January 2008 News

Hizb hiring Pathans for jihad in Valley

15 January 2008
The Hindustan Times
Jatin Gandhi, Hindustan Times

New Delhi: After fomenting trouble in north-western Pakistan and dominating the struggle against the American-led forces in Afghanistan, fierce and hardy Pathans are headed for jihad in Jammu and Kashmir, says a secret military intelligence report. It says the militant outfit Hizb-ul-Mujahideen is inducting Pathans from Afghanistan and Pakistan to carry out terrorist strikes in the Valley. What is causing more concern in the security circles is that the fight against terrorists threatens to get bloodier and more vicious with the entry of Pathans. The report on the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, based on intelligence inputs from the Valley, says the outfit lost 40 of its commanders and nearly 300 cadres in 2007 either to surrenders or counter-insurgency operations. The last surrender took place as recently as December 27 when 12 alleged terrorists of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen's Chenab division, led by their chief of operations, surrendered before J&K Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. The report says the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen is now recruiting Pathans from southern Afghanistan and north-western Pakistan to carry on terrorist strikes. It also warns of a spectacular attention-seeking strike by the outfit around Republic Day. 'The report suggests that Hizb-ul-Mujahideen could use the influence of local politicians to get the terrorists visas,' says an officer. Experts say the Pathan chapter will change the way Hizb-ul-Mujahideen carries out its activities in the Valley. 'So far it was the only outfit with a large number of Kashmiris. But of late, they have suffered large-scale setbacks. Bringing Pathans into the outfit will make it more vicious and indiscriminate,' says Ajai Sahni of the New Delhi-based Institute of Conflict Management. A senior army officer says the preferred outfit of the ISI is the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and not Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. 'Recruiting outsiders cannot be done without the ISI's help. So it is a cause of concern for us.'

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