November 2001 News

Taliban won''t join Kashmir insurgency

19 November 2001
The Times of India

SRINAGAR: A senior Indian security official on Monday ruled out the possibility of Taliban cadres crossing into Kashmir, following their retreat from Afghanistan.''I don''t think that possibility will arise,'' Rajinder Singh Bhullar, a senior officer in the Border Security Force (BSF) said. There have been reports in newspapers that Taliban soldiers were fleeing Afghanistan, entering Pakistan and would eventually head for Kashmir to join the militants.Singh, who heads the BSF''s intelligence wing in Kashmir, said those who were apprehensive about the Taliban militia crossing into Kashmir were ''totally wrong''. ''The possibility of the Taliban crossing into Kashmir and that too at the behest of Pakistan... I don''t think that possibility is there,'' he said.Singh said the Taliban had no trust in Pakistan''s present administration, which has joined the US-led alliance against terrorism, seeking to destroy Osama Bin Laden''s al- Qaeda network.''The Taliban has no reason to listen to Pakistan. That makes me optimistic that they will not cross into Kashmir to carry out the designs of Pakistan here,'' Singh said. ''Pakistan turned its back on Taliban at a time when they would have expected help from Islamabad, so Taliban men will never cross into Kashmir at the behest of Islamabad.''According to Singh, there were now ''serious differences between the Taliban and Pakistan'' due to which ''the Taliban will never shake hands with Islamabad again.'' However, senior Indian army officials disagreed, saying that Pakistan could send fleeing Taliban cadres into Kashmir. ''They (Pakistan) have no other choice,'' said an army officer, who declined to be identified.''We have reports that they are crossing into Pakistan despite Islamabad''s attempts to seal the border,'' he said. ''Pakistan cannot retain them for obvious reasons and hence there is a possibility that they would be pushed into Kashmir to sustain the insurgency.''Both the BSF and army officials said there had been no sudden increase in infiltration of militants from Kashmir. An army officer said troops were confident that if Taliban cadres tried to cross over into Kashmir they would be ''dealt with at the LoC itself''.


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