Lashkar militants aiding Taliban: Janes'' Weekly
20 October 2001
The Asian Age
New Delhi: Over 600 Lashker-e-Tayyaba militants have been placed at strategic locations to guard international terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, Jane’s Defence Weekly has reported.In a despatch on Afghanistan, the weekly said Bagrame airbase, under the command of Gen. Babajan, is still compromised. The Taliban holds the heights to the south and east of the ex-Soviet airbase. Radio intercepts from the command bunker in the old control tower regularly pick up the commands of the foreign cadres operating along the frontline, half a kilometre away, the Jane’s report said. “Babajan and other senior commanders have confirmed that over 600 Kashmiri militants, most notably units of LET, have been placed along the main Taliban strategic stronghold of mount Sufi which lies three kilometres south of the airbase,” the report said. Jane’s further said it is believed that these militia were “personally placed there by Osama bin Laden two weeks before the September 11 attacks.” Earlier, during the visit of US secretary of state Colin Powell, India had sought co-operation in blocking the flow of funds to some militant outfits including LET. A note, highlighting the activities of these groups, was handed over to the team accompanying Mr Powell during his visit here on October 15, informed sources said. The report laid emphasis on the activities of Jaish-e-Mohammed and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and the US was told that these “two groups were the two different sides of the same coin” following the common ideology of Deobandis and were funded by a common trust “Al-Rasheed”, the sources said. The officials also gave a sketch of Jaish-e-Mohammed and its leader Maulana Masood Azhar, who was one of the three militants released in exchange for passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane in 1999. The Indian officials gave a thorough report about Azhar’s links with Osama bin Laden and termed the Jaish-e-Mohammed leader as an ideologue of Taliban and international terrorist mastermind Bin Laden, the sources added. They said Azhar, who has been named by the Jammu and Kashmir police as being responsible for the october one blast at Kashmir assembly, had been given money by Bin Laden to dstart his own outfit after his release in 1999.