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Pakistan preparing to push Taliban into Kashmir, India

Pakistan preparing to push Taliban into Kashmir, India

Publication: The Tribune
Date: November 30, 2001

Pakistan may try to push in as many as 1,000 Taliban militia fighters who have fled Afghanistan through the Line of Control (LoC) into the Jammu region within the next fortnight, a top military official has warned. Brig P.C. Das of 16 Corps said here this afternoon that large- scale preparations were on across the LoC to ensure the entry of 1,000 Taliban men into India in the first phase within the next fortnight. ''There are reports that about 5,000 Taliban soldiers have crossed over into Pakistan and the country is keen to utilise the expertise of these battle-hardy veterans to carry out subversive activities in our territory,'' he said.

Brig Das said recent intelligence inputs received from various quarters amplified that the threat perception on Taliban infiltration has multiplied. ''We all know that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has been active all along the border trying to foment trouble. What is surprising is that the Corps Commanders, 10 Corps and the 40 Corps, across the border have also, of late, been active in assisting the infiltration bids by terrorists trained on their soil,'' he said.

He reasoned that Pakistan would not like to keep trained Taliban soldiers on their soil simply because their presence would fuel the prevailing unrest in that part of the country. ''What they would do is to try and send these people into our soil to enable them carry out subversive activities. Since they are battle-hardy, they can survive in extremely tough conditions,'' he said.

Brigadier Das said with the mountainous passes in the Kashmir valley freezing due to heavy snowfall, the ISI as well as the military commanders had no option except to try and push in the Taliban militia into the Jammu region.

He also informed that though Pakistani forces were undergoing a war exercise within their territory, the Army was on heightened alert to foil any infiltration bid attempted by any terrorist group. ''We have already shot dead 135 terrorists so far who were trying to sneak into the region under heavy Pakistani fire cover and shall continue our vigil,'' he said.

Brigadier Das reiterated that the Army was determined to foil infiltration bids from across the border and fully geared to give a befitting reply if shelling was resorted to from across the border.

Recent reports testified that the Pakistani Rangers had increased the veracity of their fire power while shelling Indian positions. In a fiery showdown in the wee hours on November 28, Indian troops had destroyed eight Pakistani bunkers and damaged another eight and in the subsequent border firing, killed 11 Pakistani soldiers across the LoC in Poonch and the Mendhar sectors of Jammu region.

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