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Laden now set to target Kashmir - The Indian Express

Press Trust of India ()
October 5, 1998

Title: Laden now set to target Kashmir
Author: Press Trust of India
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: October 5, 1998

Osama Bin Laden, alleged mastermind in the Kenyan bomb blasts,
has asked his Afghan and Arab terrorists to gather m Kashmir for
a major terrorist offensive in the Valley and beyond, Sunday
Times reported.

As part of the terror offensive, hundreds of Afghan battle-
hardened elite Islamic mercenaries have crossed the Pir Panjal
mountains from Pakistan into Kashmir with clear orders to bring
terror to Kashmir and beyond in India, the paper reported.

Laden is running the new mercenary campaign in Kashmir through
Harkat-ul-Mujaheddin, which changed its label recently from
Harkat-ul-Ansar, after coming up in the American fist of banned
terrorist organisations, the paper said. Other British media
reports said, acutely embarrassed by recent "near international
exposure" of its running terrorist camps in Afghanistan and
Pakistan itself, the Pakistan army high command, through its run
and controlled Taliban militia, had directed Laden to divert
himself from threats to America and moderate Arab governments to
concentrate his private Islamic army in Kashmir for a "decisive
summer terror campaign and it's rapid spread beyond into other
regions in India".

The reports of Pakistani army Intelligence orders to Laden
assume significance in the wake of recent western reports of
foreign Islamic mercenaries having taken control of militancy in
Kashmir, with most of the Kashmiri groups giving up the path of

Ghulam, a Afghan mercenary, told the Times that he received
payment of 700 pound sterling (about Rs 50,000) in Afghanistan
and was made to sign a two-year contract alongwith two other
mercenaries to fight Indian security forces in Kashmir for the
payment of 5,600 pound sterling.

"We were told to leave the Al Badr camps before the American
attack and were given instructions about who to contact to cross
from Pakistan into India in Kashmir".

Ghulam described Laden as ur father, who has sent his brothers
from Afghanistan to wage jehad in Kashmir.

He said, on arrival in Kashmir, they had been asked to keep
Kashmir on the hod by selecting soft targets such as civilians
and few foreign tourists who still visited the Valley.

Times said bonus payments were promised to mercenaries, who
generate international headlines with an abduction or by killing
top politicians or senior Indian army officers.

It said Laden's men had also been instructed to establish
contacts with other Islamic cells established in states
throughout India.

This was in preparation of a terror campaign, it added.

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