Two Top LeT 'trainers' Captured In Poonch
27 September 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: In a major success, security forces today captured alive two dreaded militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) as soon as they infiltrated into Indian territory from forward village of Damoi Kas between Balakote and Gambhir Mugalan along with a large quantity of arms and ammunition. The militants were pushed to this side after acting as 'trainers' for LeT and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) outfits in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) for seven years. Confirming the arrests, official sources told the Excelsior that troops of 3-11 Gorkha Rifles had been maintaining a strict alert on Line of Control (LoC) after thwarting an infiltration attempt in Balakote sector of Poonch district yesterday in which three intruders were killed. After observing movement of the two militants, troops asked them to surrender. However, they tried to escape back to PoK. After a hot chase and brief encounter, both of them were captured this morning. They have been identified as Nazakat Hussain son of Talib Hussain, a Health Department official and Ishtaq Ahmed son of Mohd Fazil, both residents of Lambi Borhi, Gambhir Mugalan in Rajouri district. From their possession, security forces recovered two AK rifles, four magazines, one radio set, two grenades, three pouches, one mobile telephone and incriminating documents. Preliminary questioning of the militants revealed that they had crossed over to PoK in 1998. Nazakat was a student of 9th class when he along with four others were forcibly lifted by the militants for taking them across LoC for arms training. While three of them escaped before crossing over, Nazakat and Ishtaq were taken away by the militants. They were trained in different PoK camps for four to six months after which they along with other militants made two attempts of infiltration through Balakote sector in 1999 but couldn't succeed. Later, LeT and JeM commanders started using them as 'trainers' in training camps of the two outfits. Since then, both of them were being used by the militant commanders for training both Pakistanis as well as local militants from this side in different camps of PoK. Initially, the duo were affiliated with Jamaat-e-Hizbul Islami, a lesser known outfit but had later sided with LeT and JeM and started training their cadre. Sources said both the militants were pushed into this side by Pakistan army to train local militants in Pir Panchal range in Poonch district. This, they added, was part of a new strategy of Pakistan army and the ISI to train militants locally in J&K instead of first facilitating their exfiltration to PoK and then infiltration to J&K after training. In the process, the militants suffered a number of casualties besides losing weaponry. According to sources, both Nazakat and Ishtaq had been asked to start training camp for the militants in Pir Panchal range with the help of other militants of LeT and JeM operating through the same heights. Both the outfits had to bring local youths from different parts of the State for imparting them training in the camp, sources said.