June 1999 News

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Bin Laden ‘worked in tandem with Pak’ to push in infiltrators

14 June 1999
IANS

Osama bin Laden is working closely with the Pakistani Government in pushing the intruders into Kargil, according to Western intelligence reports quoted here. Bin Laden is working with the Pakistani Government through two groups, Al Badr and Harkat-ul-Ansar, say the reports.

The intruding force is said to include several hundred of Bin Laden’s Islamic fighters along with regulars from the Pakistani Army. These reports indicate a larger percentage of trained terrorists in the intruding force than the Indian Government has indicated.

A report in The Daily Telegraph indicated that while the Indian Army had claimed that the intruders were mostly Pakistani troops in disguise, “Western intelligence believes that many are Afghan, Pakistani and even international Muslim militants backed by Pakistan’s ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence).” The report said the ISI “is known to train, arm and fund Islamic terrorist groups”.

The report said many of the ISI-trained intruders belong to Al Badr, which it described as “a terrorist group linked to Osama bin Laden”. An earlier report had mentioned Bin Laden’s links with the Harkat-ul-Ansar, the group that was behind the abduction of five Western hostages in Kashmir in 1995. The Harkat-ul-Ansar is assisted by the ISI, according to the report, which said “several former members of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies, who now live in exile in Britain, have been giving information to Scotland Yard on this matter.”

The report also said that Harkat-ul-Ansar and the ISI were working towards “Pakistan’s complete control of Kashmir”. The links between Osama and the Pakistani Government through the ISI, Al Badr and the Harkat-ul-Ansar indicate that leaders of a “private army” that Pakistan has helped to build up will have considerable say in deciding the position of the intruders in Kargil, it says.

A report in Jane’s Intelligence Review said in 1997 Bin Laden had declared that his aim was to target “US soldiers”. In an interview last year he changed that position to say that “we do not differentiate between those dressed in military uniform and civilians. They are all targets in this fatwa (edict).”

According to the report published in the June edition of Jane’s Intelligence Review, Bin Laden has been targeting the US interests and failing of late. “US intelligence agencies have disrupted at least seven planned Bin Laden attacks between August 1998 and March 1999,” it says.

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