April 2002 News

Al-Qaida men ‘in Kashmir’

8 April 2002
The Tribune
Rajeev Sharma

New Delhi: India’s worst security nightmare seems to have come true following a fresh assessment of Indian and American intelligence agencies that some cadres of Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaida outfit may have infiltrated into Jammu and Kashmir. This is understood to have been a central point in a series of meetings Mr John E McLaughlin, the visiting Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the USA, had with top officials of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) here today. Mr McLaughlin is to meet Union Home Minister L K Advani tomorrow to discuss broad contours of India-USA cooperation and what the two countries expect from each other in the fields of strategic cooperation. At today’s meetings, the visiting CIA official and India’s top intelligence officials are believed to have discussed credible reports that Al-Qaida’s men may have already sneaked into the Kashmir valley. Significantly, immediately after these meetings the Government of India banned the Al-Qaida under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). Well-placed sources here disclosed to The Tribune today that at these meetings, India and the USA stressed the need of sharing of satellite intelligence. Besides, the following issues also came up for in-depth discussions with Mr McLaughlin: *Sharing of information and intelligence between India and the USA on the movement of Al-Qaida leaders and cadres. *Regrouping of Al-Qaida in Pakistan and elsewhere and reports of its cadres into J & K. *Future set-up of Afghanistan, reconstruction of Afghanistan and India’s role in it. *The list of 20 terrorists and criminals India has given to Pakistan. *Indian deployment of troops along Pakistan borders. The sources said of late the USA had been looking at Indian intelligence agencies with much more respect as several pieces of information had proved to be correct and useful.


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