Al-Qaida Man Surrenders In Kashmir
29 May 2003
The Times of India
Jammu: An al-Qaida member was among six militants who surrendered before the police in Poonch and Doda districts of Jammu and Kashmir, police said on Thursday. Four Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants, including an al-Qaeda member Mustaq Ahmed alias Abu Kasif who fought in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, laid down arms before district police chief Mukesh Kumar Singh at a function on Thursday morning. Singh said the group of four JeM militants were active in Hill Kaka area of Poonch district and had managed to escape when the army had launched 'Operation Sarpvinash' in the area. Besides, the al-Qaeda man, others were identified as Mohammad Bashir, Shuwakat Ali and Mohammad Khursheed, he said. All the surrendered militants were locals trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan, he said, adding Mustaq had served al-Qaeda for two and half years in Afghanistan and two years in Pakistan. The group was active in Surankote hills for past four to five years. They laid down arms and ammunition including four AK rifles, one Pika gun, one UMG gun, two 60-mm mortars, 14 magazines, four pouches, 1400 rounds. Two binoculars, two wireless sets, 12 grenades and four UBGL grenades. Reports from Doda district said two local militants identified as Mujahid Hussain Mir and Zafer Hussain Khan laid down their weapons including two AK-47 rifles, six magazines, 180 rounds, two handgrenades and one wireless set before police on Thursday. Singh observed that their surrender was a major setback to the militants operating in Poonch hills, where upto 300 300 militants are estimated to be active. But due to pressure nearly 200 foreign mercenaries are believed to have shifted to Thanamandi- Rajouri areas, he said, adding over 60 militants were killed in just one and half month. He said 35 militants were killed along the Line of Control and 120 militants killed in the area over last six months.