April 2002 News

Kashmiri jihadis got special training

3 April 2002
The Hindustan Times

Sheberghan, Afghanistan: Pakistan''s terror merchants exported hundreds of their fellow citizens into Afghanistan to try and save the Taliban regime from US attack. One kind of terrorist was held back. This was the jihadi born in India. Not one of the Pakistani prisoners interviewed by the Hindustan Times in a jail here in northern Afghanistan, near Mazar-i- Sharif, recalled meeting an Indian Kashmiri jihadi in Afghanistan. It was not as though there were no Indian Kashmiris available at the time. There were plenty of them around, for instance, in the training camps of Jaish-e-Mohammed and Harkat ul Jehad-i-Islami. There were around 100 Indian Kashmiris at Balakot, Jaish-e-Mohammed''s camp in Pakistan''s North West Frontier Province (not in PoK as reported earlier), around the time Zulfikar Ali left for Afghanistan. ''They were housed in a separate enclosure. And their training was different. It lasted four months and was rigorous,'' Zulfikar said. Most of those sent to Afghanistan had received only 15 or 30 days of training. In jihadi language, the Indians were given ''Al Ahladeed'' training, which, a Harkat ul Jehad Islami prisoner explained, was special training, higher on the difficulty scale than Tahsisia that supposedly follows the elementary stage. The Indian Kashmiris were better trained. And perhaps better motivated. Many of the jailed jihadis said the fight in Kashmir is considered so tough that only the best and the highly motivated can cope. Zaid Ahmad, a 20-year-old activist from Karachi, refused to be launched despite completing a six-month-long commando course in four months. His resolve, he admits, wavered when the time came. Besides, Zaid said, he was absolutely disgusted by the attitude of an Indian Kashmiri (called waadi - valley - Kashmiris) he met at a Harkat ul Jehad Islami camp in Kotli, in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. ''He said something that put me off completely,'' said Zaid. ''We are fighting their war for them and here they are abusing my country. I decided let them fight their own battle - despite what the mullahs have to tell us.'' He left the camp and the Harkat ul Jehad Islami shortly, and took off for Afghanistan on his own. While he was there though he saw plenty of Indian Kashmiris who were kept away from the Pakistanis, he says, for tactical reasons. He says, ''There is a possibility that waadi Kashmiris may reveal during interrogation, if and when captured, identities of people they met while during training or launching.'' That''s why they are kept away.


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