Militant training camps revived in PoK: MHA
20 June 2004
The Indian Express
Press Trust of India
New Delhi: Interrogation of some recently-arrested militants has revealed that ISI has re-opened militant training camps in large numbers in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) including Northern Areas (NA) and the Government is fearing heavy infiltration in the coming months. A 30-page Home Ministry document states that the largest militant camp was in Jungle-Mangal area where nearly 300 militants, mostly foreign mercenaries, were being trained followed by Elaq-e-Gher where 200 others were undergoing training, official sources said. The report, based on interrogation of militants and intercepts of wireless messages, said camps in North West Frontier Province in Pakistan and Gilgit area in NA had been revived besides re-opening of full- fledged communication of Lashkar-e-Toiba in Lipa Valley. Militant camps in Mansera and Haripur, which had been closed after the US-led operations against Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, have been revived with a constant flow of youths from Afghanistan, sources said. The youths, who were mainly unemployed, were being targeted by ISI as it was facing a serious depletion in the ranks of insurgents as many of the mercenaries belonging to foreign countries including Sudan, Kuwait and Lebanon had been thrown out of Pakistan under pressure from the US and allied forces. Some mercenaries arrested recently were quoted in the report as saying that they had ventured into Pakistan for a job, where they fell prey to ISI agents who lured them to training camps in Muzaffarabad in PoK, the sources said. Bagh district which has a link between PoK and Afghanistan, had recently been added to the list of areas where training is being imparted, said the arrested militants. In order to maintain a distance from the Pakistan Army, ISI had created special detachments which were purely marked for launching the militants across the border without any help from troops at the border and the Line of Control. With this move, Pakistan could escape international criticism that it was helping militants to cross over and instead project that it had no control over the terrorists, the report warned. The report said that Irshad-ul-Dawa Hospital at Chialabani in PoK had been reopened where militant casualties are treated. This hospital was also closed after the US onslaught on Afghanistan. The report named Hunza and Mandakuli as the areas where Al Badr militants were being trained, whereas cadres of Hizbul Mujahideen were being trained in Nawakote and Korpani areas in PoK.