Militant strength in Kashmir doubled: Lashkar
2 October 2000
Karachi: Pakistan-based guerrilla group Lashkar-E-Taiba today said it had doubled the number of fighters battling Indian forces in Kashmir this year. ''Lashkar-E-Taiba has sent two times more Mujahideen into Kashmir than last year,'' the group''s chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, said in a statement. Saeed, who, the statement said, was in Karachi to meet supporters, said the number of fighters has increased ''despite the Indian Army''s efforts to plant landmines along the Line of Control.'' ''Several Mujahideeen (Islamic fighters) who fell victim to such mines were either injured or martyred, but despite that, the Lashkar-E-Taiba has launched two times more Mujahideen in Kashmir,'' the statement said. It did not say how many fighters the group has sent into Kashmir. Saeed criticised the United States for supporting India in the fight against militancy in the region, and said any attempt by the United States to declare his organisation a terrorist group would make no difference. ''There is an expectation that America might take some extreme step, but that will not affect the holy war (in Kashmir),'' he said.