ISI Despatching Afghan Guerrillas To Jammu And Kashmir
15 September 2000
New Delhi: The recent spurt in lethal attacks on the security forces in Kashmir and pitched battles between the terrorists and men in uniform pointed towards the involvement of the Afghan war veterans. This had forced the field commanders to redraw their strategies to fight the battle-hardened mercenaries. While declining to give the details about the new strategies and tactics, planners here said these so-called jehadis did not shy away from a fire-fight or an armed engagement with the security forces. Backed by the experience of guerrilla warfare, which they have been fighting for years in the rugged terrain of Afghanistan in all kinds of weather, the mercenaries were planning their attacks and fighting it out to the bitter end. The attack on a Rashtriya Rifles fortified camp on Monday was an example of the determination and mindset of the mercenaries, analysts said here. A Major, three soldiers and three militants were killed in the fire-fight. Pakistan was now inducting the Afghan war veterans into Kashmir as the ISI and the Pakistan Army was finding it difficult to recruit Kashmiri youths for insurgency. Recent intelligence reports and news items appearing in a Pakistani newspaper indicated that Ghulam Rabbani, an Afghan guerrilla commander had infiltrated into Kashmir through the Pak Occupied Kashmir (POK), analysts said. Rabbani, as per the reports, had fought in Afghanistan for eight years besides training various terrorist outfits. He was helped to sneak into Kashmir through the LoC by Mohammad Rafaqat Ali Hyder, commander of the Jamait-ul-Mujahideen. He briefed Rabbani about the topography of the areas in Kashmir where the strikes were likely to be carried out, the reports said. The Jamaat-e-Islami of Pakistan''s recent announcement taking control of the Hizbul Mujahideen through a 12-member committee was a panic reaction, according to some Pakistani newspapers. They claimed the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) and the Hizb were preparing to call for a fresh cease-fire. The APHC, under a changed strategy, would appeal to the militant outfits for a cease-fire. Syed Salahuddin, the supreme commander of the Hizb in Pakistan and Abdul Majid Dar, the local commander in Kashmir, were to announce their support to the cease-fire. The newspapers said some smaller militant outfits, having no training camps of their own, were also expected to support the APHC cease-fire call. The Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), meanwhile, was planning to hold a public rally in London on September 17 against the Pakistan military regime. Protesting against the dominance of the Punjabis in all spheres of Pakistan, the rally was expected to see Mohajirs, Sindhis, Baluchis, Pashtoons and Seraikis listening to MQM leader Altaf Hussain''s speech. Others expected to address the gathering included Baluchistan National Party president Sardar Ataullah Mengal, chairman of the Pashtoon Khwa Milli Awami Party Mahmood Khan Achakazai, prominent Sindhi leader Syed Imdad Mohammad Shah and Professor Mohammad Arif of the Afro-Asian Solidarity Organisation.