April 1999 News

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1998 US State Department Report again acknowledges Pakistani involvement in terrorism

30th April 1999
News Agencies

Security problems persisted in India in 1998 because of ongoing insurgencies in Kashmir and the northeast. Kashmiri militant groups stepped up attacks against civilian targets in India's Kashmir and shifted their tactics from bombings to targeted killings, including the massacres of Kashmiri villagers. In April the massacres spilled over to Udhampur district, where 28 villagers died in two simultaneous attacks. Elsewhere in India, election-related violence at the beginning of 1998 claimed more than 150 lives. In an effort to disrupt a Bharatiya Janata Party rally on 14 February, Islamic militants in Coimbatore conducted a series of bombings that killed 50 and wounded more than 200.

The Indian and Pakistani Governments each claim that the intelligence service of the other country sponsors bombings on its territory. The Government of Pakistan acknowledges that it continues to provide moral, political, and diplomatic support to Kashmiri militants but denies allegations of other assistance. Reports continued in 1998, however, of official Pakistani support to militants fighting in Kashmir.

In the wake of US missile strikes on terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, several Pakistani-based Kashmiri militant groups vowed revenge for casualties their groups suffered. At a press conference held in Islamabad in November, former Harakat ul-Ansar and current Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM) leader Fazlur Rehman Khalil reportedly vowed: "We will kill one hundred Americans for one Muslim." Other Kashmiri and domestic Pakistani sectarian groups also threatened to target US interests. The leader of the Lashkar-i-Taiba declared a jihad against the United States, and the leader of the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi vowed publicly to kill US citizens and offered his support to Bin Ladin.

Pakistani officials stated publicly that, while the Government of Pakistan provides diplomatic, political, and moral support for"freedom fighters" in Kashmir, it is firmly against terrorism and provides no training or materiel support for Kashmiri militants. Kashmiri militant groups continued to operate in Pakistan, however, raising funds and recruiting new cadre. These activities created a fertile ground for the operations of militant and terrorist groups in Pakistan, including the HUA and its successor organization, the HUM.

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This Archives is Maintained by Md. Sadiq, 1998

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