Al-Qaeda Outsourcing To Lashkar, Jaish In J-K: Army
15 September 2007
The Indian Express
Udhampur: General Officer Commanding in Chief, Northern Command, Lt Gen H S Panag on Saturday ruled out the possibility of using Air Force planes to bomb militant hideouts in J-K. While addressing newsmen at the command headquarters, he said, 'We seek help from the Air Force for surveillance of rebel infested areas or in transporting men and equipment to carry out counter-insurgency operations in remote and difficult areas.' He added that 'unlike Pakistan, we will not use the Air Force gunships for pounding militants bases in Jammu and Kashmir because we do not want civilians to be inconvenienced'. He said the Army wants to ensure minimum casualties and loss of property during such operations. 'The Indian Army makes efforts to make counter-insurgency operations people-friendly,' Panag pointed out. Panag revealed that al-Qaeda was outsourcing militancy through various terror outfits including the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). He added that although no hardcore ultra of the al-Qaeda had been found in the Valley, its presence in the area could not be ruled out. 'Al-Qaeda is a pan-Islamic terrorist outfit, which has its sleeper-cells across the world to carry out terror activities. The al-Qaeda has outsourced much of its work to various terrorist outfits in many parts of the world, and these outfits include Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e- Mohammad,' he said. Regarding infiltration, he said there had not been much increase in incidents of infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir this year. He added that compared to last year's infiltration figure of 267 between January and August, it was 278 for the same period this year. He added that between January and August last year, 423 militants were killed by the security forces in the state and in the corresponding period this year, 324 militants had been killed. 'However, fewer killings do not mean that the number of the militants have decreased,' Panag pointed out. He added that the terrorist training camps were still operating in Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). 'At least 52 terrorist training camps are still operating. Of these, 29 to 30 camps are in Pakistan and its northern areas, while the rest are in POK,' Panag stated.