Exclusive: Appointment of Zakir Musa represents deepest inroad al-Qaida has made in disputed region

An al-Qaida-affiliated propaganda channel has announced one of Kashmir’s most popular militant leaders as the head of a newly created cell in the disputed Himalayan territory.

The appointment of Zakir Musa as the head of the new group represents the first time militants linked to al-Qaida have operated openly in Kashmir, site of a decades-long separatist insurgency and the only Muslim-majority region under Indian control.

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