November 2001 News

Lashkar vows to continue attacks in Kashmir

19 November 2001
The Indian Express

Srinagar: Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba vowed on Monday to continue targeting Indian forces in Kashmir as the death toll from an attack on an army camp rose to 19. About 30 people were wounded in the assault on Sunday on an army convoy that had stopped for lunch at the camp near Ramban, which lies along a key highway linking Kashmir''s two main cities of Srinagar and Jammu. ''Two of our boys attacked the army and inflicted heavy casualties,'' Abu Usama, a spokesman of the Lashkar-e- Toiba, told a Western news agency. ''We will continue such acts.'' A total of 13 soldiers, four civilians and two militants died in the attack, the worst ever on army forces along the 300 km (180 mile) highway, army officials said. The toll was also the highest from a militant attack since an October bomb blast outside the legislature in Srinagar. ''It''s an act of desperation. There continue to be remnants of terrorist activities and we''re taking all steps to counter them,'' Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh was quoted as saying after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security on Sunday night. Lashkar operates out of Pakistan and is one of more than a dozen groups fighting to wrest control of Kashmir from India in a nearly 12- year battle that has killed more than 30,000 people. New Delhi has been urging the international community to widen the war on terrorism to include militants fighting its rule in Kashmir. A top Indian Army commander told Reuters he expected an influx of militants into Kashmir from the war in Afghanistan. Lieutenant-General J.R. Mukherjee said members of Afghanistan''s Taliban militia - which has lost control of most of the country after six weeks of US bombardment - were undoubtedly coming into Pakistan, despite Islamabad''s attempts to seal off its Afghan frontier. ''Pakistan cannot afford to let them stay. So either they export them outside or they export them to Kashmir. A fair proportion will definitely try and be pumped into Kashmir,'' he said in a weekend interview at his headquarters in Srinagar. New Delhi says mercenaries who are mostly of Pakistani and Afghan origin are leading the uprising in Jammu and Kashmir.


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