Pak Militant Training Camps Back In Action: Report
10 July 2005
The Hindustan Times
Islamabad: Pakistan's militant training camps are back in action after a year- long gap and the old and new recruits are flocking to them notwithstanding the official ban on various terror outfits for carrying out strikes in Jammu and Kashmir and Afghanistan, a media report has claimed. Citing an example of the camps being reopened, Pakistan Herald magazine in its cover story, said one of the country's oldest militant training camps at Mansehra in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) is bustling with activity after a yearlong closure, as old and new militants converged on it to resume their training. 'Our transport fleet is back, electricity has been restored and communications systems are in place. Until 2001, thousands of fighters trained here for operations in Kashmir and Afghanistan,' the magazine quoted a guide who conducted the correspondent around as saying. Rejecting the magazine's charge as 'baseless,' Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao said 'there are no militant camps in Mansehra...I have no information on that. The claim is totally baseless. We have no such information stating that the training camps have been restarted.' Contrary to official denials, the magazine said despite the ban, militant outfits like Hizbul Mujahideen, Harkaul Mujahideen, al-Badr Mujahideen, Lashkar-e- Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad managed to stay in touch with their cadre in 2003-4, which was considered as their worst year. 'These outfits stayed in touch with their rank and file in Pakistan, Afghanistan and J&K and continued to be in touch with their families,' it said.