-Qaeda and the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, and authored at least four books promoting jihad. By April 2014, several months before being named leader of AQIS, Al Qaeda was identifying Umar as the head of its sharia committee in Pakistan.
- "Al-Qaeda chief in region may be of Indian origin: Intel agencies". Indian Express. 3 October 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- "Al Qaeda's shadowy new 'emir' in South Asia handed tough job". Reuters. 10 September 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
- "More Qaeda-Pak links: AQIS chief was at ‘ISI’ PoK camp". Indian Express. 13 March 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
- "Pakistani Taliban leader discusses 'global jihad,' Syria in al Qaeda video". Long War Journal. 24 July 2013. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
- "Social Media Jihad: Open interview with al Qaeda's sharia official in Pakistan". Long War Journal. 9 April 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
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